The Magnetic East
Canadians are puzzled by how former Penguin chief David Davidar has emerged untarnished from the sexual harassment scandal. When he left Canada early this year, he was still “under a particularly dark cloud,” as a recent article in Globe and Mail put it. “But somewhere over the Atlantic, that cloud dissipated, and he landed here (Delhi) to an open-armed welcome.” Several factors helped him, the article says: his position, his profile among women workers who describe him as “passionate,” “magnetic” and “charismatic”, and his own spin—that he “quit” Penguin and the charges were only “alleged”—which everyone here seems to have bought.
In Dust Jackets
The “cloud” is not stopping authors from signing up with Davidar’s Aleph Book Co, his joint venture with Rupa. Pakistani novelist Musharraf Ali Farooqi has signed up with Davidar for his second novel. Between Clay and Dust, about two artists whose worlds fall apart with the Partition, is one of first fiction titles Davidar has acquired. More is to come—there’ll be a “spectacular announcement” in December, Davidar told the Globe, “big-name novelists” and new ones “who will set the world alight.” We’ll wait and watch.
The trouble with the spate of literary prizes is the same: where are the prize-worthy Indian novels that deserve those astounding prize sums? One judge of a prestigious prize suggested that if there was none that merited the prize, why not defer it for the next year, where a deserving novel can win twice the prize money! There were no takers for such an unheard of solution to their dilemma.