On An Inkfight
”I think someone must tell Amitav (Ghosh),” a reader wrote on a blog recently, complaining of what a bore the author was becoming, surrounding himself with admirers and not open to a word of criticism. Never one to shun a challenge of this sort, the writer and litfest activist Amitava Kumar promptly obliged, tearing into Ghosh. Accusing him of hypocrisy, false piety and moralising, Kumar takes on Ghosh for his “tone of self-regard and general disdain.” So what prompted the attack? The immediate cause was a blog post by Ghosh decrying the trend of writers being reduced to performers. But the real reason was his gratuitous tweet criticising the four writers who read from Rushdie’s Satanic Verses at the Jaipur litfest as “making fools of themselves by aspiring to activism”.
Love Going Strong
It’s been every big publisher’s dream to discover the next Chetan Bhagat. And it seems Penguin has found one in Ravinder Singh. Nearly all the big publishers have been chasing the 30-year-old “writer by accident” since the stunning success of his debut novel, I Too Had a Love Story. It sold 1,00,000 copies in six or seven months, with almost no publicity. But now, Penguin has managed to sell 1,05,000 copies of Ravinder’s new book, Can Love Happen Twice, in the first week, thanks to a 12-city tour, Youtube videos, online ads and airport visibility. A special Valentine’s Day edition too is out.
So much for Amitav Ghosh sniffing at India’s litfest mania: Chandigarh is having its own litfest at Panchkula (Kafiya Literature Festival, March 17-19) and there’s no dearth of sponsors or writers who want to attend.