July 07, 2020
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The leaked e-mail that Aatish Taseer sent Dalrymple and the shortest short story ever.

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In a Mail-Bomb

There is a lot of rolling the tongue in the cheek among the literati about the latest authorial spat. The warring parties are William Dalrymple and rising star Aatish Taseer, not the best of friends. Here is the plot summary: Dalrymple writes an e-mail to Taseer, asking if he would like to be part of discussions on Partition writers in JLF 2016, presumably at the back of his 2008 book, Manto: Selected Stories. Apparently, Taseer is cross that Dalrymple is not doing anything with his new book, The Way Things Were, at JLF. So, the leaked e-mail, purportedly his reply to Dalrymple’s invitation, goes: “Manto?! What is Manto compared with what I have achieved in The Way Things Were? Do you really believe I don’t know the worth of my own work?” Now, who leaked this e-mail?

Crafted In Brevity

Brevity wasn’t invented by Twitter. Long before that, there has been a tradition of really, really short stories. Ernest Hemingway, famously, rated  highly this six-word story by him: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”. Then there is the celebrated six-word story by Margaret Atwood: “Longed for him. Got him. Shit”. Now, in Britain, there is renewed interest in coming up with the best six-word short story, with seasoned writers trying to come up with one.

New at the Helm

Publisher Diya Kar Hazra, who kickstarted Bloomsbury in India, takes over as publisher at Pan Mac­millan. Diya is a veteran in the industry, and has published top writers like Amitav Ghosh, Khushwant Singh, Ram­a­ch­­andra Guha etc. It’s a good move by Pan Macmillan, as their list will get sharp focus.

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