Monday, October 10, 2005

India's Literary Fortunes: Of Hemingway, Dons and Dollars

Hemingway and India?

There is hardly any connection, you'd say. Yes, that was right until now. Hemingway's last novel, Under Kilimanjaro, has an Indian character. I am yet to see the novel but I hope the Mr. Singh's role in this work will be better and meatier than the one played by Kabir Bedi (a bit role) in Out of Africa, a film based on the writings (and life) of Danish noblewoman and storyteller Karen ('Isak') Dinesen Blixen.

Here's the news: Under Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway’s last novel that hit bookstores this month, has an Indian character.The 850-page manuscript was kept in a Cuban bank. It saw the light of day on September 27 — more than 44 years after Hemingway’s death in 1961.

Under Kilimanjaro, based on Hemingway’s experiences of an African safari months before he received the Nobel Prize in 1954, was released at a simple ceremony at Grand Forks in North Dakota, where its editor, Robert W Lewis, is based.
For more, go here.

Million Dollar Baby

But here is a bigger news (thanks Kitabkhana) : Indian novelist, Vikram Chandra, has landed a million dollar deal for his new novel, featuring Inspector Sartaj Singh and the Mumbai underworld. The novel is 800 pages long. Now I know what Chandra was doing while his friend, and co-writer of Mission Kashmir, was penning his Maximum City.

Here is the news: "...The Commonwealth Prize-winner’s new novel—his third book—has earned a million-dollar advance, putting him in an exclusive club of Indian authors that includes Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Arundhati Roy. "

"The yet-untitled oeuvre has been signed for $1.3 million for its USA and UK rights alone. “The Indian rights still have to be worked out,” he adds, speaking from his home in Berkeley, California. The book will be published by Harper Collins in the USA and Canada and Faber and Faber in the UK. "

Great news for Vikram. Three cheers!

For details, go here.

Mafia don's Unfinished Dream

A former mafia don, Babloo Srivastava who is based in India, is making his literary debut. Says the weekly, Tehelka: "...Babloo’s first shot at writing, Adhure Khwab, has created an enormous buzz even before the book hits the stands on his birthday, October 14. After all, Babloo is no ordinary man. This former Dawood aide, who ‘turned patriotic’ after the ’93 Mumbai blasts, now craves for the blood of ‘gaddar’ Dawood. That’s his khwab — to eliminate Dawood; that’s how the book got its name."

"Satish Verma, editor-publisher of Nai Sadi Prakashan believes that it was sheer good luck that he secured the rights for Babloo’s ‘crime thriller’ conceived behind bars. “The pre-publishing hype made me go for the book. After reading the draft, I was sure that it would be a rousing success. The deal was clinched in four sittings,” he says. The don gets 15 percent royalty on print order. The initial print order is of 20,000 at Rs 80 per copy; the contract is of 5 lakh copies or three years, whichever is earlier, subject to renewal."

For the writer-don, it is really going great guns! Is he going to be India's Chilly Palmer? Who knows, if Leonard Elmore read this news, his Chilly Palmer would sit down and write a bestseller, and in the process, straighten a few things out in the publishing world too. Leonard, are you reading? You don't need no research to write this one, I bet!

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