With snappy newsletters, an enterprising publicity department, book launches that seemed to have catered for a picnic and writers who were, for the first time in their lives, coaxed into being public speakers, Penguin India took desi publishing out of the crowded alleys of Daryaganj and into the limelight.
“Visibility”, says Ravi Singh, Editor-in-chief and Publisher, Penguin, “is everything. If we believe in our writers and promote them aggressively, there’s a good chance everyone else will believe in them, too... The scene is vibrant today, with successful authors in every genre and a variety of publishers.”
At the 75th anniversary celebration of the Penguin group (this is Penguin India’s 23rd year) being held at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) from March 13-21, authors, no doubt will leave their writing desks, roll out chiselled sentences from their forthcoming books over the microphone and meet their readers over cheese and wine.
Catch writers Gurcharan Das, Bibek Debroy, Namita Gokhale and Shashi Tharoor discussing the Mahabharata; ‘Metro readings’ from Where Girls Dare and Love over Coffee, and erotica; a Bollywood quiz with a special segment ‘Current Mare Bijuriya -Cinema Bhojpuri,’ a display of Puffin books, and dramatised readings by Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Husain from Beseiged: Voices from Delhi 1857.
Which were Penguin India’s first books? The first original fiction published in 1987 was Ranga Rao’s Fowl Filcher, and the first non-fiction titles were Anees Jung’s Unveiling India and P.T. Usha’s autobiography, Golden Girl. In 2010, look forward to Yann Martel’s Beatrice and Virgil.
On from March 13-21 at the India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road.