Indian authors are proving to be head-turners at the world’s biggest book fair which is presently on in Frankfurt. According to reports on a German website, German publishers in particular have been scrambling to buy Indian rights and have undertaken a wave of translations too.
More than 25 translated works of fiction which include books by Altaf Tyrewala, Samit Basu, Suketu Mehta, Vikram Chandra, Kiran Nagarkar, Thrity Umrigar, Shobha De and Raj Kamal Jha, to name a few, have emerged in the German market.
Hooked and booked:
But the buck does not stop here. What is attracting the academia and the intelligentsia to write on India and South Asian affairs? Former South Asia bureau chief, Financial Times, Edward Luce, whose In Spite Of The Gods was launched recently, says “My affinity with India and its ever changing façade inspired me to write this book. In Spite… deals with India’s relationship with the US.”
Canadian author John Ralston Saul, who was here to promote his book, The Collapse Of Globalism, says that Indians are more promising than the Chinese because India has first rate social institutions in judiciary, free press and democracy.
The reasons for the western interest in India are not to far to seek. Says PM Sukumar of Harper Collins, “India is the flavour of the season in Frankfurt and it is mostly because of the economic boom and the size of the market as well as retailing opportunities in India.”
Dr Jitender Gill of Delhi University, agrees, “India is an emerging economy with cultural heritage, clichéd mysticism and exotica. It is an emerging powerhouse. All these factors have contributed to increasing interest of foreigners in India.” But there are detractors of the market theory as well.
Anil Arora, a bookstore owner, says, “The growing market is a big factor but it is not all that important as the books by foreigners do not become bestsellers apart from certain exceptions.”