Friday, December 28, 2007

2008 - The Year of the Bookworm?

The Chinese calendar has dubbed 2008 as the Year of the Rat - actually it is the Chinese Brown Earth (Soil) Rat Year. So one would imagine that Mickey Mouse (known as Topolino in Italy) would thrive. Rat trap sales will decline. I was just about going down that path when someone decided to give the lowly bookworm its pride of place in the zodiac.

The Hindustan Times of 21st December 2007 did a story on the next year being the Year of the Bookworm. Girija Duggal predicts the rise of graphic novels and fiction being the dominant flavor of the next year.

The article talks about the retail boom driving the expansion of chains like Landmark and Crosswords across cities in India that in turn is making it easy for booklovers to buy books. Fictions seems to have been the big success story this year. What with Advaita Kala's Almost Single (7,000 copies sold and counting) being the success of the year.

To quote Girija Duggal, "So, in 2008, get ready for Keep off the Grass by Karan Bajaj, Married But Available by Abhijit Bhaduri, You Are Here by popular blogger Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan and The Other Half of Me by Swati Kaushal.
Indian fiction has been growing in popularity. When I go into the bookstores, I see increasing amount of shelf space being given to the desi writers. Publishers are bringing out more of fiction. Graphic novels are inching their way into the bookshelves at home. We have got publishing houses who are willing to promote unknown authors, authors who are willing to find their own voice. What is missing is the matchmaker to put writers in touch with the publishers. So the market is ripe for literary agents. That is the missing link. A literary fest is often the space that does just that. It gets the reader, the author, the publisher and agent into one forum. And possibly the translators. There is a rich market of readers waiting out there.

I recently met Mita Kapur, a literary consultant and literary agent who is based out of Jaipur and runs Siyahi. She has been running the literary fest at Jaipur for the past three years. The conference, Translating Bharat: Language, Globalization and the Right to be Read (20th - 22nd January, 2008) is an effort by Siyahi to provide an interactive space for creating synergies to help writers, translators and publishers to understand core issues and work towards creating bonds which will help them benefit from each other's experiences and understanding.

I loved being there in Mumbai for the Kitabfest in Feb '07. Let me see if I can make it to Jaipur for the lit fest having just got back after a fab vacation in Jaipur, Bharatpur and Fatehpur Sikri. More of that soon.

1 comment:

rambhai said...

year of the rat haa!!!so may be the sales of cheese will increase ~~~time to but britannia stocks~~~