50 Indian authors to descend on London

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : More than 50 leading Indian writers are to gather in London for a two-week marketing blitz aimed at promoting Indian writing in Britain and British books in India.

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Organisers of the April 20-22 London Book Festival said the Indian men of letters will include writers, translators, critics and academics such as Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Vikram Seth, Sunil Ganguly, U.R. Ananthamurthy, William Dalrymple, Pavan Verma, Ram Guha, Urvashi Butalia, Suketu Mehta, Shankar and Amit Chaudhuri.

Also expected to turn up in the British capital are a number of leading Indian publishers aiming to tap the huge British book market, Alistair Burtenshaw, group exhibition director of the London Book Festival said Friday.

The massive turnout of Indian literary luminaries, which aims to cash in on India’s growing economic stature on the world stage, is courtesy of an Indian market focus at the London Book Festival, one of the largest such events in the world.

Organisers of the festival – essentially a trade show – also hope that the presence of the Indians, and the expected media interest, will lead to more British books sold in the growing Indian market.

Burtenshaw said the Indian book market is worth 625 million pounds and is growing at the rate of 10 percent per year. 15,000 titles in English are published each year in India, and the publishing outsourcing industry is predicted to be worth $1.46 billion by 2010.

Also backing the Indian literary push are the British Council, Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Sahitya Akademi, said Sujata Sen, director East India at the British Council, adding: “This comes at a time when Indian writing is coveted, read and followed internationally.”