Friday August 17, 2018

Germany: 68th Frankfurt Book Fair in October is likely to include 100 Malayalam Books

The universities delegation at Frankfurt will consist of a group of writers, officials and publishers in Malayalam

  • Frankfurt Book fair will see the introduction of around 100 books on fiction transcribed in Malayalam
  • These books will be put in front of leading publishers from all across the world
  • Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University joined hands with Oxford publishers to obtain the English translation of the eight selected Malayalam works

Chinese, Spanish and English! That’s the list of the three most spoken languages in the world and one can go on for 10 more rows and Malayalam still won’t make the cut. However, there exist Malayalam fiction writers that have proven their worth to the people speaking the same dialect. It would only be better if their talent were showcased to the rest of the world. And that’s exactly what the Vice-chancellor, Mr Jayakumar is trying to do.

Frankfurt Book fair. Image Source:
Frankfurt Book fair. Image Source:

Frankfurt Book Fair will see the introduction of around 100 books on fiction transcribed in Malayalam. These books will be put in front of leading publishers, literary agents, writers, journalists, and translators from across the globe, speaking different world languages. The 68th edition of the book fair will take place in the third week of October (Oct 19 to Oct 23).

Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University at Tirur decided on an arrangement, which includes the annual event to arrange a special pavilion for these 100 books that are the best works from the Malayalam speaking world outside, reported the Hindu.

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‘‘Readers across the world are keen on reading translations from different geographic terrains with unique and distinct cultures. So we are attempting to make use of the growing demand. It may be the first time that a regional language in India is introducing its best 100 works to translators and publishers from different world languages,’’ said Mr Jayakumar to the Hindu.

He also added that the university was preparing an in-depth catalogue and a condensed version of each selected work so that Malayalam can be introduced to the global publishing industry. He ensures that currently acquiring universal attention for Malayalam literature is one of the priorities of the university.

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The universities delegation at Frankfurt will consist of a group of writers, officials and publishers in Malayalam. Malayalam publishers will eventually acquire the translation rights of the literature from outside. However, Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University also joined hands with Oxford publishers to obtain the English translation of the final selected eight Malayalam works.

– prepared by Karishma Vanjani, an intern with NewsGram. Twitter @BladesnBoots



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“A Suitable Girl”: Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published

Seth suffered from writer's block after his break-up

"A Suitable Girl": Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published, flickr

Hardly has any novel been awaited with as much curiosity and anticipation in recent times as Vikram Seth’s sequel to the monumental “A Suitable Boy” (1993). Five years on, since he was first expected to deliver the manuscript, the novel is still to see the light of the day. But what seems like a saga of missed deadlines can very well — far from our eyes — be a masterpiece in the making.

“The more I talk of her, the more shy she becomes,” Seth had told this correspondent in 2015 about “A Suitable Girl”, the novel-in-waiting.

Seth, as his literary agent David Godwin puts it, has been known to take his time with his books. The prolonged delay, however, was not acceptable to Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and he was asked to return an advance payment of $1.7 million when the deal was called off. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, an imprint of the British publisher Orion, then acquired the novel — and it was scheduled to release in 2016.

But a flying bird — a friend and confidant of the writer — says that he is now giving the “final touch” to the novel and that one can expect “the big announcement” soon.

Seth released a collection of poems titled “Summer Requiem” in the meanwhile. In the collection, he traces the immutable shiftings of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both “gifts and harms”. Composed as they were while he was (which he still is) writing the sequel, several poems in the offering open doors to his mind, or perhaps they may be preludes to the larger narrative that he is weaving.

“I have so carefully mapped/the corners of my mind/that I am forever waking/in a lost country,” he writes in the opening poem. Interestingly, Seth’s companion to “A Suitable Boy” will be a jump sequel — the characters have travelled from the 1950s and it will be very much a novel set in somewhat the present times.

novels By Vikram Seth
novels By Vikram Seth, flickr

In its title poem, he mourns that the “liberated generation lives a restrained youth,” and then adds: “I must forsake attachment”. On another occasion in the book, readers find him lamenting over “the peaceful love” that the narrator has “never found”. In another short poem “Late Light” he writes: “Outside the great world’s gifts and harms/ There must be somewhere I can go/To rest within a lover’s arm/At ease with the impending snow”.

Reportedly, Seth suffered from writer’s block after his break-up with French violinist Phillippe Honor but that was a long time ago and was reflected in “An Equal Music”. He has moved on or has he not?

Nonetheless, it has been about five years since “A Suitable Girl” was first expected to hit the stands but the wait is surely worth it. As writer-politician Shashi Tharoor says about his good friend’s technique — that “Vikram Seth draws an entire roadmap of his novel, planning every minute element in great detail” — the sequel, thanks to all the anticipation and the pressure on the writer, may actually be a masterpiece in the making, as sublime as its counterpart and yet set in the time of its readers.

Vikram Seth is a recipient of the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, and among several other prestigious honours, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. He has been widely translated and is among leading novelists on the global stage. He has published three novels — “The Golden Gate” (1986), “A Suitable Boy” (1993) and “An Equal Music” (1999) — along with several collections of poetry such as “Mappings” and “All You Who Sleep Tonight”.

Also read: Here is all the reason for Bookworms to look ahead for the upcoming year: A List of the Best Stories and Novels in 2017!

Seth — an openly gay man — is also one of the prominent faces of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. (IANS)