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What We Need: Animals and Touch in Lockdown

  "The longer we are denied what we took for granted, the more intensely we yearn for it." ( Published in Lit Hub and Indian Quarterly ) At the hour when, in pandemic times, sleep tends to thin or spin into nightmares, I felt one of my dogs climb into my bed last night. She placed herself against me so that she found the curve of my neck where she knows she can rest her head. This dog has trained me for five years, and not for nothing: although I was half-asleep, my hand reached out as if it had a life independent of my drowsiness, and my fingers began to run through her fur. With each movement of my fingers, her breathing deepened. So did mine. The nightmares receded, and we fell asleep together. Not long ago, we used to hug, kiss, stroke. We touched the feet of the elderly to show respect. They blessed us by resting their hands on our heads. Today, scenes in films that show people flying into each other’s arms at airports or sharing the same spoon at a café bring about a
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All the Lives We Never Lived in Chinese

Rights to the Chinese translation of All the Lives We Never Lived have been acquired by Horizon, one of the most prestigious literary publishers in China. They publish an exceptional list of authors, including Khaled Hosseini, Hermann Hesse, Orhan Pamuk, John Williams, Roberto Bolaño, Sara Gruen, and Sarah Waters. Not many Indian novels are translated into Chinese and it is even more unusual at a time when things are not too warm and loving on the Indo-Chinese border. It's good to see publishers refusing to let a few border disputes get in the way of their need to bring out what they value.         The book has so far been translated into German (Luchterhand/Random House), French (Actes Sud), Romanian (Humanitas), and Russian (Azbooka Atticus). Other than UK (Maclehose Press) and India (Hachette India), other editions of the book have been published in the US (Atria/ Simon&Schuster), Sri Lanka (Perera Hussein), Large Print (Thorndike), Audiobook (Atria).  

All the Lives We Never Lived shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award

All the Lives We Never Lived has been shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award.      The shortlist is drawn from a longlist of 156 novels submitted by library systems in 119 cities in 40 countries. The statement from the judges said: "Set in the 1930s, Anuradha Roy’s new novel is like an Indian raga that continues to resonate long after you have finished the last chapter. Myshkin is the nine year-old protagonist, and the central event in his life is revealed in the novel’s opening sentence: “I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman”. The Englishman turned out to be Walter, a German, who had to leave British India in a hurry, taking Myshkin’s beloved mother, with him, triggering a memorable saga of love, memory, kindness, human frailty and the devastating loneliness of a boy." Listen here to brilliant actors reading from the shortlisted books Excerpted below is a report by Martin Doyle in Irish Times   Nobel Prize, Women’s Pr

A Letter from Luxembourg

The French translation of All the Lives We Never Lived had a bumpy start. Its release in March 2020 crashed full tilt into worldwide lockdowns. Bookshops were shut, literary festivals cancelled, reading seemed to be the last thing on people's distracted, panic-stricken minds. I thought the book would sink to the bottom of the sea floor and rest quietly there along with other wrecks. But readers are tenacious people. The other day there was an email from one of them, Valérie Voisin, which I am reproducing below unaltered because it so vividly and movingly describes her experience of how she got and read a book by an author unknown to her, during a lockdown.  I am grateful to Valérie for taking the trouble to write to me and for giving me permission to reproduce her message. Dear Madam, I discovered your novel during the lockdown when the bookshop started a on-line shop section and delivered books at home. It was a new process for the

Carolyn Reidy 1949 -2020

At a time when the sky is darkening every day with bad news, it grew even darker today with the news of Carolyn Reidy's sudden death. She was publisher at Simon and Schuster, and its President. "She began her career at Random House in 1974, in the subsidiary rights department. She sat outside the office of Toni Morrison, who was an editor in the trade book division at the time and who, by Ms. Reidy’s account, proved to be an inspiration," says the New York Times . "She also was never afraid to offer a controversial glimpse into her thinking. At Frankfurt, when asked about Brexit, she made a point of asserting that the advantage the UK market historically has had with its exclusive rights in the European market would be over. Already raised eyebrows shot up even further when she added, 'I still don’t understand why the British think they have India,'" Publishing Perspectives wrote. Among authors she published in a company that had 17 imp

A NATION ON PAUSE: CORONAVIRUS IN INDIA

Mall Road, Ranikhet | Anuradha Roy It is the middle of April and weeks into lockdown, limbo is a jittery place.  In today’s newspaper, gunshots during a game of Ludo: “Jai accused Prashant of coughing with the intention of giving coronavirus to other people. He shot him in the thigh.” Rumours whine like mosquitoes. A strident voice wafts across from next door: “Is this futuristic Chinese bioterrorism or a Muslim conspiracy?” Some say our hellish sanitation and tropical fevers have given us a carapace of immunity. We breathe calmer for a moment. Then the bad news closes in again: lost jobs, suffering, starvation and no end in sight. I chanced upon a tweet yesterday from Christina Lamb, a foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times . “For the first time in my life I find myself wishing I lived in the country with a dog and a breadmaker and maybe a lemon tree.” That’s been us the past 20 years, in a corner of the Himalayas with three dogs and two lemon trees. No bre

Tales of Two Planets

“ELEGIAC, ANGRY AND IRONIC … [A] CLARION GLOBAL CHORUS” In the past five years, John Freeman, previously editor of Granta , has launched a celebrated international literary magazine, Freeman’s , and compiled two acclaimed anthologies that deal with income inequality as it is experienced.  Here, he draws together a group of our greatest writers from around the world to help us see how the environmental crisis is hitting some of the most vulnerable communities where they live. Galvanized by his conversations with writers and activists around the world, Freeman engaged with some of today’s most eloquent storytellers, many of whom hail from the places under the most acute stress–from the capital of Burundi to Bangkok, Thailand. The response has been extraordinary.  Margaret Atwood conjures up a dystopian future in a remarkable poem. Edwidge Danticat to Haiti; Tahmima Anam to Bangladesh; while Eka Kurniawan brings us to Indonesia, Chinelo Okparanta to Nigeria, and An