In his mission statement, Amit Chaudhuri identifies what he calls ‘market activism’ primarily with publishers and literary agents, or, perhaps more specifically, with the large publishing corporations and ‘super-agents’ who began to reshape the literary world during the early 1990s. But he also looks briefly askance at universities in order to point out an implicitly fatal coincidence.

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I would like to evoke the extraordinary work, life, and career of the bilingual English-Marathi poet Arun Kolatkar (1931-2004) and of his generation of poets, writers, publishers, and artists who started producing their work in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly in Bombay, and which I designate here as the little magazine ‘conspiracy’.

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It was 1989. I was a graduate student at Oxford. I had made little progress with my doctoral dissertation and I had written a novel that had almost, but not quite, found a publisher. One of the routes that had taken me in my fiction towards Calcutta was Irish literature – its provincialism and cosmopolitanism, its eccentricity and refinement.

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Many years ago – in the days before email – I found myself engaged in correspondence with the postcolonial critic Benita Parry. She had visited Rutgers University, where I was teaching, and had given a paper on the fiction of J.M. Coetzee, in which I too had an interest. We had a friendly disagreement about the question of silence in Coetzee’s novels…

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