Prufrock's Page

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Facts About Non-fiction

Go through the non-fiction section of First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing from India and you'll be struck by the strength and diversity of the selection on offer.

Travelogue, memoir, 'new' journalism and social analysis vie for space: of note are Sankarshan Thakur on the deprived of Bihar and Kashmir; Naresh Fernandes on Cuba; Andre Betielle on his schooldays; Arpita Das' notes on 'colonial bibis'; Jerry Pinto's analysis of Hindi movie vamps; and Nirupama Subramanium's encounters with Tamil Tigers.

This competence is but another aspect of a heartening trend. Other indicators are the annual Outlook Picador Non-Fiction Competition (read excerpts from this year's winners here) and the New India Foundation, that encourages the writing of Indian history, biography and analyses.

In the United States, authors of non-fiction are encouraged by and dependent on magazines that allow them the time, space and resources to pursue their interests. Commercial considerations preclude this happening in India at present, which is why the above is all the more to be welcomed and nourished.

Suketu Mehta may or may not win the Samuel Johnson Prize For Non-Fiction, but one's guess is that before too long, you're going to see Indian non-fiction writers making as many waves as their fiction-writing counterparts.


Post a Comment

<< Home