‘…Best of Khushwant Singh’ returns in new avatar

August 21st, 2011 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS) Khushwant Singh, the grand old man of contemporary Indo-Anglian literature has returned in a new avatar with an updated edition of his signature anthology, “Not a Nice Man to Know: The Best of Khushwant Singh”.

The anthology, first published 20 years ago with 30 of Singh’s selected works, has been revised to include 18 more of his essays, short stories and opinions.

The revised edition was launched by Penguin India at the Le Meridien in the capital here Saturday.

It was accompanied with a dramatized reading of his postcolonial play which features in the book - “Tyger Tyger, Burning Bright” - by adman and stage personality Suhel Seth.

The 96-year-old writer could not join the gathering because of ill-health.

Releasing the anthology, editor Nandini Mehta, who edited the first edition of the collection 20 years ago, said, “When I edited the first volume of the best of Khushwant Singh 20 years ago, the writer had said it was perhaps the last book on him and he would not be able to write any more.”

“But he had to eat his words. We have added new essays to bring out the nature lover, storyteller and historian in Singh,” she said.

“Khushwant Singh still remains the bestseller on Penguin India’s list of top writers,” said Andrew Phillips, the chief executive officer of Penguin India.

“A lot of people still want to see his work and Khushwant can always find new audiences. When you keep his book in front of the bookstore, it attracts public eye. I think from the commercial point of view, Khushwant sells widely. There is an aura about him and a lot of strange stories,” Phillips told IANS.

It adds to Khushwant’s persona as a writer, he said.

Born in 1915, Singh is known for his witty, secular and candid writing that carried him through the 1960s, 1970s. Thereafter he carved a niche for himself in the world of post-Independent India.

His seminal work “Train to Pakistan” (1956), a tale of the trauma of partition, still remains on the bestseller lists.

Singh has nearly 40 books to his credit, which include more than half a dozen short story collections.

The writer, who once edited the Illustrated Weekly magazine, became a household name in northern India with his weekly newspaper column, “With Malice Towards One and All”.

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