50 Indian authors to descend on London (Lead)

February 28th, 2009 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 28 (IANS) More than 50 leading Indian writers led by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen are to gather in London for a two-day marketing blitz aimed at promoting Indian books in Britain.

Alongside, British publishers will work with their Indian counterparts to push British book sales in India, organisers of the April 20-22 London Book Fair told reporters in London Friday.

Indian men of letters who have signed up to the trip include writers, translators, critics and academics such as Sen, Vikram Seth, Sunil Ganguly, U.R. Ananthamurthy, William Dalrymple, Pavan Verma, Ram Guha, Urvashi Butalia, Suketu Mehta, Shankar and Amit Chaudhuri.

Also expected to turn up in the British capital are a number of leading Indian publishers aiming to tap the huge British book market, Alistair Burtenshaw, group exhibition director of the London Book Fair said at the Nehru Centre in London Friday.

The massive turnout of Indian literary luminaries, which aims to cash in on India’s growing economic stature on the world stage, is courtesy of an Indian market focus at the London Book Fair, one of the largest such events in the world.

Organisers of the fair - essentially a trade show - also hope that the presence of the Indians, and the expected media interest, will lead to more British books sold in the growing Indian market.

Burtenshaw said the Indian book market is worth 625 million pounds and is growing at the rate of 10 percent per year. 15,000 titles in English are published each year in India, and the publishing outsourcing industry is predicted to be worth $1.46 billion by 2010.

Burtenshaw denied suggestions that the Indian focus was a response to the credit crunch, saying it was part of a “long term engagement” that had been decided months in advance.

Also backing the Indian literary push are the British Council, Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Nehru Centre and Sahitya Akademi, said Sujata Sen, director East India at the British Council, adding: “This comes at a time when Indian writing is coveted, read and followed internationally.”

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