English Titles in India: Tensions Building Up

By Christine Evain and Simon Carolan.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

India, where economic self-sufficiency has been a mantra for more than four decades, is opening up to the world: the book industry is no exception to India’s growth. India’s market potential for English titles attracts great interest on the part of American and British publishers. Our purpose will be to look at the recent evolutions in the Indian industry and to map out trends and cultural tensions, as vernacular writers and “international stars” compete for the Indian reading market.
The information contained in this article is based on field research (interviews conducted at book fairs and book events in India, Europe and North America, over the last ten years) as well as on critical articles by academics specialized in Indian literature, press, journal and internet articles, historic accounts and novels.
We will focus on three points in order to understand the present situation of the Indian novel in English. First of all, we will seek to outline historical context for the Indian novel in English: in the pre-Gandhi era, tensions are already palpable. What types of questions are raised? Where do the tensions come from? Secondly, we will consider the debates around the question of the English language? Finally, we will focus on Non Resident Indians (NRI) writers and RI writers, their differences and the relationship between the two communities.

Keywords: Book Fairs, India, Cultural Tension, Commercial Tension, Identity, Bestsellers, Vernacular Writers

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.93-106. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 285.477KB).

Assoc. Prof. Christine Evain

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, Foreign Languages and Corporate Cultures, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France

Christine Evain is an Associate Professor at ECN (“Ecole Centrale de Nantes”, French Graduate School of Engineering). She is responsible for the English and Business studies. She has written many books and articles on the book industry, as well as on several Canadian editors (Douglas Gibson, Louise Dennys, Jim Douglas, etc.) and authors including Margaret Atwood, Mavis Gallant, Alistair MacLeod. For the last fifteen years, she has been has been interviewing publishers, distributors, booksellers and authors in Europe, North America and Asia. Christine Evain is presently working in close collaboration with scientific departments at the ECN: she is part of a novel multi-discipline, multi-national research entity focusing on new technologies in the book industry.

Simon Carolan

PhD Student, Department of Communication, Foreign Languages and Corporate Cultures/ IRCCyN, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, France

Simon Carolan is a full-time lecturer and researcher at the Ecole Centrale de Nantes in France. With a background in literature and cultural studies and a keen scientific curiosity, he is combining his passions for literature and scientific discovery as part of a novel multi-discipline, multi-national research entity. He has a series of upcoming articles and books on new technologies in the book industry, many of which were co-written with Dr. Christine Evain. He is currently building an innovative web platform built around social reading in collaboration with publishers, distributors and the general public as part of his thesis.

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