Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Calling all final years

The Writing in Practice notice is now up on the departmental notice board. The list of courses to be offered next semester is still being finalised, and should be done by Friday. We will then give the signup sheets to Anandada for you to put your names down on. You have to sign up by the 16th of June, so your window is essentially 5th to 16th. There will be separate lists (on the same page) for UG and PG. All signup sheets will be in grid form and sequentially numbered. Do NOT put your name in between slots: this is to stop people squeezing in and jumping the queue. And no, if someone has struck off their name you can't replace them: you add yourself to the bottom of the list (Dada/didi line acchhe!). We will be strict about this rule this time, for all the courses.

Friday, May 26, 2006


A thousand apologies if there are any errors, oversights or infelicities in the book. Treatment prevented me from taking as much care over it as I would have liked, and by the time it was all typeset exams were upon us and I hesitated to ask any of you to help. The important thing, I felt, was to make a fairly respectable start and to get the book out before you all dispersed. Also the whole plan of the book was an afterthought born out of a casual conversation with Supriyadi. One of the oversights (a bad one) is that I forgot to acknowledge CAS's (and Supriyadi's) support for the book, for which omission I am much mortified.
Future plans for the book: I would like to see this become a launching pad for new writers from JUDE, and to that end I would like to make it good enough to be an attractive title to commercial publishers. Since we now have the benefit of starting the next course with the thought of the book in mind, we can plan the contents from an early date. CAS won't be able to support us indefinitely, and we will have to appeal to the market at some point. To this end I'm going to tighten the requirements a little. For the first book I tried to take at least one story from everyone, since that was fair. Also, when you submitted the stories, you had no idea that they would be published (I'm sure you would have polished them up some more if you had). For the next book, there won't be automatic inclusion for everyone. I will choose the best stories regardless of who they're by, so the course-takers will have to compete to get in. I may also return stories for editing/reworking before the page makeup. A number of the stories we included this time had faults, as I'm sure you'll agree. We want to avoid that, as it pulls down the overall saleability of the work. What I would like is that after a few years of producing this book on our own, we should have some rough figures regarding sales and demand, and some high-quality back-issues, to give to a publisher along with a contract. Publishers don't like dipping their toes in untried waters, and we will have to reassure them that no piranhas are patrolling.
Also YOU will have to key in the damn things next time. Later on, when the next course has got under way, I will put up some guidelines for submission.

What next?

Listen up, people, because soon the date for signing up to new courses will be upon us. It hasn't been decided yet, but today we made the list of courses that will run in the next semester, and Writing in Practice is definitely running. To refresh your memories, this course is for FINAL YEAR STUDENTS, that means UG3 and PG2. There will be separate signup sheets for UG3 and PG2, and I will take the first ten on each sheet UNLESS there is a huge response, in which case I will have to conduct a screening test. Please be alert for notices on the blog and on the dept notice boards, because if I need to screen I will do it as early as possible, as the unlucky ones will have to scramble onto other optional course lists to fill their requirements. I'm afraid that if you have to go on your holidays or attend weddings it's just too bad; try if you possibly can to linger a few days after the exams end on the 6th and sign up before you go. But hopefully we won't have a problem. Watch this space for notifications.

They're here!

The books have been delivered, and you're all going to get five free copies each. Saumava, Azeem, Pradipta and Bodhi have already got theirs. The rest of you drop by some time and pick them up; they're in my room. In addition there will be two copies in the DL. If you want extra copies, you can buy them for 30 bucks each. The books will be on sale only to JUDE.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Books are coming from the binder's

The books are done, but probably I won't get time to haul them to JU before Thursday, as I have a course to conduct at the Geological Survey of India on Tuesday and Wednesday. (Please note: you probably won't see me in dept. on these two days.) Get in touch with me after that to collect your copies. I may need a couple of people to come with me to the printer's and help load up the car.
NOTE: The books are arriving on Friday morning, that is tomorrow. If you can't pick them up that day, I will store them in my room and you can meet me when convenient.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Poetry Dot SCAM

Some of you will remember a green and elegant pamphlet from that was put up on the notice around this time last year, advertising a free poetry competition with lots of prizes. I have since learned (courtesy Peter Griffin of Caferati) that this is a SCAM. If you have entered a poem for the contest DO NOT PAY THEM ANY MONEY under any circumstances. To know more go here.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Egg Jams

Here's wishing all you WIPers all the best for the social event of the semester (not). Get out there and prod some righteous donkey!

How they did it back then...

Here's Margaret Atwood's wonderfully witty take on writing poetry.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Excellent advice on writing

Here's John Scalzi's take on the writing life, thanks to Hurree

More Kaavya...poor thing

Samit Basu has gotten ensnarled in this controversy, and has apparently been misquoted as well, to add to the confusion.
And there's this, from Peter Griffin

Get your PDF here...

I've saved the pagemaker file of WIPlash as a pdf, which apparently I can't post on the blog, but I can send to you individually. Would you like to receive this file?
Alternatively, I can post the texts of people's stories on the blogs, or send you word versions (in case you haven't got any and I typed your stuff up from handwritten drafts). What would you like, people?

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I've added a link to this organisation in the links section of this page. This used to be the Bombay Writers' Cafe. There was apparently a read-meet a week ago at the Punjab Club, organised by Anurag Mathur (not the author, someone else) and Ravi Bagaria, which we seem to have missed out on. If you want to join their messsage board, you'll also have to join Ryze, hence the other link.
There's also a Google Group for Calcutta. You will need to contact caferatiATgmailDOTcom (Peter Griffin) and/or have a gmail ID to join this.
Oh and please do read TC's novel in progress :)

Herewith more on Kaavya

Here's a Guardian article that might be of interest.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I (t)read on familiar territory.

A site about agents

Someone asked me (can't remember who: my memory has become very poor since chemo) about the necessity of agents. Thankfully we as yet don't have any here in India. But the US is lousy with them, and if you want to see how much damage they do, check this out. Absolute Write is a forum for published writers. Take a tour, it's quite interesting.


Sorted out the list formatting.
Also mucho apologies for harping on the Kaavya theme, but the plot has thickened since I last pronounced on it. It turns out that poor unimaginative Kaavya was the victim of a 'book packager' (not the lowly guys in the sales loading bay) who shipped her to Little Brown neatly tied with a little pink bow. Just goes to show how icky the scene now is in the West, where authors are not fit to sniff the hem of a publisher's trouserbottom. You have to go through an agent who will cream a bit off the top in exchange for your using his or her contacts, and for totally rearranging your book into an origami crocodile wearing a laminated tutu. Interestingly both authors (Megan and Kaavya) fulsomely thanked the same editor (who has since skipped town) for working on their book. Innocent slip up (Oooh, Ms. Managing Editor, I mixed the proof sheets up while cleaning my desk)? I don't think so.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Book of the course in press

The long wait is almost over. The book of the course, called WIPlash, has been typeset and will be okayed for printing today. I'm hoping to have copies in hand by May 15. It's 116 pages and we have a print run of 100. Here's the table of contents:
Adwaita Das
------There’s Something About Fish
Anurupa Bose
------Here Comes the Sun
Arati Banerjee
------The Birthday Treat
Bodhisatwa Dasgupta
------A Reasonable Negotiation
Hrileena Ghosh
Ishani Dasgupta
Karma Mingyur Yonzone
------I Danced Like a Bear
------Weak Hearts
------The Death of Pink
Neelini Sarkar
------Night Whispers
Pooja Das Sarkar
------The Relic
Pradipta Sarkar
Rai Ganguly
------The Kaleidoscope
Romila Saha
------Of Dreams and a Twenty-Year-Old Lottery
------Of the Love of Fathers
Sandeep Philipose Mancha
------A Tale of a Towel
Saumava Mitra
------Name Imaginary
------The Seamy Side
Shaikh Azeem Hussein
------The Train to Kolkata
Simon Andrew Jennings