If he puts his finger on it, it is two communications, Kanishka Guptacareer. First, with the Scottish literary institution to which he sent the manuscript of his fledgling novel when he was struggling to get advice on his writing, and second, a few years later from a certain Hasina Mansoor. It was a letter from The roll of Writer’s Side, which Gupta founded in his 2010 and is arguably the largest literary agency in South Asia.
But going back to the beginning, when the Scottish literary institution turned out to be a catfish, he swindled Gupta out of his money before ghosting him, though Mansoor also proved to be someone else. , in a more convenient way. By then, Gupta knew he had found his vocation. Indian literature in the early 2000s was dominated by Penguin and Harper Collins, and there were only a handful of international publishing giants. indie publisher There was little support for invading literary institutions and first-time writers. “Even if you wrote to publishers, it would take years if they contacted you. Gupta, 40, who founded Writer’s Side originally as a manuscript review service in 2008, has since represented writers. I will say that it has become
Delhi-based Gupta is a household name in the country’s literary world, especially for those who write in English. His client roster includes translator Daisy Rockwell, winner of this year’s International Booker Prize. He holds the South Asian representation of the collection of short stories, The Birth Lottery and Other Surprises (Hachette), and the forthcoming novel by Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka, Booker of the Year Award.
From Avni Doshi, whose debut book Burnt Sugar (White Cotton Girl) was published in 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction From Wyndham Campbell Prize-winning author Jerry Pinto, this year’s Sahitia Akademi Yuba Pluskar winner Mihir Vatsa, to Rijula Das, winner of the first book award at Tata Literary Live in 2021. Her debut work, A Death in Shonagachhi (Picador), is on her JCB Awards long list for 2021, and his clients include some of the most famous names in South Asian literature. .
But in the beginning, books were just a way to get my life back. After school, struggling with mental health issues, he had signed up for a BBA course, but his heart wasn’t in it. “I started writing trying to understand my depression. I’m honored to have parents who gave me the time to figure out what I wanted to do. , I observed how they work, I was reading interviews and articles, I was part of a writing group at Yahoo, where first-time authors got together and let each other write and generally miserable together, I was unwittingly picking up on publishing stuff, so I knew the ecosystem well before I even joined in the right way. he says. Around this time, a friend of his family introduced him to the writer Shobha De. He read his manuscript, overlooked “poor writing full of purple prose, similes and metaphors” and took the time to introduce him to his potential. From fraternity to more people. He also contacted Mita Kapur of Siyahi, one of India’s earliest literary consultancies, to undertake a voluntary internship. “Looking back, each part of my four-year journey from 2004 to 2008 was fruitful. Yes, Mita introduced me to Namita Gokkale, and I worked with her as a researcher for a while, and she introduced me to more people. I learned a lot through experience, reading manuscripts,” he says.
In 2009, a year after launching Writer’s Side, Gupta found himself writing successfully. his novel, history of hate (Rupa Publications) was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize, a prestigious annual literary prize held from 2007 to 2012, for unpublished works written or translated into English. given to the author of “And someone else wrote to me because I was nominated,” Gupta says.
It was the email itself that first piqued his curiosity. No, I’m not a flight attendant or the kind of person behind his check-in counter. This he will find me somewhere between two workplaces. I am a tea vending machine salesperson. Right next to this vending machine is a bookstore with a wide variety of products, and the book inspired me to write. The story of the vending machine is the story of my life, but I really wish it happened to haters.Would you like to read some chapters? Please tell me.” was written.
Intrigued, Gupta agreed to read the manuscript. Mansoor turns out to be Kerala-based reclusive writer Anise Salim. Anise Salim had found it difficult to get a reaction to his new manuscript, the story from the vending machine, and was writing to him in the voice of the protagonist. Salim became the first writer Gupta signed to represent him and has not looked back since.
Since he founded his agency, the Indian publishing scene has undergone major changes.
New independent publishers emerged, allowing different kinds of writing to find space.South Asian works written in English swept major international literary awards and sought new talent. attracting foreign literary agents. Competition was fierce, and Gupta had to expand his team to manage the diversity of his work. But what worked in his favor, he says, was the fact that his agency was genre-agnostic: “From commercials to his non-fiction to literary fiction to translation, graphic novel When it comes to children’s books, I never say no when the writing is good or the author has potential. I’m not going to do a niche project or make money off a book if I feel the writer is going somewhere else,” he says.
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