No, we’re not allowed to tell you when Twinkle Khanna’s new novel arrives, what the title of Chetan Bhagat’s next opus is, or which shadowy political figure gets his explosive first-ever biography in September; but almost everything else is in this second-half-of-2016 preview of Indian publishing’s coolest — and cutest — forthcoming releases.
The Great Derangement: Amitav Ghosh leaves behind opium and empire and returns to non-fiction, in order to persuade the world just how major and urgent the violence of climate change is. Allen Lane / PRH.
A Feast Of Vultures: Big-time investigative reporter Josy Joseph wades into the muck of political funding and puppeteering behind the scenes of India’s democracy. Even our skeletons are rattling. Harper Collins India.
Tanya Tania: Fatima Bhutto and Shobhaa De already love this debut novel by Antara Ganguli. Two young girls with the same name write to each other from India and Pakistan in 1992, just as the hearts of both countries are about to break. Bloomsbury India.
The Paperboat Maker: Tamil writer Ambai turns from wry, heart-swelling stories about small lives in big cities to crime fiction starring brisk and bright new private eye Sudha Gupta. Translated by Gita Subramanian, two novellas and short fiction will be released through the next few months. Juggernaut.
Enter The Dangal: One of India’s most lyrical sports journalists, Rudraneil Sengupta finally releases his labour of love, an up-close look at the history and culture of wrestling in India. Read even if you’re ditching Sultan. Harper Collins India.
Hashimpura 22 May:This account of a police massacre that still makes the 9 pm news is extra-special because it’s written by Vibhuti Narain Rai, who is both a former top cop and a veteran Hindi novelist. Translated by Darshan Desai. Penguin / PRH.
The Weary Generations: Finally, the rest of us get to delve into Mohammed Hanif’s favourite Udas Naslein, a novel that spans the First World War, independence and partition. Translated by author Abdullah Hussein himself. Harper Perennial.
Jalsa: Classical singer Vidya Shah traces the ways that Indian women singers, travelling from “salon to studio,” changed how we listen to, enjoy and consume music. Tulika Delhi.
Sun And Moon: A handmade instant classic from India’s most gorgeous children’s publisher, the sun and moon are presented in the styles of every folk and tribal art tradition in India. Tara Books.
Knockings At My Heart: Previously unpublished Tagore poems, translated by Nilanjan Banerjee, with illustrations from the brilliant KG Subramanyam, who tragically passed away just yesterday. Roli.
Selection Day: Aravind Adiga returns with his first novel in four years; at his best when writing about ordinary people pushed to the wall, he introduces us to teenage cricketer and nerd Manju, whose life changes when he meets a boy with all the privilege and self-assurance that he lacks himself. Harper Collins India.
Things That Can And Cannot Be Said: What Arundhati Roy, John Cusack and Edward Snowden said to each other during that glamorous slumber party in Moscow. Juggernaut.
The Blaft Book of Mizo Myths: Comparative literature scholar and folklorist Cherrie Chhangte lets mainlanders in on the origin myths, ghost stories and supernatural love affairs that are part of the story-forest of Mizoram. Blaft.
Tiger: The world’s leading Tipu scholar writes a public-friendly book about the man of the moment, who’s appearing in quite a few books this year. Juggernaut.
Red Lipstick: Trans activist and TV star Laxmi co-writes a memoir about all the men in her life with Pooja Pande. Early hint of advice about boys: “Use and throw.” Viking / PRH.
JJ: Some Jottings: Sundara Ramaswamy’s novel about the nutso world of Kerala literature is going to be scaldingly funny and blisteringly sharp, as he always is. Translated from the Tamil by AR Vekatachalapathy. Penguin Modern Classics / PRH.
Dark Diamond: Shazia Omar’s thriller follows the fortunes of “Bengal’s swashbuckling hero” of the 17th century, Shayista Khan, who is trying to save the Mughal Empire from its enemies. No less a historian than William Dalrymple thinks it’s “rollicking”. Bloomsbury India.
The Liberation of Sita: The Telugu superstar Volga arrives triumphantly into English, translated by C Vijayasree and T Vijay Kumar. This fierce novel about Sita’s journey following her abandonment by Rama won a Sahitya Akademi award last year. Harper Collins India.
8 Ways To Draw Fish: A children’s activity book features eight different styles in which the fish is imagined. It might make a great gift for a nephew or niece — or you might just end up keeping this one. Tara Books.
Sair-Ul-Manazil: Nausheen Jaffrey translates Sangin Beg’s 1820 record of the monuments of Delhi: apart from mosques, temples, and tombs, it also lists wells, gardens, houses, shops and stray graves coloured by anecdotes and myths. Tulika Delhi.
A Full Night's Thievery And Other Stories: New writing from Assam's beloved Mitra Phukan, set in the modern day and ranging from militancy and witchcraft to love and old age. Speaking Tiger.
Aurangzeb: No, this will not magically transform into a biography of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. You may think you’ve had enough of the last great Mughal ruler, but a crisp talking-to from scholar Audrey Truschke will get you to sit back down and consider everything you didn’t know about him. Juggernaut.
Sauptik: At last, the second part of Amruta Patil’s brilliant graphic novel retelling of the Mahabharata, which began with Adi Parva in 2012. Harper Collins India.
Olympus: Or does he mean Amaravati? Devdutt Pattanaik retells Greek myths, but Indian-style. Penguin / PRH.
This Truck Has Got To Be Special: Sameer Kulavoor teams up with Karachi-based truck artist Hakeem Nawaz and indie designer Anjum Rana to celebrate Pakistani truck art and the artists who make it. Tara Books.
Murder In Mahim: Jerry Pinto's first crime novel, featuring characters we fell in love with in a 2012 short story about them -- and Pinto's own lovely vision of Bombay. Speaking Tiger.
The Saffron Trail: Screenwriter and novelist Advaita Kala turns reporter in an investigation of the inside workings of India’s shorts-wearing uncles, the RSS. Juggernaut.
The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, Vol. 3: The much-awaited third volume of crime, detective, and science fiction stories from Tamil Nadu’s most punk and prolific pulp novelists. Selections and translations by Rashmi Ruth Devadasan, Rakesh Khanna, and V Vinod. Blaft.
A Story For Mukti: The legendary playwright Habib Tanvir’s posthumous memoirs revealed a secret love affair with a woman in Edinburgh in 1955, when she was 16 and he 32. Classical musician Jill MacDonald now writes about her side in a book she calls a story for her and Tanvir’s grandson. HarperCollins India.
Tirumala: In a highly unusual food book, the head priest of the Tirupati temple demystifies the shrine’s famous prasadam. Recipes included. Roli.
The Masaba Print: Masaba Gupta writes a “fashion bible” for young adults. Will it include giant sailing lipsticks? Rupa.
A Village Is A Busy Place: In Patua-style scroll painting, an artist depicts the world of the Santhal people. Think ‘Where’s Wally’ mixed with some fun learning for kids. Tara Books.
The Untitled: Gayathri Prabhu steps away from the contemporary settings and intimate scope of her previous two novels. In 18th century Mysore, a British portrait painter wrangles his way into the dread fortress of Tipu Sultan, only to find himself become embroiled in a scheme to topple the Tiger of Srirangapatna. Harper Collins India.
The Hidden Life Of Trees: The keeper of an environmentally friendly woodland in Germany, Peter Wohlleben, whispers the secrets of what trees are really thinking — and doing — into these pages. Allen Lane / PRH.
Brothers: Manju Kapur, artist of quiet desperation and loathsome rich families, returns to fiction after a long break, with a saga set in Rajasthan and deeply connected with student politics and the Emergency. Viking / PRH.
Gorgeous: A supermodel diet doesn’t sound like it’ll make for a very long read, but former Miss India Svetha Jaishankar canvasses India’s lovelies (contributors include Fleur Xavier and Nina Manuel) for a cookbook full of the secrets of models’ kitchens. Don’t worry, it includes “occasion foods” for cheat days. Harper Collins India.
Gul Gulshan Gulfam: The novel everyone remembers as a DD tele-serial returns in Pran Kishore’s own translation, assisted by Shafi Shauq. Refresh your memories of three houseboats on the Dal Lake, and what happens to them when tourist Miss Jane enters the picture. Harper Perennial.
Choked: As winter approaches and the smog makes birds migrate out of India, star reporter Pallavi Aiyar has them double-checking their itinerary, as she takes readers on a tour through the innards of the world’s most polluted cities. Juggernaut.
Shiva: At last, more Moti Nandy in English. After a long gap, the classic Bengali sports fiction writer gets a new translation from Bhaskar Chattopadhyay, this time of his novel about a hardscrabble Calcutta boxer. Penguin / PRH.
I Want To Destroy Myself: The daughter of Amar Sheikh and wife of Namdeo Dhasal, two of Bombay's most important poets, Mallika Amar Sheikh writes an autobiography that promises to equal them for fire and honesty. Translated from the Marathi by Jerry Pinto. Speaking Tiger.
The Story of a Brief Marriage: After some stunning non-fiction from post-civil war Sri Lanka, it’s time for new fiction. Debut novelist Anuk Arudraprasagam goes for maximum heartbreak in a novel about two young people who marry in an evacuee camp in the last months of the war. Fourth Estate / Harper Collins India.
Daughters of Jorasanko: A grand new entry into the annals of fat Bengali novels about the Tagores. Eminent translator Aruna Chakravarti follows-up her Bengal Renaissance (Benaissance?) saga Jorasanko. This time, the ageing Rabindranath’s daughters and daughters-in-law step into the spotlight against the backdrop of the freedom movement. Harper Collins India.
Tilt. Pause. Shift.: GATI Dance Forum rounds up some of the most interesting thinkers and scholars to answer questions about “contemporary dance” produced in India. Look out for essays by Padmini Chettur, Preethi Athreya, Ranjana Dave, Sadanand Menon and others. Tulika Delhi.
Askew: The elder statesman of Indian journalism and the quick-witted but genteel biographer of bpb faves Nargis and MS Subbulakshmi, TJS George turns his attention to the history and present of the city of Bangalore. Aleph.
Indica: Nerds alert: biochemist-artist Pranay Lal produces a full-colour, illustrated book about the ancient natural history of the Indian subcontinent, and it looks stunning. Allen Lane / PRH.
Exile: Taslima Nasreen hasn’t covered herself in glory on Twitter, but a new memoir about a life spent on the move for 22 years will light many fires. Hamish Hamilton / PRH.
Ramayana: A huge art project in a new edition reproduces parts of Rajasthan’s haunting Mewar Ramayana, told in exquisite miniatures, housed in three different museums, with parts often unseen. Also the subject of a major exhibition in Delhi this month. Roli.
Things To Leave Behind: History catches Namita Gokhale’s gimlet eye. Set in Kumaon in the second half of the 19th century, this is supposed to be her “most ambitious work”. Viking / PRH.
Mr Iyer Goes To War: Award-winning photographer Ryan Lobo turns to fiction to do Don Quixote for modern India. Left to die in a home in Varanasi, the ageing, Veda-studying Mr Iyer hits his head and starts to believe he’s a character from the Mahabharata. With his Dom friend playing squire, he sets off to vanquish evil down the Ganga. Bloomsbury India.
Mr and Mrs Jinnah: We can almost feel the shivers of excitement that ran down the dinner table when Jinnah froze out Bombay high society for daring to judge his wife’s sleeveless arms. Sheela Reddy’s long-awaited book unveils the mysteries of the most dramatic, tragic love story in modern South Asia. Viking / PRH.
Thamel: A Biography: Don't go to Kathmandu without reading the wise Rabi Thapa's closely reported "biography" of one dazzling, changing neighbourhood in the city. Speaking Tiger.
Music, Masti, Modernity: Rising young Bollywood historian Akshay Manwani trains his eye on the fascinating and still very cool 60’s movies of Nasir Husain, with plenty of insider material from family members Mansoor Khan and Aamir Khan. Harper Collins India.
Mohanaswamy: A collection of Kannada stories about gay life in Bangalore by Vasudhendra created a stir when they were first published. In Rashmi Terdal’s translation, non-Kannada readers can finally see why. Harper Perennial.
Wordygurdyboomi: The irrepressible Sukumar Ray, father of Satyajit and author of those books of Bangla children’s verse your Cal friends grew up on, sails into English in the limpid translations of poet Sampurna Chattarji. One copy for the child in our lives, and one for the child in us. Puffin / PRH.
Kohinoor: A short history of India’s forever diamond, co-written by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand. Juggernaut.
History Project: Vivan Sundaram’s famous art installation that chronicled the transition of a colonised country into an independent nation-state, in book form, and includes essays from high culture’s who’s-who, from Homi Bhabha to Geeta Kapur. Bonus: it also reproduces Sundaram’s notebook and correspondence. Tulika Delhi.
These Circuses That Sweep Through The Landscape: Dhaka-dweller and environmental researcher Tejaswini Apte-Rahm writes about the daily weirdnesses of ordinary lives with high-polish elegance. Aleph.
Nobody Killed Her: A blood-and-guts page-turner about a former Pakistani woman prime minister brutally murdered, coming out in the month of Benazir’s death anniversary: are we ready for this? Maybe we’re in safe hands with award-winning Pakistani short fiction writer Sabyn Javeri, who tells the story through Prime Minister “Rani Shah’s” assistant Nazo, who escapes a fatal car bombing only for suspicion to fall on her. Fourth Estate / Harper Collins India.
The Burden of Tolerance: In 2003, Pratap Bhanu Mehta wrote a slim but bone-deep serious book, The Burden Of Democracy, instantly beloved of serious readers everywhere. Now, India’s favourite intellectual follows up with a book about India’s least favourite constitutional value. Aleph.
Musicophilia: Tejaswini Niranjana, who’s won our heart with her essays about classical music, writes what will probably be the most interesting book yet about Hindustani music in early Bombay. Tulika Delhi.
This Wide Night: A novel by debutant Pakistani writer Sarvat Hasin is set in Karachi, stars four beautiful sisters, and might just be the subcontinent's Little Women. Hamish Hamilton / PRH.
The Radical Impulse: Those IPTA songs that haunt your activist dreams? You’ll find them again in Sumangala Damodaran’s new volume, which also includes a songbook with lyrics and musical scores of these radical songs from the old school. Tulika Delhi.
What Kind Of Creatures Are We?: This volume present a lifetime of lectures by Noam Chomsky, the most avidly read political theorist and commentator of our times. Tulika Delhi.
Image courtesy Tara Books, '8 Ways To Draw A Fish'.
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Correction: This list originally had Sauptik's release date as December.
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