Publishing industry is full of success stories of small but powerful entrants in the industry. One new kid on the block is SIM Publishing, which has recently announced a new short fiction award as well. Here, Hersh Bhardwaj, publisher, SIM Publishing, shares more about his new venture, in conversation with Varsha Verma. AABP: Tell us something about the inception and journey of SIM Publishing?

Hersh: Before starting SIM, I headed marketing for a US publisher and a Canadian/Chinese publishing house. I also did a small stint as a literary agent and sold an American author's novel to Speaking Tiger. That's when I realized that the Indian publishing needs a platform for voices of global value. Irrespective of previous publishing history, I wanted to bring forth the unheard voices and put them on a global stage. With my experience of international book markets, we are already in the process of selling both of our first two titles to European publishers. I also wanted to bring relevant never-published-before literature back to India. We are in process of acquiring rights of a renowned Serbian author.

AABP: Tell us something about James Hemingway Short Fiction Award-2017?

Hersh: The award is an expansion of our international thought. Not only it hopes to imbibe the values of 'global in local' by finding and publishing stories on Delhi theme to global stage, we also hope to revive the short fiction genre in India. Most publishers are scared of publishing short fiction, especially in English. We want to commit to publishing at least 30% of our publishing list to short fiction. As we are expecting entries both in Hindi and English, it is really a unique award.

AABP: What kind of entries have you received? Tell us something about their quality?

Hersh: We have received no less than 500 registered queries within two months of submission call. We have in excess of two hundred submitted stories so far. Overall quality is above average, and a lot of submissions are amazingly well written. I have read most submission personally, and both in Hindi and English the standard of submission on the theme is world class. It'll be extremely tough to pick the top twenty one nominations and use viagra then zero-in on a winner.

Hersh Bhardwaj, publisher, SIM PublishingAABP: When can the readers expect the book on these entries?

Hersh: We are committed to launch it no later than New Delhi World Book Fair in 2018. It'll be a hybrid book consisting of both Hindi and English stories included. We will also get the Hindi stories translated, as we will pitch this book to global audience.

AABP: Where do you find your company five years from now?

Hersh: Five years down the line, I want to be surrounded with books that I am proud of. It's really difficult to reject a manuscript, especially in the early days when you need content but we want to stick to our vision of producing international quality books of global value. I want to have a list of great literature from around the world under our brand, and a list of our books with translations in multiple foreign languages.

AABP: What are the major trends you foresee in the industry?

Hersh: Audiobooks need to do better. I also predict a Kindle revival, or any equivalent form of digital reading. With Amazon aggressively spreading their publishing footprints in India, I hope to see more vernacular and regional literature coming out. Thankfully, Hindi is doing well. Publishing technology will see many innovative startups in coming months. The incompetent must give way for the innovative and proficient. Let the written word soar.

The American Library Association (ALA) has recently announced the top books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston. John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña, is the 2016 Newbery Medal winner. The book is illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by G P Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: The War that Saved My Life, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC; Roller Girl, written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC; and Echo, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is the 2016 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Lindsay Mattick and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS; Waiting, illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes, published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and cheap viagra order online published by Candlewick Press; and Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Peña and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Gone Crazy in Alabama, written by Rita Williams- Garcia, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Three King Author Honor Books were selected: All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, and X: A Novel, by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon and published by Candlewick Press.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Troy Andrews and Bill Taylor and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Two King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. and Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Peña and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group USA.

Coretta Scott King/ John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:

Hoodoo, written by Ronald L. Smith, is the Steptoe author award winner. The book is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the Steptoe illustrator award winner. The book is written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press.

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:

Jerry Pinkney is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and international shipping order viagra magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton. Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations detail a world that resonates with readers long after the pages of a book have been turned. His five decades of work offer compelling artistic insights into the legacy of African American storytelling and experience. Beyond Pinkney’s technical brilliance, his support of differentiated learning through art and of young illustrators sets him apart as both artist and educator. His powerful illustrations have redefined the scope of the sophisticated picture book and its use with multiple levels of learners.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

Bone Gap, written by Laura Ruby, is the 2016 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Two Printz Honor Books also were named: Out of Darkness, by Ashley Hope Pérez and published by Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, and The Ghosts of Heaven, by Marcus Sedgwick and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Richard FlanaganThe wait is finally over…Richard Flanagan wins the Man Booker Prize 2014 for the fiction 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North', published by Chatto & Windus. Tasmanian-born author – Richard Flangan - is the third Australian to win the coveted 2014 Man Booker Prize which, for the first time in its 46-year history, is now expanded to include entries from writers of all nationalities, writing originally in English and published in the UK. He joins an impressive literary canon of former winners including fellow Australians Thomas Kenneally (Schindler’s Ark, 1982) and Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda, 1988 and The True History of the Kelly Gang, 2001).

The award-winning book…

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is the sixth novel from Richard Flanagan, who is considered by many to be one of Australia’s finest novelists. It centres upon the experiences of surgeon Dorrigo Evans in a Japanese POW camp on the now infamous Thailand-Burma railway.

Named after a famous Japanese book by the haiku poet Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North is described by the 2014 judges as ‘a harrowing account of the cost of war to all who are caught up in it’. Questioning the meaning of heroism, the book explores what motivates acts of extreme cruelty and shows that perpetrators may be as much victims as those they abuse. Flanagan’s father, who died the day he finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.

The award…

Richard Flanagan was announced as the 2014 winner by AC Grayling, chair of judges, at an awards dinner at London’s Guildhall. Flanagan was presented with a trophy from HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and a £50,000 cheque from Emmanuel Roman, chief executive of Man Group. The investment management firm has sponsored the prize since 2002. In addition to his £50,000 prize and trophy, Flanagan also receives a designer bound edition of his book, and a further £2,500 for being shortlisted. The special designer bound edition of the book was created by Sue Doggett, a fellow of the UK’s principal bookbinding society, the Designer Bookbinders AC Grayling commented, “The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism.”

The winners of the Man Booker Prize was chosen from 154 entries, including nine called in by the judges.

SC Sethi, president, FPBAI was unanimously re-elected as the president of the federation.

The Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Associations in India (FPBAI) recently organised their 60th Annual General Meeting in New Delhi, where industry stalwarts were honoured, issues of concern discussed and new body formed. Excerpts. The Federation of Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Associations in India (FPBAI) enjoys the tradition of honouring its leading and distinguished members as token of appreciation for the commendable work done by them for the Indian book industry. “We have already been honouring the members who have to their credit an illuminating experience in the industry for over 50 years. Now, we have decided to honour such companies, whose standing as of today goes beyond 75 years,” told Sethi. As such, the Federation honoured the following stalwarts: Sunil Sachdev of Allied Publishers (P) Ltd, Himanshu Gupta of S. Chand & Co Ltd and Ranjan Kaul of Oxford University Press.

In addition to the above, the Federation also honoured the following members with lifetime award, who have tirelessly extended their cooperation and rendered outstanding services for the cause of industry. These included Vinod Vasishtha of Viva Books Pvt Ltd and Vijay Ahuja of Delhi Book Store. Special award was given to BD Arya of Aryas' Publishers & Distributors Ltd.

Prior to honouring the stalwart, SC Sethi welcomed all members and guests to the AGM. “I have been providing my humble services for the apex body of book trade in the capacities of honorary secretary and president, FPBAI, and have always tried during this span of time to provide the best of contribution that I could do for the members of the fraternity through the medium of Federation, at times at the cost of my own business. However change is the natural process of life and as such I would like to request the pushing and dashing members of trade especially the youngsters to come forward, identify and resolve the lurking challenges faced by the industry.”

He further said that in today‘s time compared to the bygone era, the challenges faced by the industry are not only multiple in numbers but serious and damaging too, which may even cause extinction to the book industry. “Say for example, the menace of online discount and proliferating e-readership. To counter such deadly challenges we do require an in-born leadership,” he added.

Events and seminars by FPBAI

Sethi also outlined the nine meetings of executive committee during the year. “Out of these nine meetings, two were held outside Delhi, viz at Srinagar and Lucknow to promote proximity and personal juxtaposition with the state associations and local members. In addition to the above a special meeting of the general body of Good Offices Committee (GOC) was also held at Federation House, New Delhi,” he shared.

Besides, a successful seminar was organised by FPBAI at Kathmandu (Nepal) on January 25, 2014 in collaboration with National Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association of Nepal (NBPAN). The topic of seminar was ‘Publishing & Piracy’ and the speakers who deliberated included SC Sethi, president, FPBAI; Basanta Thapa, president, NBPAN; Joseph Mathai; NN Sarkar; SK Ghai; Ameet Dutta and Navin Joshi. During FPBAI delegates’ stay at Kathmandu, certain participants of Nepal complained that they are not able to sell their books in India, whereas Indian books are largely sold in India and Nepal as well. SC Sethi advised them to come to India and promote their sale. He also assured them entire corporation and assistance in India for the promotion of their trade. Encouraged with the success of the seminar at foreign land, FPBAI is now planning to go to other SAARC countries.

Online redressal efforts by FPBAI

The online retail has of late become a nightmare for the book trade. The booksellers across the country are facing tough time in the age of online culture. Online retailers are selling books below cost price, besides engaging themselves in numerous other malpractices, as a result of which the book trade is threatened. Keeping this into consideration, the Federation sent representations to the office of Prime Minister of India, Ministry of Commerce & Trade, The Competition Commission of India, Finance Minister and Minister of HRD. The federation has sent a written request to all the members of Parliament to pursue their representation at their respective levels. In addition to the above, in the result of sustained efforts made by Federation, the media has taken-up this issue.

Other initiatives

The members of the Federation quite often face legal problems for which the Federation has engaged the services of a lawyer, Vaibhav Arora on retainership basis. While, the Federation’s newsletter is the mouth piece of all its activities. A new directory of all members is also on the cards to be compiled and distributed.

The longlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 was announced at the Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi by leading Indian writer Keki N Daruwalla, who is chairing the jury panel for the coveted prize. The longlist comprising ten books includes a good mix of established writers and debut novelists and spans authors from different backgrounds and geographies. It features authors originating from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, some of whom are now based in USA, UK and Canada. The function was well attended by publishers, authors and literary enthusiasts.

The DSC Prize is now in its fifth year and over the last five years it has successfully celebrated and rewarded the best talent writing about the South Asian region and presented it to a global audience. There were over 75 entries for the coveted US $50,000 prize this year.

The announcement was preceded by a vivid theatrical reading performance by the Tadpole Repertory, comprising seasoned theatre artists and voracious readers, Krittika Bhattacharjee and Momo Ghosh. The performance brought to life, excerpts from Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry, which had won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature last year.

The longlist...

The longlisted entries contending for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 are: Bilal Tanweer: The Scatter Here is Too Great (Vintage Books/Random House, India); Jaspreet Singh: Helium (Bloomsbury, India); Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland (Vintage Books/Random House, India); Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone (Bloomsbury, India); Khaled Hosseini: And the Mountains Echoed (Bloomsbury, India); Meena Kandasamy: The Gypsy Goddess (Fourth Estate/Harper Collins, India); Omar Shahid Hamid: The Prisoner (Pan Books/Pan Macmillan, India); Romesh Gunesekera: Noontide Toll (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, India); Rukmini Bhaya Nair: Mad Girl’s Love Song (Harper Collins, India); and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi: The Mirror of Beauty (Penguin Books, India).

The shortlist for the DSC Prize will be announced at The London School of Economics in London (November 27, 2014) while the winner will be subsequently declared at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2015.

Earlier winners...

The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature has previously been won by HM Naqvi for Home Boy, by Shehan Karunatilaka for Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew by Jeet Thayil for Narcopolis and by Cyrus Mistry for Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer.