One knows one has a great Delhi novel in one’s hands if it says that the lines “If there’s an paradise on Earth, it is this”—attributed to the 13th century Indian sufi poet Amir Khusrau speaking of the glory of Kashmir—were actually spoken in praise of Delhi “because when did Khusrau go to Kashmir?” Anjum Hasan’s new novel History’s Angel speaks of the city’s history-soaked geography in the context of the turbulent present when everyday conversations take a communalist turn.

A new anthology of Indian authors writing in, and translating into, English, Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing creates a new sense of contemporariness on the Indian literary scene. This arrangement distinguishes the book from other anthologies of Indian literature which are for the most part organized around a linguistic binary: they are collections either of Indian writing in English or of Indian writing in regional languages English translation, while the project of anthologizing as a whole also seems to be restricted to English for it is difficult to recall any anthologies putting together regional literatures in a single volume.  

The annual Jaipur Literature Festival is styled as “the greatest literary show on Earth”. For first-timers, the upbeat experience is akin to that of being at the Oscars (had one been at the Oscars), starstruck readers up close and personal with a veritable who’s who of the Indian and Anglophone publishing industry. For readers who normally choose to be in the company of authors and books in the unmediated intimacy of quiet reading, the festival offers a chance for reflection: whether reading and re-reading a book suffices or whether there’s some final meaning that to be arrived at by listening to the writers talk about their books.