"Writers, etc.": Shobhaa De in conversation with Chiki Sarkar
"Writers, etc." is a monthly literary platform jointly organised by the Book Office of the French Embassy in India and the Alliance Française in Delhi. "Writers, etc." is usually our platform for books, a space where the written word gets primacy, where literary ideas and their practitioners can genuinely interact with each other and the general public, coming together to ask pertinent questions and seek their answers: what role does books play in contemporary societies? How do practitioners see their responsibilities vis-à-vis the public and, turning that over, how do we see them? How has literature adapted to its place among the growing pantheon of varied and addictive forms of cultural transmission? The aim is also to encourage audiences to discover new texts, to explore new genres and styles, and to think, quite simply, about writers, etc.
Shobhaa De is one of India’s top best-selling authors. All her 17 books have topped the charts and created records and the 18th one with a provocative new title, the soon to-be-published “Sethji” is already creating waves in literary circles. De gave a new definition to the mass market best seller with her breakthrough, bold and highly individualistic style that spoke a new language. She is recognized as an important social commentator and an authority on popular culture. Outspoken and forthright, De chronicles today’s India in her own inimitable style.
Born in Maharashtra in 1948, she was educated in Delhi and Bombay. She graduated from St Xavier’s College, Bombay, with a degree in psychology and began a career in journalism in 1970. She is married with six children and lives in Bombay.
Recipient of several awards for her journalistic contributions, De writes prolifically for Indian and International publications. She runs four weekly columns in mainstream newspapers and magazines, including the Times of India, Bombay Times, Deccan Chronicle, Asian Age and The Week. Her books are best sellers in several regional languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi. Her books are in translation in Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Polish and Korean at present. Her first book in its French edition was published by Actes Sud in 2010.
Shobhaa De is the author of the following books: Socialite Evenings (1989), Starry Nights (the original title of Bollywood Nights 1989), Sisters (1992), Strange Obsession (1992), Uncertain Liaisons (1993), Sultry Days (1994), Shooting from the hip (1994), Small Betrayals (1995), Snapshots (1995), Second Thoughts (1996), Selective Memory (1998), Surviving Men (1998), and Speedpost (1999), Spouse : The truth about marriage, Superstar India – From Incredible to Unstoppable, Sandhya’s Secret (2009) and Shobha at Sixty (2010). She has also written the autobiographical Selective Memory: Stories from My Life.
Chiki Sarkar was just 29 when she became the head of the newly-formed Random House India in 2006. There, under her watch, the publishing house launched a bestseller in the form of Rujuta Diwekar’s diet bible Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, and the highly acclaimed Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka. Last year, she was appointed publisher of Penguin Books India, making her at 34, the head of the country’s largest English-language publishing house. Sarkar, has a degree from Oxford University and worked at Bloomsbury Publishing in London for seven years.
Thursday, August 9 at 6:30 p.m.
M.L. Bhartia Auditorium,
Alliance française de Delhi
72, Lodi Estate, New Delhi - 110003