I’ve been helping the good people at Tehelka put together their year-end special, an anthology of short fiction. The authors we commissioned were given no brief other than the word “excess” and the result is a varied and exciting collection of pieces about (among other things): a vampire flummoxed by the system of faith prevalent in India; a pacifist vegetarian dog in South Africa; a group of people setting off from various parts of the country in an attempt to escape excess; a surgeon who likes working on cancers of the mouth and also enjoys videos of anal sex and facials; a little boy playing a mushroom in a school play. The contributors are Altaf Tyrewala, Ambarish Satwik, Amruta Patil, Anjum Hasan, Kalpish Ratna (Kalpana Swaminathan + Ishrat Syed), Manjula Padmanabhan, Mridula Koshy, Rana Dasgupta, Rajorshi Chakraborti, Ruskin Bond, Sarnath Banerjee, Sudeep Chakravarti, Sunetra Gupta, Tishani Doshi and Vivek Narayanan.
The issue will be on the stands by the 26th or 27th of this month, so do look out for it. The redoubtable Nisha Susan, who has been anchoring the special and generally bullying me into doing things I’m very bad at (brainstorming, attending meetings, calling up and speaking with people), will also put up something about it on her blog soon.
[Earlier posts on some of the contributing authors and their work: Patil’s Kari, Chakraborti’s Or the Day Seizes You and an interview, Kalpish Ratna’s Nyagrodha, Swaminathan’s Ambrosia for Afters and Bougainvillea House, Padmanabhan’s Escape and an interview, Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled, Narayanan at Jaipur, Chakravarti’s Tin Fish.]
Update: just saw all the pages before they were released and the illustrations accompanying the stories are stunning; the Tehelka design team has done a fabulous job. I'm feeling excited about the special all over again - this thing could be a collector's issue just for the artwork.