Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Out of Print Editors: Vandana Devi

We welcome Vandana Devi as an editor at Out of Print. She has interned with us for a couple of years, lending her clear instinct as a reader to our selection process. She is able to evaluate the value and strength of a short story, seeing through to the core of the narrative thread. Many times when I have wavered about a piece, her response has been the deciding factor.

A Master’s degree student in English Studies at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras she has a broad perspective and an approach to literature that is informed by her exposure to multiple disciplines. 

We are really pleased that she will continue to work with us on the editorial team.

Covers of the Out of Print editions that Vandana has worked on



Friday, July 12, 2019

Out of Print 34

Out of Print 34 has been released, and it’s a great issue – a translation, an excerpt, returning authors, authors new to Out of Print and one author publishing for the very first time. We are honoured!

Zui Kumar Reddy’s ‘Oranges’, an excerpt from her forthcoming novel, The Generation of Light, brings alight the passion that arises in a young woman, ‘a quadruple dose of imploding and exploding galaxies’, when she encounters the ‘sexy, terrifying, mystery thing’ of man whose being hints at a god-like magic from beyond.

Equally laden with hints of the unattainable is Ila Ananya’s ‘If I Remember Correctly’, which takes us into a strangely distanced, yet intimate relationship. They meet and talk every Friday. She does not know him, does not know if she can trust him, is displaced and in a new place where her instincts have been ‘swallowed whole’ and she struggles to know who she is. And he is one of the few with whom she can share this.

Swetha S publishes her first short story, ‘My Old Hometown’ with Out of Print. Gauri is taking Isha to meet her family in her hometown. The landscape is familiar, the traditional house unchanged, and Gauri is delighted to feel Isha’s presence in her childhood house, the only place she has not shared with her so far. Yet, Gauri is torn, will her parents be able to accept the fact that she has a girlfriend? Will she be able to cause them pain when a family crisis shakes the household?

Saumya Singh’s ‘New Paint’ is also set in an old house, one that has been demolished and is in the process of being reconstructed. A visit to the site throws up memories of a hidden family tragedy that impacts generations. Love between sisters, and between mother and daughter come into play as the family home and all it represents is transformed. Yet, these transformations into the new cannot overcome social barriers, and even she acknowledges  the initial spark of interest and attraction, the protagonist flees from them.

In this psychological thriller, ‘Smoke Rings’ by Neena Macheel that is set in an old crumbling mansion in Kochi, a woman’s instincts, obscured and suppressed by both illness and the cultural norms that govern her family life, sharpen when her son appears to be at threat. Her maternal protective instinct rises to fore, and the truth no longer seems the most important thing to adhere to.

 In ‘Electric Kettles Don’t Always Sing’, Barnali Ray Shukla takes the schisms of love, rationality and tenderness to a wholly other, wilder level. What happens when he, overcome by the romanticism of love, wants ‘the maple syrup [to] enter every pore of the crepe in an embrace that was sweet. But Seema insists on parathas’?’

Finally, we acknowledge the passing of an important writer from the subcontinent, Enver Sajjad, who died in Lahore on June 6 by publishing a story by him entitled ‘The Cow’. The story, like the famed eponymous film by Iranian director Dariush Mehjui, explores the intensity of the ‘near-mythical relationship’ the animal has with the human, as the story’s translator, Raza Naeem elaborates.

Nilima Sheikh’s exquisitely detailed ‘Departure’ brings depth and fragility to the issue.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Awards: Out of Print Author, Tanuj Solanki Awarded

Tanuj Solanki has been conferred with the Sahitya Akademi’s 2019 Yuva Puruskar. It is a matter of particular pleasure for us at Out of Print that it is his collection of short stories, Diwali in Muzaffarnagar that has earned him the prize.

We reached out to Tanuj to congratulate him on this achievement and ask him for a comment. 

‘I’m happy with the Sahitya Akademi award. The announcement has come at a time when I’m deep into writing my next book, a novel titled The Machine is Learning, and I must say that the award has led to some increase in motivation.’

Two of the stories in the award-winning collection were selected by Out of Print as finalists in the short story contest that was organised in collaboration with DNA. They were published on the Out of Print blog, as also in DNA.

-  The Sad Unknowability of Dilip Singh’ that author Rebecca Lloyd called ‘a perfectly strange and sad story with a great title’ made its mark in the debut competition in 2014. 

The 2015 list featured ‘Reasonable Limits’, a 2000 or so word, single sentence existential diatribe.

‘I’m grateful for the platform that the magazine has provided me over the last eight years. My first submission was in November 2011, the second in March 2012, the third in September 2012. It was only for a submission made in January 2013 that I got my first acceptance. When I look back at this – getting rejected the first few times, then the first acceptance, then getting accepted again – I think of how important each email from the OoP id turned out to be in my development as a writer.’

His first book, Neon Noon was published in 2016, also to great acclaim. 

In the acknowledgements Tanuj said, ‘The third chapter appeared in Out of Print magazine, perhaps the best space for short stories in India.’

Out of Print is delighted, of course, at his success, and also at his kind words.

Tanuj is currently busy with his new novel. 

‘Right now, the novel consumes me. It is a form that lures, for it does not mandate precision as a short story does. But it is also a form that punishes, for the variables one has to handle are far greater in number. Sometimes, I wish there was an Out of Print for WIP novels.’

Links to Tanuj’s stories on Out of Print:

Sentatoms begins on a bus and maps a journey, this time in the high mountains. A memoir, a travelogue, an exploration of creativity, a love story, a story of self. ‘For writers, writing is dreaming. For dreamers, dreaming is writing.’

The Same Story through the Theoretical Framework of a Grand Kaleidoscope is a structured series of interwoven examinations – parents, sibling and lover are viewed from the focal point of a young man.

The Same Experiment, AgainIn the writing mode characteristic of this work, Tanuj studies the trajectory of a writer’s life-story. Love – love for a woman whose life has diverged from his onto a different mountain path is the narrative thread that frames this work.