Hindi-English publishing collaborations to climb a notch higher in 2019


New Delhi, Jan 7 : Marking a new era of collaborations in Indian publishing, leading Indian publishing houses are all set to expand their bandwidth in 2019 by emerging as avenues of cross-language books – coupled with an increasing focus on translations.

“On 9 January 2019, the day preceding the World Hindi Day (10 January), we are launching our latest imprint, ‘Bahuvachan’, dedicated to our Hindi titles. Through this new imprint we are celebrating our state language, Hindi, which is also one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is our attempt to uphold the banner for the multilingual nation that India is. Bahuvachan endeavours to further consolidate our ethos of bringing fine publishing within reach,” Trisha De Niyogi of Niyogi Books, which has carved a niche in fine publishing, told IANS.

She said that there is a dearth of large format books in Hindi in India today and therefore Niyogi Books decided to bring forth the same international standards of their books in Hindi, through their new imprint.

“Niyogi Books would like to reach out to this discerning readership with the best quality books. Despite the price-sensitivity of this market, we believe that the readers appreciate good quality books, which is worth the price. And here we are, with our Hindi illustrated titles at an affordable price,” she said, adding that these books are available at their stall in the New Delhi World Book Fair 2019, and will soon find space in all leading booksellers across India.

Niyogi’s timely new venture comes at a time when Indian publishing is growing at a rapid pace. In fact it is now the second largest publishing market in the world. Publishing insiders have impressed that “there is nowhere to go but up” for Indian publishing.

However, Niyogi Books is not the only one experimenting with this rising trend. In a major announcement last year, Penguin Random House India acquired Hind Pocket Books, one of the oldest and most respected Hindi language publishers in the country.

The acquisition of Hind Pocket Books, Penguin said, will build further on its presence in local language publishing. Penguin had begun its Hindi publishing programme in India in 2005, and has built a significant catalogue of acclaimed titles over the years. Other leading English publishers have also begun bringing out books in Hindi.

How are the Hindi publishers treading at this crucial juncture?

Vani Prakashan, which has been drawing Hindi and its expansive literatures, ancient modern and contemporary, into global conversations and celebrating its poetic and polemical contours for 56 years, is all set to introduce an English imprint this month.

Having published several Sahitya Akademi winning authors, bestsellers, poetry, politics, and philosophy, books to change the way readers think, Vani’s extensive list of translations from Scandinavian languages, Nobel laureates, Magsaysay awardees and Jnanpith awardees has enabled the publishing house to widen its perspective beyond the traditional publishing models and metamorphose into a cultural hub.

“Early in 2019 we bring you Vani Book Company, an imprint committed to producing and publishing exceptional writing in English, the newest addition to the subcontinent’s linguistic geography. In addition to producing narratives that celebrate linguistically diverse public spheres, we commission exquisite translation of works from across India and beyond, and aim to create an alternative, liminal space for debate and dialogue in prose as well as in verse, across voices and vanis,” Aditi Maheshwari-Goyal, Managing Trustee of Vani Foundation, told IANS.

These expansions, publishing insiders say, highlight their commitment to expand in Indian languages but at the same time, they are a result of a careful evaluation of contemporary literary and reading trends in India.

(Saket Suman can be reached at [email protected])

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