16 June, 2021

Here Hangs A Tale

The Harry Potter sensation shows up its flip side-few children read regional, Indian writers

Here Hangs A Tale

Are India’s top-selling children’s writers scurrying to their desks to outdo Harry Potter? Not exactly. In fact, many of them have not even read the children’s series that has taken the publishing world by storm. For these underpaid, unrecognised "Sunday writers", J.K. Rowling’s phenomenal success is a stroke of wizardry that is beyond their wildest dreams. "Harry Potter has put children’s fiction on the world’s literary map," says children’s writer Subhadra Sengupta. "Finally, we are being taken seriously."

It’s not as if children’s literature has never been serious business in India. Children’s books like Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol are part of its rich literature in regional languages. But gone are the days when a children’s writer like Sukumar’s son, the famous Satyajit Ray, could expect his latest story on detective Feluda to sell out faster than a Harry Potter, and that too without any pre-launch hype. Regional publishers say that the mushrooming of English-medium schools is...

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