One story, two books and an award.
Every year since 2005, Penguin India publishes an anthology called ‘First Proof – The Penguin Book of New Writing’. The book comprises fiction, non-fiction and poetry by first-time writers, established writers writing in a new genre and translations from Indian languages. This year’s book was published in November 2010 and this is how the cover looks.
Northshire, a book store in Vermont, USA, is one of the few surviving independent book stores in the US and it held a contest earlier this year called ‘2010 Shires Press Short Story Contest’. The winners of the contest were declared a couple of months ago and a book containing the award-winning story and nine short-listed ones was released on December 8 in Vermont. This is how this book’s cover looks.
The two books have one story in common – ‘Aaba and Other Mysteries’ written by me.
Now for the award part. ‘Aaba’ is not only in the Shires book but it also won the top prize in the contest.
‘Aaba and Other Mysteries’ features in the fiction section of ‘First Proof’ and is a thinly disguised memoir; the story is set in the seventies and early eighties and told from a boy’s perspective as he grew up in the textile mill area of Mumbai.
Here's a short review of 'First Proof' from The Times of India:
‘First Proof’ was out in November but for reasons beyond the control of Penguin India, it is taking its time reaching book stores around the country. The last I checked it hadn’t reached Landmark, Crossword and Strand in Mumbai. A dear friend of mine stumbled upon two copies at the Crossword store at Bangalore airport and picked them up for me. I ordered mine on www.flipkart.com last Monday and they delivered them in 48 hours flat. If you want to buy a copy of the ‘First Proof’ I recommend www.flipkart.com – it also offers a discount of Rs.47 on the printed price. Click here if you would like to buy one.
I would love to send soft copies of the story to whoever cares but honestly I would rather not. Apart from my story ‘First Proof’ has many others and they are all exceptional in their own ways. ‘First Proof’ costs Rs. 250 (Rs. 203 on flipkart). That’s cheaper than the price of weekend ticket at most multiplexes. And unlike a movie it will last much longer than 2 hours and can be enjoyed by more than one person or many times over by the same person until the book falls apart. Or the person, whatever comes first.
Those in the USA can buy the book online from the Northshire site by clicking here - It costs a little more over there - $9.95. I don’t know if that’s a bargain, reasonable or expensive; I don’t know the price of a multiplex ticket in that country.