Utpal Borpujari

October 18, 2008

Indian housemaid to have pride of place at Frankfurt Book Fair

By Utpal Borpujari

Baby Halder, the Gurgaon-based housemaid whose best-selling life story A Life Less Ordinary has been translated into several languages within and outside India, will have pride of place at  this year’s edition of the world’s largest book fair, the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Halder has been invited to the fair for an exclusive reading of her book, which recounts the harsh life she has led since childhood, on October 18, the German Book Office (GBO) here has confirmed.

The one-hour reading is being organised in collaboration with publishing house Zubaan, which brought out Halder’s book, and Draupadi Verlog of Heidelberg.

Born in West Bengal in the early 1970s, Halder was encouraged to write by her employer and retired professor Prabodh Kumar, who also helped her edit the book and translated it into Hindi from the original Bengali.

In fact, the fair this time will have a number of events focused on India’s publishing industry, Arindita Gogoi of GBO told Sakaal Times here. Coordinated by GBO, there will be a session on “India And Germany – Literary Relations Today And Tomorrow” on October 15, which will have the participation of publisher Mohan Nair, GBO Delhi office’s Akshay Pathak and authors Georg M Oswald and Kiran Nagarkar.

Another session on “Match Making Indian Printers” the next day would seek to bring Indian printers in contact with international clients to explore business opportunities, following up on the highly-successful BPO model in the IT sector.

A joint presentation on the same day by the GBO and CII’s publishing cell headed by Urvashi Butalia will focus on the Indian book market and provide a background to books and the market for books in India, as well as showcasing the planned activities of these two new organizations, Gogoi said. Apart from that, there will be readings by Jaishree Misra, author of Ancient Promises and Rani.

(An abridged version was published in Sakaal Times, www.sakaaltimes.com, 17-10-2008)

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