“Language is no barrier to writing a novel,” author Animesh Verma told the Indian Express newspaper in a 2010 interview, a statement that caused many novelists and book lovers to recoil in disbelief.
“Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes doesn’t matter that much,” he went on to say. “I am not writing a literature.”
Indeed, many of India’s young – and best-selling – authors are no longer aspiring to write Booker-worthy novels. Instead, they’re writing free-flowing narratives on the travails of daily life in second- or third-tier Indian cities that resonate with the millions that live in these oft-forgotten towns.
Many of these barely-edited books, written in a colloquial style and the mishmash of Hindi and English known as Hinglish, are quickly outpacing sales numbers of Booker winners, selling hundreds of thousands of copies in a country where the benchmark for achieving best-seller status, until now, was a meager 5,000 copies.