Beloved fiction writers turn to nonfiction, celebrities turn into memoirists and historians travel in time
(From L to R) Saif Ali Khan, Margaret Atwood and Ramachandra Guha
In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing | by Elena Ferrante | Europa Editions
In four essays, Elena Ferrante (the Italian author of the bestselling Neapolitan Novels whose true identity remains unknown) chronicles the origins of her literary powers. She writes about her influences, her struggles, and how she became both a reader and a writer. She discusses the work of authors such as Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, and many others, and how language can empower and marginalise.
Burning Questions | by Margaret Atwood | Chatto & Windus
A collection of 50 essays—funny, erudite, prescient—which seek answers to Burning Questions such as: Why do people everywhere, in all cultures, tell stories? How can we live on our planet? From debt to tech, the climate crisis to freedom, from when to dispense advice to the young (answer: rarely) to how to define granola—Atwood asks and answers crucial questions.
The Palace Papers | by Tina Brown | Century
Tina Brown takes readers behind the palace walls to tell the real story of the Windsor family over the last 20 years since Diana’s death. Full of revelations and exclusive access, it chronicles one of the most tumultuous periods in the recent history of the monarchy.
Liberalism and its Discontents | by Francis Fukuyama | Profile
Since its inception following the post-Reformation wars, liberalism has come under attack from both conservatives and progressives, and today is dismissed by many as an “obsolete doctrine”. Francis Fukuyama sets out the cases for and against its classical premises: observing the rule of law, independence of judges, means over ends, and most importantly, tolerance.
Doolally Sahib and the Black Zamindar: Racism and Revenge in the British Raj | by MJ Akbar | Bloomsbury
This is a chronological account of individual and collective relations between Indians and the last foreign invaders. Defeated on the battlefield, Indians found innovative and amusing ways of expressing their resentment.
Rebels Against the Raj: Western Fighters for India’s Freedom | Ramachandra Guha | Knopf
The little-known story of seven foreigners to India who, from the late 19th century, arrived to join the freedom movement.
Untitled Memoir | by Saif Ali Khan | HarperCollins
In spite of his colourful and distinguished career, Saif Ali Khan remains a relatively private celebrity who prefers to let his films do all the talking. In this book he opens up about family, home, his successes and failures and, of course, films.
Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya | by Akshaya Mukul | Context
Sachidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan Agyeya is arguably the most meditative poet-writer of 20th-century India. A complex man and a literary giant, and deeply involved with the social politics of the time, he was both worshipped and reviled for his unconventional views and unorthodox personal life. This biography is as much an account of his life as it is a slantwise look at the history of a newly independent India itself.
How to Stand Up to A Dictator | by Maria Ressa | WH Allen
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2021, Maria Ressa has spent decades speaking truth to power. How to Stand Up to a Dictator maps a network of disinformation—a heinous web of cause and effect—that spans the globe: from Duterte’s drug wars, to America’s Capitol Hill, to Britain’s Brexit, to our own clicks and our own votes.
The Muslim Vanishes | by Saeed Naqvi | Vintage
A play by Saeed Naqvi attempts to answer a question about Hindustan, how will it change, what will it become?
The Living Mountain | by Amitav Ghosh | Fourth Estate
A fable for our times: a cautionary tale of how humans have systematically exploited nature, leading to an environmental collapse. It is a tale about Mahaparbat, the Living Mountain; the indigenous valley dwellers who live in its shelter; the assault on the mountain for commercial benefit and the disaster that unfolds.
Ambedkar: A Life | by Shashi Tharoor | Aleph
Shashi Tharoor—who is also the author of a biography of Jawaharlal Nehru—now turns his attention to BR Ambedkar. This biography seeks to set the record straight on the life and times of a much lauded yet often misunderstood leader.
An Untitled Memoir | by Mark Tully | Speaking Tiger
Mark Tully, writes about the more than five decades he has spent living and writing in India, his adopted country—and the many fascinating characters he has met in the course of those years, from powerful politicians like Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to the ordinary people he meets on his walks around Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi.
Empires of the Sea: A Maritime History of India | by Radhika Seshan | Pan Macmillan
This book covers trade routes, networks and empires built across the seas that brought the rest of the world to India’s shores. Spanning a vast swathe of history from the ancient Sangam era up to the colonial period, it presents a portrait of India as a nation of pluralities.
World Heritage Sites of India | by Sunita Kohli | Aleph
India has the sixth largest number of World Heritage Sites in the world. This colour pictorial book is a comprehensive account of this heritage.
Manifesto: On Never Giving Up | by Bernardine Evaristo | Grove Press
With her 2019 Booker Prize win, for Girl, Woman, Other Bernardine Evaristo became the first Black woman and first Black British person ever to win the prize in its 50-year history. Manifesto is an account of Evaristo’s life and career. She provides a powerful perspective to contemporary conversations around race, class, feminism, sexuality, and aging.
Citizen Gallery: How a Storefront Mid-wifed Modern Art in Bombay | by Jerry Pinto | Speaking Tiger
A unique biography of two unique individuals—Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, who ushered in and nurtured a new era in modern art in Bombay with the birth of Gallery Chemould back in 1963. Pinto’s anecdotal biography, illustrated with pictures from family albums, explains why Chemould is still the go-to place for artists and art lovers.
An Economist’s Quest for Reforms: The Vajpayee and Manmohan Years | by Arvind Panagariya | HarperCollins
Arvind Panagariya, economics professor and former vice-chairman of the NITI Aayog, looks back on the road to economic reforms adopted by the two former prime ministers, whose tenures marked India’s high-growth years.
Homi J Bhabha: A Renaissance Man Among Scientists | by Biman Nath | Paper Missile
This monograph brings to light the life and times of Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the architect of India’s nuclear energy programme. It encapsulates Bhabha’s vision for India and sheds light on his legacy.
Commissioner for Lost Causes | by Arun Shourie | Penguin Random House
Arun Shourie’s many skirmishes with rulers, judges, journalists; about his being ‘helicoptered’ into journalism, his dismissal, how he influenced the nature of journalism in the country.
The Life and Times of George Fernandes | by Rahul Ramagundam | Penguin Random House
The chronicle of a man who rose from the streets of Bombay, to the course of the Socialist Party in India from its inception in 1930s to its dissolution into the Janata Party in the 1970s.
Essays of U Ve Sa: The Man who Revived Ancient Tamil Literature | Translated from Tamil by Prabha Sridevan and Pradeep Chakravarthy | Paper Missile
Today, the ‘classical’ literature of Tamil Nadu, especially the Sangam poems, are well known. The credit for rediscovering them, collating the multiple editions from palm leaf manuscripts and publishing them into books in the late 19th and early 20th centuries goes to U.Ve. Sa. His essays and speeches open a window into the life and times of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This book, in translation, provides an insight into the mind of a scholar and a raconteur.
The Fifteen: The Lives and Times of the Women in India’s Constituent Assembly | by Angellica Aribam and Akash Satyawali | Hachette
A look at the making of the Indian Republic through profiles of the 15 women who were a part of the Constituent Assembly of India and active participants in the drafting of the Constitution.
The World | by Simon Sebag Montefiore | Hachette
This is the story of humanity from prehistory to the present day, examining power, literature, war, art, science and daily life, and features the lives of an eclectic cast of the unknown and the great.
Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1920 | by Antony Beevor | Hachette
From the author of Berlin and Stalingrad now comes the dramatic story of Russia’s revolution and civil war, from Antony Beevor.
Persians: The Age of the Great Kings | by Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones | Basic Books
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones uses original Achaemenid sources, including inscriptions, art, and recent archaeological discoveries in Iran, to create an authentic ‘Persian Version’ of this remarkable first great empire of antiquity—the Age of the Great Kings.
Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past | by Richard Cohen | Hachette
An exploration of who writes about the past and how the biases of certain storytellers—whether Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare or Simon Schama—continue to influence our ideas about history (and about who we are) today.
All the Living and the Dead: A Personal Investigation into the Death Trade | by Hayley Campbell | Bloomsbury
An exploration into the psychology of modern death told through the remarkable people who deal with it every day. Journalist Hayley Campbell looks for answers around the world, speaking to the people who work with the dead—from funeral directors and gravediggers, to executioners and cryogenic scientists.
The Making of a Catastrophe: The Disastrous Economic Fallout of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India | by Jayati Ghosh | Aleph
A close look at the trajectory of the disease and its devastating repercussions for the country.
The Bharat Trilogy (Book II) | by J Sai Deepak | Bloomsbury
Sequel to India that is Bharat, this book sets the relationship between coloniality, civilisation and contemporary constitutionalism, examining the period between 1919 and 1951, which covers constitutional milestones.
The Fragile Star: The Life and Death of Sushant Singh Rajput | by Kaveree Bamzai | Bloomsbury
Kaveree Bamzai delves deep into the Bollywood star’s life, covering his ascent from being a bankable TV star and Yash Raj Films’ poster boy to his descent as his films began flopping and he grappled with an unforgiving industry, and leading up to his death and its aftermath.
The Catch: Fishing for Ted Hughes | by Mark Wormald | Bloomsbury
Mark Wormald uses Ted Hughes’ collection of poems, River, and his fishing diaries as a guide to return to the places where Ted Hughes fished. A blend of memoir and biography, a meditation on poetry and nature, and a quiet reflection on what it means to be a father and a son.
What’s Left of the Jungle: A Conservation Story | by Nitin Sekar | Bloomsbury
What’s Left of the Jungle unravels the complex affection that rural Indians have for jungle wildlife. The book helps us understand why some of the tropics’ most crowded landscapes still host the world’s most stunning wildlife, and what we might need to do to keep it that way.
The Comrades and the Mullahs | by Stanly Johny and Ananth Krishnan | HarperCollins
An examination of what Beijing’s interests are and the drivers of its foreign policy, and specifically how its new Silk Road project, the Belt and Road Initiative, is shaping China-Afghan relations. It will delve deep into how Afghanistan has emerged as a key focal point on the corridor heading west from Xinjiang.
1946: Last War of Independence: Royal Indian Naval Mutiny | by Pramod Kapoor | Roli Books
Inspired by Subhas Chandra Bose and reports from the INA trials at Delhi’s Red Fort, the might of the British navy was challenged by a group of callow but idealistic young men. This is the story of a spontaneous uprising that was a collective act of courage and sacrifice.
Irrfan Khan: An Actor Nonpareil | by Shubhra Gupta | Pan Macmillan
A collection of new interviews with key people Irrfan Khan was close to, worked with, was influenced by—including Mira Nair, Vishal Bhardwaj, Shoojit Sircar, Tabu, Anurag Kashyap, among many others. Framed by commentary it will offer a complex portrait of Irrfan the actor and the man.
Inspired by India | by Phyllida Jay | Roli Books
An exploration of more than six centuries of trade, cultural exchange, and inspiration between India and the West. Through the lens of various material categories, including textiles, fashion, jewellery, and perfume, stories unfold surrounding the histories of objects and the complex networks of cultural exchange they represent.
Sisterhood Economy | by Shaili Chopra | Simon & Schuster
This book aims to understand the women’s economy—why is it that a country seeing considerable gains in female education, remarkable decreases in fertility rates is not seeing a greater participation from women in the workforce?
The Birth of a Nation | by Josy Joseph | Context
Josy Joseph and his team have collected tens of thousands of historic documents that will feed into a publishing project that examines how the Indian nation came to be.
Homeward | by Soibam Haripriya | Zubaan
This book brings together artists, poets and photographers to question presumptions of home, the idea of a homeland and, by extension, the nation. The contributors upend the idea of home as a unit of stability and familiarity. Focusing largely on the North-eastern region, this anthology illuminates how political climate as well as geographic sites transform homes.
The Many Faces of Balamuralikrishna | by Veejay Sai | Vintage
An authorised biography of a child prodigy and a rebel musician.
America Made Me a Black Man | by Boyah J Farah | Simon & Schuster
A memoir of American racism from a Somali-American who survived hardships in his birth country only to experience first-hand the dehumanisation of Black people in his adopted land, the US.