Introduction: The Reception of Indian Writing in English (IWE) in the Global Literary Market

  • Om Prakash Dwivedi
  • Lisa Lau


Speaking at the 2014 Jaipur literary festival, British novelist Martin Amis made a sweeping comment on the meteoric success of Indian writing in English (IWE): ‘[T]he English novel was parochial in the 80s. Indian writers have given us the colour. We badly needed it.’2 Amis’s claim puts a questionmark on the whole issue of the UK’s reception of IWE as, according to him, IWE was given a warm welcome because of its ability to provide what Graham Huggan has termed ‘exotic’ features and what Francesca Orsini discusses as ‘fantastical’ writings, rather than necessarily being welcomed for its literary merit. Anis Shivani also makes a similar accusation against IWE as it is disseminated in the USA when he says that ‘American conglomerate publishing interests seem to be finding a ready supply of Indian novels in English that enact the commodification of exoticized Orientalism in global capitalist exchange’.3 The same can be applied to contemporary IWE, marketed and circulated throughout the world today. Lisa Lau rightly links this commodification of IWE, catering to Western readers, to the adoption of re-Orientalist4 strategies. The situation in terms of the Western reception of IWE has reached such a state that Tabish Khair even argues that ‘the best thing that can happen to Indian writing in English today is if it runs out of well-meaning British patronage’.5


Indian Culture Global Marketplace Woman Writer Global Literary Global Marketing 
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    Anis Shivani (2006) ‘Indo-Anglian fiction: The new Orientalism’, Race & Class, 47(4): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Lisa Lau (2009) ‘Re-Orientalism: The perpetration and development of Orientalism by Orientals’, Modern Asian Studies, 43(2): 571–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Tabish Khair (2011) ‘Foreword’, in Om Prakash Dwivedi (ed.), Literature of the Indian Diaspora, New Delhi: Pencraft International, p. vii.Google Scholar
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© Om Prakash Dwivedi and Lisa Lau 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Om Prakash Dwivedi
  • Lisa Lau

There are no affiliations available

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