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Illustration by Simon Lamouret
Illustration by Simon Lamouret

2015: The fiction issue

New short stories by five of the most confident voices in Indian literature in English

Afortnight ago, when he visited Delhi for a few days, I had a conversation with the writer Ruskin Bond. He told me that he makes it a point to steer clear of all things “newsy" in his stories. It prevents them from getting dated, he believes. After all, he doesn’t want his new readers to be encumbered by their ignorance of things past.

We had a different request of the writers invited to contribute to this issue: a piece of fiction, but anchored in the real, a reality of the year which is about to end. Politically, this has been an emotional year for many living in this country. So it came as no surprise that the question of identity, dissent and the way we respond to them made their way into several of the stories. There are surprises though. You’ll see.

And as the best of literature does, these five short stories give us an insight into the human condition, and will even pass, in my belief, the Ruskin Bond test of time.

We thank Prajwal Parajuly, Parvati Sharma, Anjum Hasan, Kalpana Swaminathan and Ishrat Syed (who write together as Kalpish Ratna) and Janice Pariat for agreeing so readily to write new stories for this issue (pages 6-18). All of them have recently published new books, which have been well-received and which most of you will be familiar with. Save for Kalpish Ratna, who wrote a book of narrative non-fiction, the rest have been last occupied with writing novels. So, it’s exciting to see their return to the short-story form. Whether this has proved to be a relief or a challenge, only they can tell us.

We hope you will enjoy these short stories written by some of the most confident contemporary voices in Indian fiction, and brought alive so vividly by the artists Simon Lamouret, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Shyamal Banerjee and Jayachandran. Do give us your feedback at

Elizabeth Kuruvilla
Issue editor


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