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5 out of 6 books from Penguin are in the run for The Booker Prize 2022!

We have just been updated that we have 5 out of 6 books from Penguin have been shortlisted for The Booker Prize 2022! The winner will be announced at the Roundhouse in London on October 17, 2022. Stay tuned! 

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

Booker Prize 2022!
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts who cluster around him can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka. Ten years after his prizewinning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Karunatilaka is back with a rip-roaring epic, full of mordant wit and disturbing truths.



Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

The long-awaited new work from the author of FosterSmall Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.




Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Glory is an energy burst, an exhilarating joyride. It is the story of an uprising, told by a bold, vivid chorus of animal voices that helps us see our human world more clearly. It tells the story of a country seemingly trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it. History can be stopped in a moment. With the return of a long-lost daughter, a #freefairncredibleelection, a turning tide — even a single bullet.






Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’




The Trees by Percival Everett 

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of TelephonePercival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America’s pulse.

Writing the story of the man who saved 4000 lives

Bike Ambulance Dada, the authorised biography of Padma Shri awardee Karimul Hak, is the most inspiring and heart-warming biography you will read this year. Written by Biswajit Jha, it documents the extraordinary journey of a tea-garden worker who saved thousands of lives by starting a free bike-ambulance service from his village to the nearest hospital. The book is a must-read today as it will inspire us to do and be better in our lives.

In this interview, we talk to the author to understand his personal journey with the book and it’s story.


  • Where did you come across Karimul Hak’s story?

After I quit my job and came back from Delhi in 2013 to work for the people of my area in the northern parts of West Bengal. I first read about Karimul Hak in a local newspaper and came to know the amazing story of this tea garden worker who carried critically ill patients to the hospital on his motorbike – free of cost.


  • What inspired you to share this story with the world?

In 2015 when a friend of mine told me that she personally knew Karimul Hak, I felt an urge to meet this person. One day, I, along with my friend, went to meet Karimul Hak in his village much before he received the Padma Shri and much before he became a well-known figure. But I, at once, got hooked to this simple man who does such great work for the people. What amazed me is that despite being a tea garden labourer, he does such incredible work to help his fellow villagers without thinking much about his own family.

After that I started working with him to serve the poor. I made him the brand ambassador of my school which I started in 2017.

I felt people all over the world should know the story of Karimul Hak, who is living proof that you don’t have to be an extraordinary person to do extraordinary work. You can be ordinary and still do outstanding work for people. His life is an inspiration for all of us. When a tea garden labourer with a meagre monthly salary can undertake such a path-breaking journey, we all are capable of doing wonders.


  • Your own father was very particular about helping others. Can you share some incidents that stuck with you?

My father, from whom I got my first lesson to serve others unconditionally, was a primary school teacher and has always led a simple and honest life. From my childhood I saw my father helping others despite the fact that he was not a rich person.

front cover Bike Ambulance Dada
Bike Ambulance Dada||Biswajit Jha

So, the lesson about doing things for others and sacrificing your own comfort for someone less fortunate than you, I got from my father who, despite being not very well-off, did everything he could in his entire life for the betterment of society. He took on a frontal role in establishing three charitable schools in our village and also worked tirelessly to improve education in and around our village. It is due to his tireless effort that we got the first English medium school in our area. I did not have to go outside my own home to find inspiration to help others.

One incident that stuck with me the most, which I also shared in the book, is a story of a sanyasi. It was a sultry summer noon in the early nineties. Hungry and exhausted, an old sanyasi came to our doorstep. My father ushered him into the puja room. After my mother fed him, the sanyasi expressed his wish to rest inside the puja room. But the room did not have a ceiling fan as we couldn’t afford one in every room. Realizing the old man might not feel comfortable without a fan, my father got the ceiling fan uninstalled from his own room and fixed it inside the puja room so that the sanyasi could sleep well.

The second incident which I remember vividly is that every year there used to take place a fair in our village. Though thousands of people would come to the fair, in those days there was no facility for drinking water in and around the fair. People would suffer due to this. Seeing the sufferings of the people, my father started to carry water in big jars from our home to the fair and started distributing drinking water along with jaggery to the people for free. I was very small at that time but my brother and I also used to go with my father and distribute water to the people. After that he made it a routine of conducting this ‘water camp’ every year. This is another lesson I learnt from my father that whenever you see people suffering, you should come up with some sort of solutions in your capacity.


  • What was the book-writing experience for you? Particularly knowing you’ve always wanted to write?

I always wanted to write a book. But I did not know when that would actually happen. As I am a social entrepreneur and not a full-time author, writing a book was very challenging. Taking out time from my busy schedule was a challenge. After quitting journalism, I stopped writing for almost two years. That actually helped me. My urge for writing increased manifold during these two years.

When I had started working with Karimul Hak, I felt an urge to take this story to the people all over the world and inspire them. When you have such a mission to accomplish, no job in world seems a challenging. Rather, I enjoyed writing this story. I enjoyed knowing Karimul Hak more closely while researching for this book, talking to him and interacting with people of his close quarters. I was so engrossed with the struggles of his life that I cried several times while writing his story.


  • What was the biggest challenge in this project?

There were many challenges I faced while writing this book. The biggest challenge was to make Karimul sit and talk. Since he can’t sit for more than 10/15 minutes in a single place, listening to the stories of his life from him was a challenging task. Apart from that he does not remember many incidents of his life. He would keep on telling me only 5/6 stories of his life which were not enough to write a book. Getting information about Karimul’s childhood days was also a challenge. Apart from that I had to write within certain parameters while writing a biography or a real life story. But I wanted this book to be interesting to the readers also so that it does not become monotonous. So, writing a non-fiction in a fictional way was a challenge but I tried to keep that ‘tension’ alive throughout the book.


  • What made you switch professions, from a journalist to a social entrepreneur?

Like Karimul, I was also born and brought up in a humble family of a small village in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal. I struggled my way into becoming a national level journalist. I hardly got any support while I grew up. But I wanted that no one should face the same ordeal which I faced in my childhood.

With this thought in mind, me and my wife both quit our jobs and well-settled life in Delhi and came back to my roots in the northern parts of West Bengal which is considered to be the backward area of the state. After that we started serving the poor and helpless people. I basically wanted to be a part of the difficult but successful stories of many struggling men like Karimul.

Apart from many other social activities I am involved in right now, writing this book on this unsung hero is one of my ways of giving back to the society.


  • How satisfying has the change been and what changes have you experienced in yourself after this switch?

Initially, it was very challenging. To start everything all over again was very tough. I had many sleepless nights. But I kept on doing good for the others in my tough days. That, I think, helped me overcome my personal troubles. When I found that there were thousands of people who did not have basic things like food, clothes and shelter, my problems seemed much lesser compared to theirs.

While working for the others, I became a much better person. I found my true meaning of life. I felt happy within. And when you start to feel happy within, everything around you becomes beautiful. That’s why in my second book, which is a fiction and will be published after my debut book Bike Ambulance Dada, I wrote that the only way to get happiness is to serve others unconditionally.


Lessons on temporality from the last days of the Buddha

The one certainty in life, the one appointment which each of us will just have to face, is the one for which we do the least to prepare-death.

Preparing for Death explores the questions that have puzzled humanity from the very beginning as evinced by the rituals, texts and philosophies that surround death. From the lives and last days of the Buddha, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ramana Maharshi, Gandhiji, Vinoba; from our religious texts and teachings of great meditation masters; from santhara to sannyas , Arun Shourie explores all  these, for their  views on how to prepare oneself for the end.

Perhaps some of the most lucid and stark discussions as to the nature and inevitability of death exist in the teachings of the Buddha. With a lyrical look at the final discourses of the Buddha, Shourie offers guidelines on how to live so that one prepares oneself to face death with equanimity.


  1. Worldly troubles plague even the Perfect Ones

‘Ananda, I am now old,’ the Buddha says, ‘worn out, venerable, one who has traversed life’s path, I have reached the term of life, which is eighty . . .’ And pain is a constant blight: ‘It is only when the Tathagata withdraws his attention from outward signs, and by the cessation of certain feelings, enters into the signless concentration of mind, that his body knows comfort.


  1. Both in life, and in the preparation for death it is wise to withdraw the need for outside support, to removes one’s dependence on another’s existence and to find refuge within oneself

Therefore, Ananda, dwell with yourselves as your own island, with yourselves as your own refuge, with no other refuge; dwell with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge That is why, the Buddha counsels, it is well for a monk—and surely, for each of us—‘to review, from time to time, his own faults . . . another’s faults . . . his own attainments . . . another’s attainments’. And to dissolve by mindfulness the obsessions and ill-intentions that arise.


  1. A certain purity of thought and intention allows one to face death with equanimity.

And the Buddha draws a lesson from Devadatta’s fall, a lesson apt for the way we live our lives. Devadatta went to perdition, the Buddha says, because he had been overpowered by thoughts of gain and loss, of fame and obscurity, of honour and infamy; because he had been consumed by evil intentions and poisoned by evil friendship.


  1. Death invariably seems something that happens to other, so the first acceptance of the temporality of all things-including oneself

Ananda, have I not told you before: All those things that are dear and pleasant to us must suffer change, separation and alteration? So how could this be possible? Whatever is born, become, compounded, is liable to decay—that it should not decay is impossible.


  1. The idea of ‘preparing for death’ also encompasses an acceptance that there are no guarantees, no certainties as to when and where the final moment will occur. Thus our lives itself are ordered in a way that one is, by necessity-preparing for death.

As the Buddhist teachers say, even though we see death every other day, our general attitude is, ‘Yes, yes, I know I will die. But I won’t be dying this year, certainly not this week. In any case, not today.’ The Buddha placed great emphasis on reversing this complacence. He wanted us to always bear in mind: death is certain, but its manner, place, time are absolutely uncertain. He wanted us to internalize these facts, and order our lives accordingly.


  1. Death ultimately subsumes all possessions both material and immaterial.

Each of the ones now lying on the pyre or on those wretched rails had come empty-handed, each is going empty-handed. The assets they had acquired, the honours they had won, the services they had performed, the high positions they had held—none of these could save them, nor was any possession or honour accompanying them.


  1. Death is inescapable, even for the enlightened who have freed themselves from all material fetters, even for the Tathagata himself.

Even in the case of those Bhikkhus who are arahants, whose taints are destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, and are completely liberated through final knowledge: even for them this body is subject to breaking up, subject to being laid down.


  1. Preparing for death is in itself a discipline-as the Buddha’s address to his monks at Vesali before departing for his final pilgrimage suggests.

Ripe I am in years. My life-span’s determined.Now I go from you, having made myself my refuge. Monks, be untiring, mindful, disciplined,Guarding your minds with well-collected thought. He who, tireless, keeps to law and discipline, Leaving birth behind will put an end to woe.

Get to know your author – A factual glimpse into Bilal Siddiqi

Bilal Siddiqi, a shining star among the young authors has authored four novels. His fifth – The Phoenix – is an exciting new release, hot off the press and will transport you into a world of secret missions, uncertain loyalties and retribution.

Siddiqi is a fan of the world of espionage and thrillers. His novel The Bard of Blood has been adapted into a Netflix series.


Upon the release of his new book, we bring you some fascinating facts about the dazzling author who has brought us one nail-biter after another.


1. His first novel was called The Bard of Blood, which he wrote he was 19 years old. It was published when he was 20.


2. It wasn’t only James Bond, Robert Ludlum and Fredrick Forsyth that drew him to the genre of the spy thriller. His interest in studying the patterns of religious conflict and the roots of extremism drove him to write The Bard of Blood


3. He is an avid reader, and loves fiction.


4. Not only did Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi star in the Netflix adaptation of The Bard of Blood but he also co-authored The Kiss of Life with Siddiqi (bet you didn’t know this one!)


5. Siddiqi enjoyed reading Shakespeare in college.


6. The first and only advance copy that Penguin India gave Siddiqi was presented to him by Shah Rukh Khan.


7. Siddiqi is not bound by genre. He likes to write in different styles. The Bard of Blood was a spy thriller, The Kiss of Life a biography, The Stardust Affair a romantic thriller, and The Pheonix is a fast-paced thriller.


8. He considers author Hussain Zaidi his mentor. He started working with Zaidi after Zaidi had asked for 10 volunteers to help him with research for his novel Mumbai Avengers in 2014. Siddiqi was shortlisted.


Siddiqi says he started writing his novel but getting published was not his goal. He was writing for himself, so that years later, he would have something to look back upon as a piece of himself from the past. Well, he did get published. And the rest is history.


[The Phoenix is out now.  Get your copy today!]

An incredible history of Sanjeev Sanyal

Now that we know that Phoenicians probably sailed around the Cape of Good Hope 2000 years before Vasco da Gama, we’re here to find out more about the man who gave us that amazing fact and others like them! Get to know writer Sanjeev Sanyal a little better.

1) He was one of the first Indians to get a paragliding pilot license. He was part of the first batch of Indians in 1990 to earn a pilot’s license after undergoing training in Himachal Pradesh. Since there was no Indian certification body at that time, the license was given by the British Association of Paragliding Clubs.

An image of a person paragliding


2) He also has an Instructor grade certification for kayaking and canoeing from way back in 1991. He was one of the earliest certified instructors of the Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association.


Illustration of a boy rowing a boat


3) He is a martial arts black belt (Taekwondo) which he earned in 2008.


Illustration of a boy in a white Taekwondo attire with a black belt


4) He is currently researching a book on the contributions of armed Revolutionaries in India’s freedom struggle


Illustration of a man's silhouette addressing a gathering


5) He collects old maps of India, Indian cities and of the Indian Ocean.


An illustration of the world map without borders


Sanjeev Sanyal has given us a fascinating maritime history of the Indian Ocean, with the most beautiful illustrations.

Front cover of The Incredible History of the Indian Ocean
The Incredible History of the Indian Ocean || Sanjeev Sanyal

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Author of Smoke and Ashes

Abir Mukherjee is the author of the bestselling crime fiction novels A Rising Man and A Necessary Evil. He is the child of Indian immigrants from Calcutta and grew up in West Scotland. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he currently works in finance in London.
He is back with another enthralling crime fiction called Smoke and Ashes.
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about him.

In Smoke and Ashes, Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force. For more pieces like this one, follow us on Facebook!

7 Things You Should Know About Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb spent twenty-one years as a risk taker before becoming a researcher in philosophical, mathematical, and (mostly) practical problems with probability. His books, part of a multi-volume collection called Incerto, have been published in thirty-six languages. Taleb has authored more than fifty scholarly papers as backup to Incerto, ranging from international affairs and risk management to statistical physics. Having been described as “a rare mix of courage and erudition,” he is widely recognised as the foremost thinker on probability and uncertainty.
In his most provocative and practical book yet, Skin in the Game, Taleb redefines what it means to understand the world, succeed in a profession, contribute to a fair and just society, detect nonsense, and influence others.








Things you didn’t know about Ranjit Hoskote

Ranjit Hoskote, one of the best contemporary poets popular for his use of finely wrought, luminous and sensuous metaphors is also an art theorist, independent curator and was previously an assistant editor with The Hindu. He has been an independent writer and curator for 11 years. He has published five collections of poetry. His latest collection, Jonahwhale, is a set of brilliant annotations on the giant landmass of history, captured in three movements.
Here are 6 things you didn’t know about the poet.

Aren’t these fascinating?

6 Things you didn’t know about Andaleeb Wajid

Andaleeb Wajid is a Bangalore based writer and has published fifteen novels, of which three are e-books. She is the author of My Brother’s Wedding, The Crunch Factor, More than Just Biryani, The Tamanna Trilogy, Asmara’s Summer and When She Went Away.
Her most recent book, Twenty-nine going on Thirty is about four friends who are brought together by family drama, boy trouble, and of course, their fast approaching thirtieth birthdays.
Listed below are five things you didn’t know about Andaleeb Wajid.


Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Taslima Nasrin

Taslima Nasrin is an award-winning novelist, poet, celebrated memoirist, columnist, physician, secular humanist and human rights defender. She has written 44 books out of which some have been translated into thirty different languages. Taslima Nasrin’s works have won her the prestigious Ananda Puraskar in 1992 and 2000. Her new, bold and evocative book, Split: A Life, opens a window to the experiences and works of one of the bravest writers of our times.
Here are ten facts you didn’t know about her.

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