Writers, Publishers and Readers in Transitional Nepal by Michael Hutt

Michael Hutt (SOAS, London)

A discussion of Nepali literary production over the period c.2005-2010 that focuses on a number of texts that have provoked discussion in the Nepali public and media sphere. Provisionally, these will be: Narayan Wagle’s novel Palpasa Café, Shrawan Mukarung’s poem Bise Nagarchiko Bayan, Krishna Aviral’s novel Raktakunda  and Tara Rai’s memoir Chapamar Yuvatiko Dayari (this selection will inevitably evolve and probably broaden as the research progresses).  My account of the content, production, marketing and public reception of each of these texts will be set against the background of contemporaneous political and literary developments in Nepal.  In relation to Raktakund, I will also consider the many accounts of the Narayanhiti palace massacre that were still available from Kathmandu street stalls in September 2010 and attempt to relate them to theoretical discussions of rumour and conspiracy theories.  In my discussion of Chapamar Yuvatiko Dayari,  I will also refer to the many other ‘Maoist memoirs’ that have come onto the market over the last two years.  In my conclusion I will attempt to explain why it is that Wagle’s, Mukarung’s, Aviral’s and Rai’s works provoked so much comment and discussion, while much of the rest of the published work in these genres remained little discussed.  In so doing, I hope to shed some new light on the world of Nepali publishing and the relationship between writers, publishers and readers.

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Martin Chautari

Martin Chautari (MC) is a research and policy institute based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Begun as an informal discussion group in Kathmandu in 1991, MC now focuses on research and policy on democracy, media and education, with cross-cutting themes of gender and social inclusion. Along with the continuing discussion series, publications, open library and a rigorous mentoring program of young researchers are in-built into MC’s work. These all form an intrinsic part of MC’s primary objective: strengthening the social contract between state and citizens by expanding and making inclusive the public sphere with informed dialogue, analytically rigorous research and viable policy choices.

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