How English Became a South Asian Literary Language

Liesl Schwabe at Literary Hub:

In 1958, the young Indian poet Purushottama (P.) Lal was living in Calcutta, writing in English, and looking for a publisher. Unable to find one, he gathered a small group of college friends who were also convinced that English was a legitimate Indian language for creative writing, including Anita Desai, and started an independent press, known still as Writers Workshop. During what became their legendary Sunday morning adda—a Bengali word often translated as a “chat,” but that actually invokes a much more spirited and sustained way of life—Lal, Desai, and others swapped feedback, wrote prefaces for what became one another’s first books, and adopted a “constitution,” outlining their mission to “define” and “sustain” the role of Indian writing in English.

That Sunday morning adda continued every week for forty years. The press, which now almost exclusively focuses on poetry, is currently in its sixth decade, having published more than 2,500 titles, including early work by luminaries such as Vikram Seth, Agha Shahid Ali, Asif Currimbhoy, Meena Alexander, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, among others who would become globally celebrated.

More here.