Reports say Vikram Seth has been asked to return his advance after missing the deadline for A Suitable Girl.
Vikram SethPhoto: John Lawrence
By Matthew Blaiden
7:00AM BST 10 Jul 2013
Renowned Indian novelist and poet Vikram Seth has been asked to return an advance payment of $1.7 million (£1.1 million) to his publisher, according to reports.
Seth’s agent David Godwin is quoted in the Mumbai Mirror as suggesting that the award-winning writer is in negotiations to establish a new deadline by which to produce a manuscript for a sequel to his 1993 novel A Suitable Boy. “It would be unfair to say the deal has been called off,” Godwin was quoted as saying ahead of talks in London. “Vikram has been known to take his time with his books. Our aim is to settle this new date with Hamish [Hamilton].”
Seth’s publisher Hamish Hamilton is part of the publishing giant newly formed by the merger between Penguin and Random House earlier this month. Some reports suggest this action is a result of cost-cutting measures, in order to make up losses which have resulted from the advent of digital publishing and Amazon.
A spokesperson for Penguin Random House dismissed these allegations: “Penguin never comments on individual contract negotiations with out authors...It should be noted that these discussions precede the Penguin Random House merger, and are not at all connected to the merger or erroneous suggestions of cost cutting.”
A Suitable Boy, at 1,300 pages one of the longest single-volume novels in English, follows the life of Lata and her search for a husband against the backdrop of post-independence India. Its 20th anniversary was marked by a paperback reissue in May. The sequel, A Suitable Girl, initially expected later this year, was intended to place Lata in contemporary India, describing the many changes which have taken place in the country over recent decades.