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The literary biography of iconic Hindi writer Nirmal Verma, coming this September

Nirmal Verma was a pioneer of the Nai Kahani movement in Hindi Literature

Penguin Random House India announces the acquisition and publication of Here and Hereafter: Nirmal Verma’s Life in Literature by debut writer Vineet Gill. The book delves into the life of one of Hindi literature’s pioneers, Nirmal Verma, and opens a window into his writing style and his sensibilities. The book is scheduled to release in September from the Vintage imprint.

In this book, Gill looks at the scattered elements of Verma’s life as ingredients that went into the making of the writer. The places he lived in, the people he knew, and the books he read are all reflected, in Gill’s view, in Verma’s stories and novels. This is a work of intense analysis and considered excavation—a contemplation on Verma’s oeuvre and its place in world literature. Through this book, readers will get an insider’s look into the life of an eminent writer.

Commenting on the book, the author Vineet Gill, says, ‘It took me three years to finish writing this book, and most of that time was spent trying to find a form, an approach, suitable for my purposes. I didn’t want to write a conventional biography but still wanted to engage with aspects of Nirmal Verma’s life that shed some kind of light on his work.’

He also talked about the motivation behind writing this book, ‘I wanted to look at Nirmal Verma as a cosmopolitan writer who was not confined to Hindi or “Indian” tradition. I wanted to highlight his achievements as a reader, essayist, and critic. I wanted to view his work in relation to that of his forebears and contemporaries, and to the politics of his time. And finally, I wanted to create a personal record of sorts—about my own life as a reader and writer, and about how reading can lead to writing. I hope I have managed to bring together these disparate strands in my book.’

Elizabeth Kuruvilla, Executive Editor, Ebury Publishing and Vintage, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘In his book Here and Hereafter, Vineet Gill writes, “I am excited by this idea of reading as a form of biographical excavation.” This is precisely what makes this book unputdownable and one of a kind. What Vineet has done is read—and investigate—the clues to his life that Nirmal Verma has left behind in his works, giving us a truly unique perspective on a man who contributed tremendously to the world of words and ideas.’

Milee Ashwarya, Publisher, Ebury Publishing and Vintage, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘A writer’s work is inseparable from his life, experiences, and influences. In Here and Hereafter, Vineet Gill tries to unravel the making of Nirmal Verma as a writer through his novels, stories, essays, and critiques but also through the books he read and the social milieu he lived in. I am proud to publish this literary masterpiece, and I hope it finds readers across the world.’

About the author:

Vineet Gill is a writer and editor. His essays, often literary-critical in nature and occasionally personal, have appeared in various Indian and international publications. He has spent the better part of the previous decade trying to read and write and trying to build a life around those two interrelated pursuits. This is his first book.