By Frederick Noronha
Selma Carvalho spent part of her Goa holiday trying to finish a book dealing with stories of Goan migration. The UK-based mother of a three-year-old believes her work has inputs that could help Goans better understand their own complex reality.
Carvalho is one of a growing trend of writers bringing Goa-centric work to the fore. An increasing number of books on Goa is getting into print, here and elsewhere. Goa, the size of an average Indian district, has an amazing set of numbers on its side. Outside of the metros, it is probably the most intensely published region nationwide, given its size.
Fernandes, a soft-spoken man with a reputation for his quiet efficiency, sits at the helm of the oldest public library in South Asia. The Central Library was set up as the Publica Livraria in 1832, but has been overtaken by the metros across India. Formerly with the Goa Engineering College, Fernandes believes that good writers can help sell books in a world where a market exists and technology has made things simple — you can layout a book on your desktop computer at home.
The trickle is turning into a flood. Old-timers remember the situation in the 1980s, when there would be just a handful of Goa-related books visible at exhibitions and sales. Today, there are literally dozens, if not a few hundred books on Goa in print. That is, if you know where to find them.
Miramar-based Menezes, who can be often found in the mornings working hard at writing from his office near Panjim’s municipal garden, sees Goa as a “potentially large and lucrative market”. He points to the tourist purchases of local books. Besides, “Goa is on top of the national food-chain in terms of interest and visibility.”
GoaWriters meeting underway. Photo: from left, Rahul Shrivastav, Willy Goes, Victor Rangel-Ribeiro, Jose Lourence and Vivek Menezes. More GoaWriters below, from left, Xavier Cota, Cecil Pinto, Alito Sequeira, Damodar Mouzo, Jose Lourenco and Augusto Pinto. Women members are absent from photos for some reason!
Menezes argues: “You have all the ingredients in place for huge growth; but we’re told that Goa is too small and cannot sustain! We have a huge captive audience. In the last two to three years, due to the presence of (top national writers like) Amitav Ghosh (who have homes in Goa), the writing community is also getting built up.” Continue reading