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25 most-anticipated Indian book titles of 2023

From several first-ever English translations to the anthology of stories on friendship and short stories on maladies, here’s a list of an eclectic blend of the most-anticipated titles of 2023.

December 29, 2022 / 04:59 PM IST
Representational image. (Photo: Tom Hermans via Unsplash)

Representational image. (Photo: Tom Hermans via Unsplash)


1. The Divine Sword (Pan Macmillan) by Rita Chowdhury, translated from the Assamese by Reeta Borbora

Chowdhury’s Sahitya Akademi Award-winning novel Deo Langkhui, which “uses strands from Assamese history to weave a spellbinding tapestry of love, friendship, betrayal, and loyalty,” in English translation for the first time.

2. Assassin (HarperCollins Publishers) by KR Meera, translated from Malayalam by J Devika

Acclaimed translator and feminist J Devika’s translation of award-winning author KR Meera’s Assassin will render a literary thriller that “explores questions of identity, gender and power, and reflects on the fate of Mahatma Gandhi’s legacy in post-independence India.”

3. The Nemesis (Eka, an imprint of Westland) by Manoranjan Byapari, translated from Bengali by V Ramaswamy

In this second part of the Chandal Jibon trilogy, Byapari gives us a glimpse of the 1960s and ’70s Bengal when “liberation grew louder in East Pakistan and refugees came pouring into India.” It’s yet another portrait of a youth who’s denied, marginalised.

4. Ether Sena (Eka, an imprint of Westland) by Sirsho Bandopadhyay, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha

Journalist and author Sirsho Bandopadhyay, who died in 2021, tells the “true story of a handful of broadcasters in the port city of Chittagong” who joined the liberation war with a radio transmitter only.

5. The Dark Hours of the Night (Simon & Schuster) by Salma, translated from Tamil by GJV Prasad

Salma’s works have explored the stories of women in a male-dominated world. And because she’s such an earnest reader of society she’s able to present such narratives with utmost honesty. In this English translation by GJV Prasad, readers will get to witness a “heartbreaking account of the lives of Muslim women in rural Tamil Nadu.”


6. Shark Tank India: A Guide to Launching Your Start-Up (Juggernaut) with Prerna Lidhoo

The ultimate guide entrepreneurs and start-up founders have been waiting for. In this book, they’ll hear it from the Sharks’ mouths.

7. Coffee King: The Swift Rise and Sudden Death of Café Coffee Day Founder VG Siddhartha (Pan Macmillan) by Rukmini Rao and Prosenjit Datta

Co-authors Rukmini Rao, a Karnataka-based financial journalist, and Prosenjit Datta, a Delhi-based veteran business journalist and Moneycontrol columnist, will share a definitive biography of the CCD founder.

8. The Life and Death of a Coffee Baron: The VG Siddhartha Story (Bloomsbury) by Kingshuk Nag

Award-winning journalist and editor, Kingshuk Nag reconstructs the rise of the coffee baron and what led to his downfall and demise in this volume.

Given that two books on the CCD founder will be released in 2023 — three years after the businessman killed himself, it’d be interesting to note the similarities and differences between them.

Non-normative narratives

9. Homeless: Growing Up Lesbian and Dyslexic in India (Yoda Press) by K Vaishali

A memoir of dyslexia, loneliness, homosexuality, caste, and gender, Homeless will be eagerly awaited by young queer people.

10. Yaari: An Anthology on Friendship by Women and Queer Folx (Yoda Press), edited by Shilpa Phadke and Nithila Kanagasabai

This anthology will celebrate an “oft-ignored but vital relationship”: friendship.

11. Entering the Maze: Queer Fiction of Krishnagopal Mallick (Niyogi Books), translated by Niladri R Chatterjee

This volume shall serve as a much-needed work that explores the urban (in a specific location, Bengal) and the queer and in doing so bridges the gap between ‘local’ and ‘global’.


12. A Lucky Man: The Memoirs of a Radio-wala (Speaking Tiger) by Mark Tully

In this long-awaited memoir, Tully documents his encounters with the towering and influential political figures of South Asia, including Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Zia and Mujibur Rehman to name a few.

13. City on Fire: A Boyhood in Aligarh (HarperCollins Publishers) by Zeyad Masroor Khan

A South Asia Speaks fellow, Zeyad Masroor Khan has been writing on culture and politics for several platforms. For the first time, he documents a book-length account of “the trauma of having to move on from injustice and tragedy” time and again.

14. The Book Beautiful: A Memoir of Collecting Rare and Fine Books (Hachette) by Pradeep Sebastian

In this unique memoir, the author narrates his journey of chancing upon fine press books and documents the “camaraderie between fellow collectors and dealers, bibliographic connoisseurship, the thrill of the chase, and the joy of striking a juicy bargain.”

15. Water in a Broken Pot: A Memoir (Penguin) by Yogesh Maitreya

Founder-publisher of Panther’s Paw Publication, Yogesh is a writer, poet, and translator. While he has produced and published several anti-caste works, his memoir will explore the pain, loneliness, and alienation he experienced because of his Dalit identity.


16. Origami Ai (Context, an imprint of Westland) by Manjiri Indurkar

After her searingly honest and gut-wrenching memoir, It’s All in Your Head, M, Manjiri Indurkar turns to poetry. Her latest is a collection of “tender, intimate and often nostalgic poems.”


17. History’s Angel (Bloomsbury) by Anjum Hasan

Author of critically acclaimed novels, Anjum Hasan is back with a novel set in contemporary Delhi and examines the rise of anti-Muslim sentiments.

18. Meru (Hachette) by SB Divya

In yet another sci-fi novel the first-ever South Asian finalist for the Nebula Award explores the “future of human-alloy relations”.

19. Victory City (Penguin) by Salman Rushdie

The latest Salman Rushdie is an epic tale of Pampa Kampana, who “whispers the fantastical empire” Bisnaga into existence.

20. Medical Maladies: Stories of Disease and Cure from Indian Languages (Niyogi Books), edited and introduced by Haris Qadeer

This anthology, consisting of 19 short stories translated into English from an array of languages, is at the intersection of literature and medicine.

21. The Coincidence Plot (Simon & Schuster) by Anil Menon

Fiction editor at The Bombay Literary Magazine (TBLM) and writer of speculative short fiction, Anil Menon’s latest is set in “1930s Germany, 1970s Bombay, 1990s New York, and contemporary Bangalore.” Interestingly, author Raja Rao also features in the narrative.

22. Once Upon a Climate Change (HarperCollins Publishers) by Bijal Vachharajani

One waits for a writer like Bijal to sensitively weave in important issues facing our species. And in her latest, climate change “rewrites the human and fairy-tale world”.

Narrative non-fiction

23. The Broken Script: Delhi Under the East India Company and the Fall of the Mughal Dynasty, 1803-1857 (Speaking Tiger) by Swapna Liddle

Swapna Liddle is back with yet another book on Delhi, but it’s the change of the order that she documents in her latest in which “two regimes overlapped (Mughal rule declining, and the British East India Company gaining currency) and Delhi was at the cusp of modernity”.

24. Beyond Beliefs: The Untold Stories of India (Hachette) by KJ Arun

Beyond Belief unearths harrowing narratives from an “India that is hidden away from everyday life” — the world of “terrible poverty” forcing fathers to “sell their daughters” and how women continue to get exploited in the name of caste and religion.

25. An Unknown Indian (Juggernaut) by Neha Dixit

Journalist Neha Dixit’s “extraordinary work of reportage following the lives of one Muslim woman  in India as she moves from city to city, one job to the next.” This book will note how multiple facets of a woman’s identity make her doubly, triply marginalised.

Saurabh Sharma is a freelance journalist who writes on books and gender.