India is "growing enormously" and increasing numbers of books are
being sold here, says international bestselling author Ken Follett
who is eyeing the country's 89 million English-speaking people,
much more than in England.
"I am here in India because books are growing. There are
apparently 89 million people in India for whom English is the
first language. It is more than the number in England. This
country is prospering and growing enormously," Follett, who is in
India on a visit, told IANS.
"We are selling more and more books here. I would like more Indian
readers and Indian friends. That is why I am here," the
71-year-old writer of books such as "Eye of the Needle" and "The
Key to Rebecca" added.
"Asia and India, the markets of the future," said Follett, who is
touring India to promote his new book, "The Fall of Giants", the
first of an epic historical and political series, the Century
Trilogy. The book has been published in India by the Panmacmillan.
Follett is working on the second part of the trilogy that will be
published in 2012.
The "Fall of Giants" is a chronicle of five families brought
together through the dramas of the first World War, the Russian
Revolution, struggle for voting rights for women and the horror of
British mines in the 20th century.
"After writing 'World Without An End' (a medieval historical
fiction), I wanted to write another book with that kind of sweep
and scope. I thought of the 20th century. It is the most violent
and dramatic century in the history of human race.
"We killed each other in an unprecedented rate in the 20th
century. And yet it is a century of high ideals and democracy and
freedom. There were groups within the society that demanded
equality. For example, women. So, there is a contrast between high
ideals and terrible slaughter," Follett said.
Follett, who has authored more than 30 books and is known for
action-packed narratives set in an expansive canvas, began his
career as a writer in the early 1970s and shot to fame in 1978
with "Eye of the Needle", a successful World War II drama.
The snow-haired portly writer is married to former Labour Party MP
Follett says readers across the world identify with his books. "It
sometimes surprises me, but my books are enjoyed by people who
have no experience at all of the kind of things I am writing
about. For example, I am very popular in Brazil. What did
Brazilians make of a story of a building of a cathedral (in the
book 'Pillars of the Earth') in the middle ages. But they loved
it," Follett said.
The writer attributes it to the universality of a powerful
"The basic elements of a good story are completely universal. If
you write about love, hatred, battle, revenge, growing up, getting
married and having children - and killing your enemies, people all
over the world understand it," Follett said.
Britain's mining history recur in Follett's novels. The writer
says it is a part of his family history.
"My grandfather Arthur Evans did exactly what Billy Williams does
in the opening scene of the 'Fall of Giants'. At 13, he started to
work in the coal mines," he said.
The novelist loves to write about World War II - and several books
use the war as a core to spin fictional tales.
"The Second World War was a battle of good and evil unlike the
cold war, which created tremendous international tension and for
decades we all thought we were living on the brink of a nuclear
holocaust and I think incidentally it also created the modern spy
novels. That tension is what the spy novels are all about - James
Bond stories and Len Deighton stories," he said.
The movelist, who was in the capital for a day Monday, divided his
time between interviews and signing books at an interactive event
organised by Om Books International before flying to Chennai.
Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)