Monday, January 21, 2008
I ran into Odette Mascarenhas firstname.lastname@example.org via cyberspace, thanks to a brief mention of one of her books in last week's column. Writes Odette: "I would definitely help in any way I can to encourage Goan writers to reach their goal. I know how difficult it can be." She is herself the author of two books. Besides the one mentioned last week, there's "Masci: The Man Behind The Legend" on the famed chef Miguel Arcanjo Mascarenhas. Rashmi Uday Singh wrote about the latter in businesstravellerindia.com: "It's fascinating how a Goan kitchen boy whose job was plucking 200 chickens a day rose to become world's celebrated chef who catered to the kings and queens and viceroys of the world. Not only does his story come alive, you can actually recreate his food and have a taste of this legend too." But Odette Mascarenhas, from her experience with two books, has another less glamorous story to narrate. The first major hurdle in her work was finding the right publisher. Says she: "We have been running helter skelter to all the big names for over three years. Tata Press, Wilco, Rupa, Penguin, Jaico. While they all liked the idea, the question was: is it a viable investment. Very few Goans are known in this field." After publishing the book on their own, getting the book stocked and distributed -- even in Goa itself -- proved another challenge. Says she: "Moreover... though space is expensive, it would be nice, if they (book outlets in Goa) could keep a small 'Goan corner' for writers to promote their skills (in local bookstores). After all if a fellow Goan will not help another, who will? Its happening for art, with exhibitions to promote local artists, but writing has taken a back seat." She adds: "The idea of having a read-out session (to promote Goa-based books) seems brilliant. They do it abroad. Maybe some shop could buy the idea?"