Representing “The Other India” in Transnational Public Spaces
Marlon Ross in his chapter in The Construction of Authorship (1994: 231) claims that what differentiates a writer from an author is the latter’s ability to “transmute” and “transport” knowledge to a public space, thus “transversing” the distance between the self and the other. Such knowledge or experience is then rendered “knowable, shareable and answerable”. This article explores some of the ways in which the Indian non-fiction writer and journalist, Sonia Faleiro, is positioned as someone with a privileged knowledge about the lives of Indian marginalised subjects, and the ability to translate those experiences for a transnational middle-class audience. She is also tasked with having an ‘authentic’ personality that her readers can relate to, interact with, and in some ways hold to account. This article, with its focus on empirically understanding Indian middlebrow writing, showcases some of the characteristics of literary celebrity in the postmodern cultural sphere, its focus on affective citizenship, and purported significance to upholding the cosmopolitan values of plurality, social justice and democracy.
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