In September 2007 Permanent Black launched a new imprint, BLACK KITE, which will publish books aimed at those who read for pleasure. There will be intelligent, thought-provoking, unusual writing from writers known and unknown. We'll publish essays, translations, biography, memoir, and anything else that catches our fancy as long as the writing is superlative.
The first Black Kite book is a rambunctious romp through nineteenth-century Calcutta, a translation of Hootum Pyanchar Naksha (literally ‘Sketches by Hootum the Owl’), a set of satirical portraits so popular that it has never been out of print since its publication in 1862. This is its first ever translation.
The writing is so vivid that there is within these pages a sense of walking through a decadent Dickensian city as fishwives call out their wares, housewives hurry to the river for baths, thieves pick pockets, and carriages creak through slush and rotting banana peel carting passengers high on ganja.
THE OBSERVANT OWL: Hootum's Vignettes of Nineteenth-century Calcutta, by Kaliprasanna Sinha. Translated by Swarup Roy. Published in September 2007.
ISBN 81-7824-198-6/ paperback / Rs 295 / 216 pages, with sketches. (Distributed by Rupa & Co.)