Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sr. Jesme is off to the Frankfurt Book Fair

By Shevlin Sebastian

Sr. Jesme, the author of ‘Amen: The Autobiography of a nun’ is very excited. She is taking part in the Frankfurt Book Fair, which begins on October 14. It is the largest fair in the world, with participants from around 100 countries. Around 3 lakh visitors are expected to attend the five-day fair.

This is Sr. Jesme’s first international trip. “I want to convey the message that the entire Catholic church, especially in Kerala, has to be brought back to the spirit of the Bible and Jesus Christ.” She says that Pope Benedict XVI has been doing the same thing. “He has been apologising for the numerous sins committed by the religious, like the sexual abuse of boys,” she says.

At Frankfurt, during the ‘Meet India’ programme, Sr. Jesme will have reading sessions in English and Malayalam. “There are quite a few Malayalis living in Germany,” she says. Apart from that there will be print and television interviews.

Publisher Ravi Deecee of DC Books, who is taking her, says there is a strong possibility of selling the French and German rights of ‘Amen’. “Europeans know that India is a conservative place, so they will be keen to read the life story of a nun,” he says. “What has also provoked interest is that nuns as a group have always remained silent in India.”

He says he had earlier sold the rights in Europe for the ‘Autobiography of a sex worker’ by Nalini Jamila. “Somehow, personal histories do very well in Europe,” he says.

And it seems to be doing well in India. In Malayalam, the 10th reprint of ‘Amen’ has been published within eight months of its release. In English, 10,000 copies have been sold in two and a half months. “It will be released in Marathi soon,” says Sr. Jesme.

(The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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