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SOAS social theorist launches critically acclaimed debut novel in London

The price you pay pic

2 October 2013

Dr Somnath Batabyal, lecturer in media and development at SOAS, University of London, will launch his critically acclaimed debut novel in the UK this month.

The Price Your Pay follows the story of a journalist in Delhi, Abhishek Dutta, who is just another small-town boy looking for means to survive the big city when he wanders into the offices of The Express.

Crime reporting in Delhi, however, was never going to be simple. The young man must negotiate a troubled city, its side alleys and six-lane highways, the supermalls and shantytowns, and the cancerous nexus of police, politicians and the press.

The launch, organised by HarperCollins Publishers and SOAS Centre for Media and Film studies, will take place on 14 October at 7pm in the Khalili Auditorium at SOAS.

Annabelle Sreberny, Professor of Global Media and Communications at SOAS, will provide the introduction, which will be followed by a conversation between Dr Batabyal and Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English Literature at King’s College, University of London.

Notable historian and author of The Return of a King, William Dalrymple, said: “A terrific debut: wry and witty, pacy and addictive, and held together by riffs of pitch-perfect Delhi dialogue. Somnath Batabyal looks likely to do for Delhi what Raymond Chandler did for L.A.”

Shehan Karunatilaka: author of Chinaman: The legend of Pradip Mathew said: "The Price You Pay reveals how corruption, power games and ego clashes shape the way we respond to crime and how we report it. Somnath Batabyal gives us an evocative and thought-provoking tour through newsrooms, copsheds, TV stations and the underbelly of modern India. Part thriller, part social critique, it is an absorbing and compelling read.”

No booking is necessary.

Further reviews:

“Faster than a speeding bullet in India’s meanest megapolis” Sunday Guardian

“Batabyal has … done for Delhi what several writers have attempted with other great cities humanised and explored the angst-ridden inner city … with loving care and pitiless precision” Deccan Herald

“Masterfully constructed” Time Out, Mumbai

“A priceless success” The Telegraph

“Genius as a storyteller ensures the plot never slackens”The Sentinel

“You feel you’re walking with the reporters and police through Delhi’s underbelly, raiding the old town’s gambling dens, experiencing visa rackets in the diplomatic enclave, and you get all this through the confident voice of Batabyal … makes for an awesome read” Mint

"…there’s no harm in reminding readers and journalists that reporting news actually involves a lot of hard work. In The Price You Pay, Batabyal reminds us that journalism could be a noble passion and profession" Firstpost

"A racy thriller that keeps you engrossed to the last page" Spectrum