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Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

Author Vikram Seth told to return $1.7M advance for "A Suitable Boy" sequel

Acclaimed Indian author and poet Vikram Seth has been asked to return the $1.7-million advance he was paid by his publisher to write the sequel to his best-selling 1993 classic "A Suitable Boy". 

The Mumbai Mirror quoted Seth's agent David Godwin as saying that negotiations had begun with publisher Hamish Hamilton over delays in producing the manuscript.

"It would be unfair to say the deal has been called off," Mr Godwin said. 

"Vikram has been known to take his time with his books. Our aim is to settle this new date with Hamish," he said ahead of talks in London.

"A Suitable Boy" is considered a contemporary classic. It follows the life of Lata and her hunt for a husband in post-independence India over more than 1,300 pages.

"A Suitable Girl", initially expected later this year, was intended to be a sequel that placed Lata in contemporary India and described the country's wrenching changes over the last decades.

Hamish Hamilton is part of the newly formed publishing giant created by the merger of Penguin and Random House publishing groups at the beginning of the month.

Some reports from India suggested that the company was demanding back the advance as part of a cost-cutting drive.

A spokesperson for Penguin Random House however told The Daily Telegraph: “Penguin never comments on individual contract negotiations with out authors...It should be noted that these discussions precede the Penguin Random House merger, and are not at all connected to the merger or erroneous suggestions of cost cutting.”

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