Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can writers be... sexy?

Well, they should, says author Karan Mahajan. Writing in a recent issue of Tehelka, he recounts how he almost posed naked "against the current plague of modesty". His "sexy" photographs appear in Canteen, the magazine behind the project to present writers as sex symbols.

Mahajan informs us that Canteen explained its goals to a newspaper as follows:

“Writers have lost their place as cultural heroes. But why can’t they at least try to compete with pop-culture stars on the same terms? Let’s promote novelists as sexy and fabulous! Insist that the PEN Award require a turn on the catwalk! Hold the National Book Awards on a sliver of sand populated by buxom models in horn-rimmed shades; let the champagne pop for the cameras, as Oxford tweed gets wet on Temptation Island!”

Does it make a difference what writers look like? Will you read a serious piece arguing for the eradication of dowry more intently if you know it has been written by a "hot author"?

Here is Annie Zaidi's anti-dowry piece in Open magazine:

And here is Annie Zaidi, writer, columnist, author, as photographed by M.S. Gopal for Tehelka (to accompany Karan Mahajan's piece):

Tell me, are you going to be giving Zaidi's writing a closer look now?
  • And if you're dying to see how Karan Mahajan has been captured in Canteen, visit the magazine's "Hot Authors" project.


  1. First news and now literature. Apparently the pen is not mightier than the camera lens!

  2. It doesn't have to matter how an author looks, but this project of 'Hot Authors' for a magazine is nevertheless brilliant and very interesting. I actually checked out all the 16 authors they photographed!


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