This article seeks to explain the recent popularity of South Asian Anglophone literature (beginning in 1981 and peaking between 1998 and 2008) in light of the boom in Latin American literature of the 1960s. It argues that the phenomenon of regional literary “booms” shares features across both eras, and that a unified theory of booms is increasingly important to understanding the way contemporary literature circulates around the globe. Scholarship about both eras has tended to coalesce around three types of boom-driving agents: “creators,” “contexts,” and “curators.” Within that broader agreement, however, scholarship about the South Asian boom has tended to overemphasize the political symbolism of recent South Asian Anglophone literature and its global popularity, while under-emphasizing the political realities that create the conditions under which that literature became popular. This line of criticism has come at the expense of attention to literature’s other dimensions as a cultural object, as well as contextual explanations of popularity involving the role of governments, demographics, and market flows. The more diverse scholarship on the Latin American boom offers a corrective with insights for both the future of South Asian Anglophone literature and the field of World Literature.

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