The eighth edition of the five–day ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (ZJLF) is all set to kick off with a special curtain raiser in the city. Indian English author-academic and Sahitya Akademi Awardee Amit Chaudhuri will be discussing his latest novel Odysseus Abroad in a conversation with poet, novelist, journalist and DNA India’s editor-in-chief CP Surendran. Read more
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From an an interview with Amit Chaudhuri on Rabindranath Tagore by Prithvi Varatharajan in Asymptote
- Rabindranath Tagore was India’s most famous modern poet and is one of its greatest cultural icons. Born in 1861, Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1913, which brought him international fame.
- Tagore was very precocious and began to write early on. He produced a very interesting work by the time he was fifteen, pretending to be a poet from medieval times. And by the time he was seventeen or eighteen he was quite acknowledged within Bengal as a poet to watch, and was in fact singled out for praise by the first great Indian novelist in Bengal, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
- The painter William Rothenstein was actually a friend of the Tagore family and ran into Rabindranath in 1910. He was speaking to Abanindranath Tagore [Rabindranath’s nephew] when he noticed this person in the room who wasn’t saying very much, and he asked Abanindranath who this very quiet man was and found out it was Rabindranath, who had this high reputation as a poet. Tagore gave Rothenstein his translations of his own songs—translations that would comprise the Gitanjali—when he travelled to London in 1912.For whatever reason, Rothenstein was completely won over by Tagore’s poems, and introduced Tagore to people like Ezra Pound and W.B. Yeats.
- At Pound’s insistence Harriet Monroe published some of the poems in Poetry (Chicago). And there we see Tagore’s transition to international fame and celebrity.
- Tagore then received the Nobel Prize in 1913 and soon after that Pound and Yeats began to look at the poems and Tagore in a different way. Read more
The festival, sponsored by the Times and the Sunday Times, will be guest directed by crime writer Sophie Hannah; writer and academic, Amit Chaudhuri; human rights lawyer and director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti; and actor and comedian Omid Djallili. Read more
Award-winning Indian author-poet-musician Amit Chaudhuri, who approaches the city of his birth, Calcutta, with a reflective heart in his new book, said he would like Calcutta to respond to globalisation and take advantage of the changes and become more connected to the world as it used to be. He suggested a recreation of the city built around its past legacy.
“Look at your cultural legacy in a way that conveys departure instead of merely revering it. Read more
At the end of every session, the Q&A raised many a hand, and many a question. The audience’s interest in reading, literary discourses and questioning-the-guests was very interesting, not to say, surprising: The Daily Times
Ahmed Rashid, Amit Chaudhari and H M Naqvi made the panel of male writers on ‘the place of fiction in a non-fiction world’ where the discussion ranged from their personal experiences to many international names who have made the amalgamation of fiction and non-fiction an extravaganza of fun and knowledge. Michael Dwyer moderated the talk between the three very diverse writers who elaborated the challenges of keeping any writing interesting for the very discerning reader in a globalised arena of instant news, gratification and the ability to be bored very easily.