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Heading to JLF 2017? Writers and poets pick sessions you must attend

By Aruveetil Mariyam Alavi and Supriya Sharma

Five days of literature. The most read authors and poets. The most fascinating discussions. Indian literature’s mammoth mela, the Jaipur Literature Festival, is never short of excitement. The festival, which will run from January 19 to January 23 this year, creates a problem of plenty for its eager visitors: there is too much to do, too many authors to hear, too many discussions to attend.

So before you make your must-attend-at-JLF lists, take a look at what authors, poets and other participants are looking forward to the most this year.

Namita Gokhale is one of the forces that has kept the Jaipur Literature Festival running smoothly over the years. As a writer and publisher, who is also one of the founder directors of JLF, she has some fond memories of the festival over the years.

“So many memories, layered and imprinted in my mind and heart. The keynote addresses from some of the greatest Indian writers, including Mahasweta Devi, UR Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, Nayantara Sahgal and so many others. The years when it rained and poured and the festival just continued calmly despite the mud and sludge. Gloria Steinem drinking chai in a kulhad, listening in to the front lawn sessions. Margaret Atwood and her sparkling mind,” she remembers. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Nation’s diversity is under attack: Writer Nayantara Sahgal at Chandigarh litfest

Borrowing from Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s notion of the human race, noted writer Nayantara Sahgal said India was home to many cultures, races and lifestyle, hence producing a civilisation from where their writing comes. “It is this diversity that is under attack and not merely a group of writers,” said the irrepressible Sahgal, who returned the Sahitya Akademi award last year.

During a panel discussion on ‘Freedom and The Writer’ on the opening day of the Chandigarh Literature Festival 2016, at the Chandigarh Club, Sahgal, niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, said there was an attempt to make writers a monochrome of sorts.

The panel included novelistbplaywright and film critic Kiran Nagarkar; Mumbai Mirror editor Meenal Baghel and was moderated by Harper Collins chief editor VK Karthika.

Speaking against the mob rule against her clan, she cited an incident where students of Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, protested after two professors were reprimanded for staging play ‘Drapaudi’ that focuses on the plight of an Adivasi woman who suffers at the hand of the state and the army.

“This needs to stop happening in the name of ‘nationalism’,” lamented Sahgal, to which Karthika asked where was everyone when painter MF Hussain was forced to go into exile and if the community continued to be as ‘passive’ despite realising the implications. Read more

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India: The fifth edition of the Chandigarh Literature Festival begins on a serious note

City Beautiful is doused in the multi-hued colours of literature, courtesy the fifth edition of the Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF), which kick-started on Thursday. A galaxy of renowned authors, including critically acclaimed authors and proud recipients of Sahitya Akademi Award, Kiran Nagarkar and Nayantara Sahgal, have come calling to city, as part of the fest organised by Adab Foundation, to light up the embers of love for literature in the hearts of the not-so-voracious readers and to exchange meaningful ideas with the ones already hooked to their works.

The highlight of the inaugural day of CLF 2016 was the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in literature to one of postcolonial India’s most significant writers – Kiran Nagarkar. The celebrated author, whose work Cuckold soon found its place among one of India’s most beloved contemporary Indian novels, observed, “I am overjoyed after receiving the honour from Adab Foundation. The festival (CLF) has brought Chandigarh on the National literary map.”

The award ceremony was soon followed by a panel discussion on an intriguing subject—‘Freedom and the writer,’ which saw the participation of Karthika V.K., Kiran Nagarkar, Meenal Baghel and Nayantara Sahgal. Read more

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Kitaab and Joompe tie up to live stream from Hyderabad Literary Festival 2016

Kitaab Poster - Wed Live Stream - Design #2 (Rv4)
Singapore-based literary startup Kitaab has tied up with Joompe, an innovative Singapore startup, to live stream interactions with writers attending the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) in Hyderabad, India, to be held on 7-10 January 2016.

Kitaab is the official media partner of HLF, and Kitaab’s founder Zafar Anjum has been invited to speak at the festival.

Joompe is an easy-to-use mobile LIVEstream V-commerce app that is shareable across social media platforms. The community broadcasts their events LIVE on the app, on Joompe.TV or embedded on site.

Last year 12,000 visitors are reported to have attended HLF and more are expected this year. The guest nation this year is Singapore; six writers and five artists from Singapore have been invited for HLF. In all there will be 120 writers and artistes for HLF, 2016. Some of the writers’ and poets’ names are Nayantara Sahgal, Tabish Khair, Christine C Fair, Meena Alexander, Rochelle Potkar, Kazim Ali and Zafar Anjum.

HLF 2016-Logo“I am very excited to marry literature with technology through the Joompe platform,” said Anjum. “It’s a first for Kitaab and I can see this partnership evolving into something bigger.”

Kicking off the live streaming partnership, Anjum will be on air at 4pm Singapore/1.30pm India time on Wednesday (30 December) on Joompe’s platform. The live streaming event will allow users to chat with Anjum in an interactive session. Kitaab’s readers can catch the streaming live on kitaab.org.


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India: Nayantara Sahgal to return Sahitya Akademi Award

Her protest is “in memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty”: The Hindu

To register her protest against what she described as “vicious assault” on India’s diversity, noted writer Nayantara Sahgal has returned the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.

In a statement issued in New Delhi Ms. Sahgal, said her protest is “in memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty”.  Continue reading

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Nayantara Sahgal: Steel in her spine

Interview with Ritu Menon, author of Sahgal’s biography, Out of Line (4th Estate)

Let’s start with the structure of the biography
OutoflineI took a bit of a chance by not beginning with Nayantara’s childhood. Normally, you begin with where the person was born and go through the whole childhood and get to adulthood and so on. I didn’t want to do that for two reasons: one, she had already written her autobiographies which covered her childhood. Her Prison and Chocolate Cake is a landmark autobiography so I didn’t want to repeat that; I also didn’t want to go into what Lytton Stratchey called ‘a vulgar succession of detail’. In a woman writer’s life, marriage is a very critical event; it’s a critical event in every woman’s life but in Nayantara’s case, her marriage (to Gautam Sahgal) and her writing more or less coincided. So I thought, ‘OK, let me see if I can begin with that definite moment in her life as a woman as well as a writer and see what I can do with that’. That entailed a circularity in the narrative which I would have to follow through. I would have to begin in the present and then go back into Nayantara’s earlier life. Continue reading