Writer Anita Nair inaugurated the Indian Ruminations literary festival here on Saturday.

Nearly 70 delegates, including writers and poets from around the country, are participating in the two-day event, organised by online Indian English writers' journal Indian Ruminations.

The theme of the festival is ‘Exploring Indian Alternatives in Reading and Writing.'

Ms. Nair said although more and more young talents were coming up, Indian English writers did not get acceptance like foreign writers in India. “I think the whole idea of contemporary Indian English writing is a misnomer. A large section of people, especially the academia, do not recognise Indian writers post 1960s. Although Indian English writers are accepted elsewhere, in our own country we have fewer and fewer readers,” she said.

Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar delivered the presidential address. Mr. Jayakumar said world writers were edging native writers out of the shelf in Kerala as world literature invaded the Malayalam literary space. “The space that is taken away does not belong to established writers but the struggling young writers of Kerala,” he said. Mr. Jayakumar said that with the advent of the Internet and blogging, the hierarchies of publishing had been shaken and the publishing business had become more democratised. “Our publishers should take up the responsibility of familiarising our writers to the world. Having good translations is equally important. Translation has to be encouraged and promoted as a highly paid profession,” Mr. Jayakumar said.

Platform for writers

Indian Ruminations managing editor S.N. Sandhya said the monthly journal was launched nearly one-and-a-half years ago as an initiative to provide a platform for new and unknown writers.

Poets D. Vinayachandran, R.K. Das from New Delhi, and K. Pankajam from Chennai were present at the inaugural function. Mr. Das released the book ‘Roots and Wings,' an anthology of Indian women poets' writing in English. The books ‘Of the lesser known' by Anu Joshy and ‘More beads unstrung' by Anna Maria were also released.

The Indian Ruminations Literary Awards were given away at the function. Amit Upadhyay from Delhi bagged the best fiction award in English for his book ‘Evil is Evil, Good is God.' Nayanathara from Kerala bagged the best English poetry award for ‘The Scent of Frangipani.' Rajesh Chithira won the best Malayalam poetry award for ‘Unmathathakalude crash landingukal.' Ajoykumar M.S and Sulfikkar shared the best Malayalam non-fiction award for ‘Angane oru mambazha kalam' and ‘Nithya Chaithanya yathi randu sanyasikalkkayacha kathukal,' respectively.

Indian Ruminations chief editor J.T. Jayasingh and poet and editor of ‘Roots and Wings' Annie George were present. After the inaugural function, a panel discussion on the theme was held. It was followed by a discussion on ‘Introduction of poets and poetry reading.'

On the second day of the festival on Sunday, a discussion on ‘Future of literary publishing in India: print and Web' will be held. Poet T.S. Chandramouli from Hyderabad will participate in the discussion. This will be followed by a book reading session.