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Updated: September 24, 2011 18:58 IST

A celebration of literature in our lives

Special Correspondent
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The Hindu's Lit for Life, a three-day, two-city conclave, will delve into various forms of writing

India has always had a strong literary tradition and the past few decades have produced dozens of outstanding writers. Until recently, middle-class Indians seemed to know more about foreign writers than about their own. It took a while for the Indian writers to take the centre stage, but when they did it was with a bang.

With more Indians writing in English, there was a concurrent boom in the publishing industry and that began to spill over to the media, especially newspapers. The Hindu had always had two pages devoted to book reviews, but with the growth in the publishing industry and the rising number of Indian writers, need was felt for a special supplement devoted to literature and issues in the literary world. There was, obviously, more to literature than just book reviews. Thus, on November 3, 1991 was born the Literary Review. For 20 years, this has been the only supplement devoted to literature and books published by a daily newspaper.

To commemorate the first two decades of the Literary Review's existence, The Hindu is launching Lit for Life, a celebration of the role of literature in our daily lives. This three-day, two-city literary conclave delves into various forms of writing with sessions on food writing, travel writing, sports writing, filmmaking, popular cult writing, literary fiction, dynastic politics, Dalit writing and much more.

The Hindu Literary Prize has been instituted to celebrate and encourage the best of Indian writing in English. This year, the prize will be given only for Best Fiction. In subsequent years, it will cover other categories, too. Around 130 nominations have been received. A distinguished panel of judges, comprising authors and academics Mridula Garg, Brinda Bose, Tabish Khair, Pavan K. Varma and K. Satchidanandan, will decide the winner.

Beginning here on September 25, the conclave will see a grand finale in Chennai on October 29 and 30. Prominent speakers at the sessions include novelists Vikram Seth, Mohammed Hanif and Tahmima Anam; well-known chefs Manu Chandra and Nikhil Chib; popular writers Anuja Chauhan, Zac O' Yeah and Mukul Deva; filmmakers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Balu Mahendra, Girish Kasaravalli and K. Hariharan; translators Arunava Sinha and Mini Krishnan, and politicians Sitaram Yechury and Sachin Pilot.

There will also be performances by danseuse Alarmel Valli and comic artist Vir Das.

The shortlist for The Hindu Literary Prize will be announced here on September 25. At the Chennai edition, the winner of The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction will be announced.

Siyahi, creative consultant for Lit for Life, has been instrumental in infusing the conclave with the right ingredients for a rich and wide-ranging literary experience.

The Title Sponsor is HIRCO; Associate Sponsors: Shriram City, Rado; Session Sponsors: Club Mahindra, Scholastic, Penguin, Harper Collins, Om Books, Spotlight, Riya Travel & Tours; Travel Support: Le Passage to India; Venue Support: India Habitat Centre; Official Bookshop: Full Circle; and Gift Sponsor: Seshasayee Paper and Boards Ltd.

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