EVENT It's going to be a mélange of ideas and subjects at The Hindu Literary Review ‘Lit for Life' festival this Sunday, reports SHAILAJA TRIPATHI

Few festivals can claim to be as rounded affairs as this one, but coming from a newspaper like The Hindu , isn't it expected? The Hindu Literary Review , one of the most respected literary supplements of the country committed to promoting good literature, is putting together the ‘Lit for Life' festival in Delhi and Chennai. The first leg of the two-city fest will be held in New Delhi this Sunday at India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road. The other conclave is scheduled to take place in Chennai on October 29. Aimed at identifying and rewarding outstanding talent in Indian writing in English, The Hindu Literary Review had instituted The Hindu Best Fiction Award last year. Manu Joseph's Serious Men bagged the inaugural prize. These literary conclaves usher in this year's award, which will be announced at the culmination of the festival in Chennai.

In complete alignment with the paper's holistic approach, the Delhi segment — through a host of sessions on dynasty politics, new wave cinema, food, theatre and much more — will delve into different forms of writing.

Chef Manu Chandra was taken aback when he first came to know of a session on food in a literary festival of this scale, titled “Are you really going to eat all that?”, with Nikhil Chib and Jigyasa Giri, to be moderated by Esther David. Executive Chef at three restaurants, Olive Bar and Kitchen, Mumbai (Bandra and Mahalaxmi) and Olive Beach, Bangalore, Chandra feels it's an exceedingly respected trade in our country but has largely been about sustenance “relegated to the forgotten realms”. “But to pull it out from there and project it as an intellectual discipline is important because it has both romanticism and poetry. And this is just a perfect platform,” he says.

Chandra, who was recently featured in “AmarOne”, a book featuring 10 chefs from around the world, released by Italian winemaker Allegrini to celebrate 60 years of their famed wine, says he will focus on how in the last decade or so attitude towards food has changed. “It has stepped out of sustenance and become so in-your-face. And we, rather than aping the West, are creating our own philosophy. Books, media and television… everything has played its role.”

Ensuring that the festival resonates with varied age groups, a children's workshop conducted by author Anushka Ravishankar and illustrator Atanu Roy is also part of the day-long happening. Sponsored by Scholastic India, a well-known children's publishing, education and media company, the session will see Anushka taking the 30 little participants — in the age group of seven to nine — through the basics of writing a story, while Roy will guide them on how to illustrate those. The writer of acclaimed books like “Alphabets are Amazing Animals”, “At Least a Fish” and “Tiger on a Tree”, Anushka says that it's easy for children to come out with stories but the exercise will enable them to fit into a tight plot. “The whole idea of the workshop is that the children should go back with something.”

It will be through anecdotes and personal experiences that theatre personalities Mahesh Dattani and Sanjana Kapoor will evoke different aspects of the world of theatre. “Sanjana comes from a family of theatre artistes but I don't, so we will look at how differently I have grown as opposed to her. We will refer to our famous productions, her journey with Prithvi Theatre. We discussed it briefly in Bhopal, where we met recently, but we will soon finalise the content,” says Mumbai-based Dattani.

SCHEDULE

(subject to change)

September 25, 2011

Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi

Inauguration and lighting of the lamp

by Nirmala Lakshman

(10:30 am – 11:20 am)

Are you really going to eat all that?

Nikhil Chib, Jigyasa Giri, Manu Chandra in conversation

with Esther David

11:00 am – 4:30 pm

Children of the lamp – workshop on Children's Writing

Anushka Ravishankar and Atanu Roy

11:30 am – 12:20 pm

Popularity factor

Mukul Deva, Anuja Chauhan and Angela Saini in conversation

12:30 pm – 1:20 pm

New Wave Cinema

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra in conversation with Jai Arjun Singh

1:30 pm – 2:20 pm

Lunch

2:30 pm – 3:20 pm

Revolutions and New Beginnings

Mansoura Ez Eldin and Ali Al Muqri in conversation with Aman Sethi

3:30 pm – 4:20 pm

Realities: Fictional or Otherwise

Rajeev Balasubramanyam, Indrajit Hazra, Rana Dasgupta and Aman Sethi in conversation

4:30 pm – 5:20 pm

A life in theatre

Mahesh Dattani and Sanjna Kapoor in conversation

5:30 pm – 6:20 pm

Indian Politics after Anna

Vasundhara Raje, Sachin Pilot in conversation with Siddharth Varadarajan

6:45 pm – 7:30 pm

Dance performance

Alarmel Valli

7.45 pm

Announcement of The Hindu Literary Prize Shortlist

Manu Joseph

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