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Celebrating the power of words and ideas

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The Hindu Lit for Life festival will be held at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library in New Delhi today

The Hindu Lit for Life festival is back in Delhi with two sessions on Wednesday that are sure to delight the audience.

Opening the show is a discussion of Shankkar Aiyar’s book, Accidental India : A History of the Nation’s Passage Through Crisis and Change , among Mr. Aiyar, Bibek Debroy, Brinda Karat and Jayanthi Natarajan. The discussion will be moderated by Siddharth Varadarajan.

Says Mr. Aiyar, “The festival is a celebration of the eloquence of words, the power of ideas. Empowered by the heft of The Hindu and its global readership, this year’s festival designs a sound space to analyse the paralysis of political discourse and the process of change. Our nation needs transformative change on multiple fronts. Change, though, arrives only in the wake of crises. Why should crisis be a permanent prefix for change? Why won’t the political class accept that transformation is arrested by vested inertia? Indubitably, India deserves better.”

Following this, the audience is encouraged to journey on a photographic passage through India, with Steve McCurry as their guide. Mr. McCurry is an acclaimed photojournalist whose Afghan Girl is one of the most widely recognised photographs in the world today. Dinesh Khanna, photographer and organiser of the Delhi Photo Festival, will introduce the session.

“Obviously a lot of people ask Steve McCurry how they can become a photographer. His advice is never about cameras, lenses or technique. He says, ‘If you want to be a photographer, first leave home.’ And if there is one photographer on earth who has taken his advice really seriously, it is Steve McCurry himself. His body of works shows what wonderful advice that is for anyone who aspires to be a humane and engaged photographer.”

Both Mr. Aiyar and Mr. McCurry will be holding book signings after their sessions.

Another highlight is the announcement of the shortlist for The Hindu Literary Prize, 2012, the winner of which will be announced at the two-day Lit for Life festival in Chennai. Nilanjana Roy, one of the judges this year, tells us what she looks for in a book: “Discussing books submitted for The Hindu Literary Prize with this year’s jury has been such a pleasure. Between Susie Tharu, Pradeep Sebastian, Anita Nair and Paul Zachariah, we’ve had some wonderful discussions, not just on what books should win the prize, but on how fiction works. This year’s list of submissions was vast and eclectic. As a reader, I looked for lasting excellence; books that will be benchmarks 10, 20, 30 years later — for ambition, and for writers who were willing to challenge the norms, either in terms of imagination or language.”

Sponsors: Lit for Life is presented by VGN and powered by VIT University. Associate Sponsors: Shriram Chits and Volvo. Bookstore Partner: Landmark. Event Partner: Aura.

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