Lit fest from Feb. 6

Conclave moves from Delhi to Chennai on Feb. 16

February 01, 2013 12:31 am | Updated February 08, 2013 06:18 pm IST

The panelists in Delhi on February 6, 2013 (clockwise from left to right) - Jayanthi Natarajan, Bibek Debroy, Dinesh Khanna, Siddharth Varadarajan, Steve McCurry, Brinda Karat and Shankkar Aiyar.

The panelists in Delhi on February 6, 2013 (clockwise from left to right) - Jayanthi Natarajan, Bibek Debroy, Dinesh Khanna, Siddharth Varadarajan, Steve McCurry, Brinda Karat and Shankkar Aiyar.

It’s that time of the year again when we celebrate awards and good literature. The Hindu Lit for Life is back, this time in February.

The idea of a festival to commemorate the 20th anniversary of The Hindu ’s Literary Review was mooted in 2010. In November that year, Nayantara Sahgal introduced her new book Jawaharlal Nehru: Civilizing a Savage World at a curtain raiser to the festival. The Hindu Literary Prize, also instituted that year, went to Manu Joseph for his debut novel Serious Men.

Two-city affair

The next year, the festival grew in size and content. As a two-city conclave, the sessions on literary fiction, food writing, travel writing, sports writing, filmmaking, popular cult writing, dynastic politics, Dalit writing that featured personalities such as Vikram Seth, Mohammed Hanif, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Balu Mahendra, K. Hariharan and Shabana Azmi drew large audiences in both Delhi and Chennai. The winner of The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2011 was announced on the last day. Again this went to a debut novel — Rahul Bhattacharya’s The Sly Company of People Who Care .

Discussion on economic history

This year, the festival continues to build on the foundations laid in the past two years. It kicks off in Delhi on February 6 at the Nehru Memorial Library, with a discussion on the economic history of modern India between Shankkar Aiyar, Brinda Karat, Bibek Debroy and Jayanthi Natarajan. Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor of The Hindu , will moderate the discussion. Following this, Steve McCurry will take us on a photo-journey through the Indian subcontinent.

As always The Hindu Literary Prize is a crucial part of the event. This year’s judges — Susie Tharu, Pradeep Sebastian, Anita Nair, Nilanjana Roy and Paul Zachariah — will announce the shortlist. The conclave then moves to Chennai (February 16-17) at Sir Mutha Venkatasubbarao Auditorium) for two days of exciting discussions, lectures and workshops. Gopalkrishna Gandhi speaks about his two famous grandfathers, while Rahul Bose and Yog Japee read excerpts from letters exchanged between the two.

Debut novels

Nilanjana Roy and Jerry Pinto discuss their stunning debut novels while Wendell Rodricks talks to Ranvir Shah about the transition from the fashion industry to bestseller lists. Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma plan on bringing the cuisines from Indian highways to Chennai.

Vaidehi Rao, Sara Aboobacker and Benyamin talk about producing bestsellers in regional languages, while Devdutt Pattanaik shares his business mantras. Fans of Amruta Patil, Samit Basu and Apupen can look forward to their chat about being graphic novelists in India.

Ashok Ferrey, Mridula Koshy, Kalpana Sharma, Aravind Krishna Mehrotra, Lalita Iyer, Veena Venugopal, Mayank Austen Soofi and Meenal Baghel are just some of the other names one can expect to encounter at the festival.

Poetry workshop

There will be Meena Kandasamy’s poetry workshop; an art appreciation class by Sharan Apparao and an inside look at writing and illustrating children’s books by Deepa Balsavar. The finale on February 17 will be the announcement of the winner of The Hindu Literary Prize 2012. So mark these dates. This is one festival you won’t want to miss.

Sponsors: The festival is presented by VGN and powered by VIT University. Associate Sponsor: Shriram Chits. Hospitality Sponsor: The Leela Palace Chennai. Bookstore Partner: Landmark, Event Partner: Aura; Radio Partner: Chennai Live

Click >here for the programme in Delhi & Chennai

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