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Inauguration Though we were tired, given our travel schedule a day prior to the fest, our spirits immediately escalated to a whole new level as we walked in to the Diggi Palace for the inaugural ceremony of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011. The bright and colorful décor of the palace and the vibrant atmosphere welcomed authors, celebrities, dignitaries and guests with warmth and love and soon the dropping temperature was almost inconspicuous. Noted Schola...
Post by: Sonia Safri
DAY 1 Thankfully I was scheduled to attend all the events held at the Mughal Tent. Given the fact that I was proudly flaunting and parading in my knee-length boots, the situation saved me the trouble of running from one venue to another. But towards the end of the day as the crowd multiplied four folds, I was lucky even to be able to attend the sessions.   Kuch Sheher, Kuch Ped, Kuch Nazmon ka Khayaal (On Writing Poems) The first session of Mughal Tent ...
Post by: Sonia Safri
Day 2 If we thought Day 1 was crowded, Day 2 surprised us even more. It seemed like the crowd had multiplied over-night.   The first session at Front Lawns was titled “Why Books Matter”, presented by the British Council. The dias had eminent authors including Patrick French, Sunil Sethi, Kiran Desai, John Makinson in conversation with Sonia Singh. Their discussion was intriguing and interactive. Talking about how and books matter, they touched up on t...
Post by: Sonia Safri
DAY 3     The day began on a very light and rejuvenating session that had Ruskin Bond in conversation with Ravi Singh. Aptly named Boys Will Be Boys, the session saw Ruskin Bond read a few excerpts from his various books and a poem he had recently penned for kids. Ruskin Bond is truly one of the finest story-tellers of all times. He proved it yet again as he made up a story, almost instantly, of how escaped a tiger attack when he was 12. And boy! What a ...
Post by: Sonia Safri
DAY 4       Mumbai Narrative saw Gyan Prakash and Sonia Faleiro, in conversation with Madhu Trehan, discuss their books set in the urban cities. Gyan Praskash’s Mumbai Fables and Sonia Faleiro’s Beautiful Thing set in the backdrop of Mumbai reveal different aspects and facets of an urban city in a fascinating way.                              ...
Post by: Sonia Safri
DAY 5     The first session on the last day of the fest that I attended was Duet that comprised readings by Kavery Nambisan and Sarita Mandanna. The duo was introduced by Namita Devidayal. Kavery and Sarita spoke about their evolving styles and subjects during the course of their readings.                   I managed to attend a part of Translating the Classics, at the Durbar Hall, wherein Arunava ...
Post by: Sonia Safri
Everyone has had their share of news to report, their accounts, and their observations and quickly arrived upon conclusions about the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011, so far called the biggest literary extravaganza happening this side of the hemisphere, and being compared to cult festivals like Woodstock. Given it’s been a good 5 days since the fest ended; I thought it’s time I put down my two cents worth of experience.   Once the festival kicked off...
Post by: Alpana Mallick
  The Jaipur Literature Festival 2011 was more than just a festival for me. It was a celebration of ingenious minds. And it gave me an opportunity to know many wondrous authors and writers of the country. Amongst them all, I prominently grew a certain fondness for Sonia Faleiro. And it’s not because we share the same name. It was the kind of substance she brought with her - her second book (and her first non-fiction offering) “Beautiful Thing: Inside th...
Post by: Sonia Safri
We live in an interesting era. New-age Indian authors are on the rise. The market is flooding with authors churning out English books that revolve around campus fiction, contemporary fiction, murder mysteries, local everyday drama, and the commercial story sorts. They give an almost accurate picture of society as it exists today. The real and sometimes pretentious situations; the fictionally honest thoughts; and the simply elaborate settings gel remarkably to make up for...
Post by: Sonia Safri
Having attended the book launch of Salil Desai's debut novel, The Body in the Back Seat in Pune recently, we were intrigued by his work and impressed with his background of film-making and having contirbuted to many anthologies. We got talking to the author and here's the unabridged version.  You have been a filmmaker for a long time now. Why did you move to writing a mystery novel? Wouldn't a film have been a more effective medium of bringing your...
Post by: Manasi Kakatkar-Kulkarni
You-Know-Who is instrumental in changing the entire setting of the young-adult (YA) fiction world and upping the stakes, don’t you?   Hagrid and his Baby Dragon, Hedwig, the chocolate frog, moving beans, Dumbledore, the muggles and the entire Hogwarts have transformed the YA literature genre and breathed in new life. Harry, Ron and Hermione have made Rowling’s dream come true and, along with that, the YA fiction world has reached new heights.   ...
Post by: Uttiya Basu Majumdar
Amongst the very many habits, the one that I would certainly like my daughter to inherit is the habit of reading. Seeing her seated in her own private corner devouring good books, being able to use the most fitting words, discovering the importance of pronouncing words rightly and making use of the right punctuations and pauses as and when necessary, would make me a happy mother . But for kids to inculcate such a skill set, it is important for parents to step in and br...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
Swati Kaushal is one author we loved chatting up with. An email interview with her and we know she is one independent woman who loves people who stand by their mistakes, very much like the protagonists of her novels in Piece of Cake and A Girl Like Me. During the chat, Swati revealed what makes her novels a delightful read and how she goes about shaping the characters of her novels. And all you aspiring writers, don’t get disheartened, she has some very interesting...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
ASTON: More or less exactly what you... DAVIES: That's it ... that's what I'm getting at is ... I mean, what sort of jobs ... (Pause.) ASTON: Well, there's things like the stairs ... and the ... the bells... DAVIES: But it'd be a matter ... wouldn't it ... it'd be a matter of a broom ... isn't it? - Dialogue between Aston and Davies in The Caretaker, a talked-about Harold Pinter play. The Theatre of the Absurd belongs to a genre of absurdist fiction, writ...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
  Not many authors choose to write for a cause. While most fiction writers are happy talking about relationships and other humdrum stuff, Saptarshi Basu, is a new author who is writing to make a difference. Through his writings Basu is determined to make things better for people around. His latest book titled Autumn In My Heart, touches upon the sensitive issue of student suicide.     Bookchums chats up with the author of Love, Logic And The God's A...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
Good children’s books have wooed many adults. The story, well-etched characters, marvelous imagination have compelled many individuals to stack their classics and chick-lit right at the bottom and pick up the rich collection by revered authors like Anant Pai, RK Narayan, JK Rowling, Christopher Paolini and Ruskin Bond. Interestingly Dr Louise Joy, a Cambridge University academic, had reasoned that traditional children's tales are popular among older readers ...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
Magic Realism as the phrase suggests is not just about mere magic or dreamlike suggestions, content, or fine arts. It delves beyond the arena of fantasy. It observes and describes the banality of human existence via magical lenses. It has been portrayed time and again in literature and paintings and several contemporary writers such as Ben Okri, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, and Salman Rushdie write along the lines of magic realism. The beauty of it lies in fi...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
Speaking of macabre literature, the first person who comes to mind is Roald Dahl. After a reading of Skin, one realizes why his macabre writings are immensely popular. Drioli, a man with a prized tattoo on his back disappears after the promise of a fine life by the dubious owner of the Bristol Hotel in Cannes. And what the reader discovers later is that there is no Bristol Hotel. All that chillingly emerges after his disappearance is a varnished painting, a dead-ringer v...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
All it really takes to hook a person to a good book, is the opening line. Though they are stand alone sentences, they lure and entice (sometimes quite literally) the readers to discover more.      I recently happened to glance at the opening passage of Gary Shteyngart’s forthcoming novel, Super Sad True Love Story and it read,  “Today I’ve made a major decision: I am never going to die. Others will die around me. They will be ...
Post by: Sonam Kapoor
Acceptance is something we all desire. To be appreciated and loved obviously comes after that. Queer writers R Raj Rao and Hoshang Merchant reflected upon how this very basic desire (that is often taken for granted by others) is something that does not come easy to queer writers. All this and much more was discussed at one of the sessions called Whistling In the Dark at the recently concluded Jaipur Literary Festival 2012. Hoshang Merchant threw light on the dile...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
    The threat of a ban, the artist’s dissent, self-expression, it was all there, in between the uttered words, at the inaugural session of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012. The session was aptly called, Bhakti Poetry: The Living Legacy.   After an introduction and welcome by Festival Producer Sanjoy Roy; poet, literary critic, academician and activist Purushottam Agarwal spoke on bhakti poetry over the ages. He talked about the element of G...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
  How well can you translate Gulzar’s works into English? Pavan K.Varma has walked the tight rope and gone on to do so. As a result, in a brand new bilingual poetry collection, we have Gulzar’s Hindi originals on the left side of the page, to Varma’s English translations of the same, on the right.   The story behind the book title goes like this: One day, after a long gap, Gulzar abruptly called up Varma and told him, “As several ...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
  Ever since there have been humans on earth, or more precisely, the male and female species, there has been the omnipresent fatal attraction that goes around by the name of love. It is thus no wonder that writers from time immemorial have featured love in their stories. One of the few early examples includes Indian poet Kalidasa and his poems Sakoontala and Meghdootam. The latter is the tale of an estranged couple, and a cloud who acts as a messenger to the husb...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
    It has been a while now, but we still do remember Oliver Twist walking up, trembling to the cook of the workhouse and asking for a little more. Food has featured in various books of literature, sometimes as key characters. How would have, say, Robinson Crusoe survived without scouring for food on the island he ends up in after a shipwreck.     For all those with the love for chocolate, Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a tre...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
  Many of us would remember Premchand's priceless stories that we were introduced to us way back in school.   His works, sometimes humourous, used literature for arousing public awareness about grave national and social issues. He wrote about topics like corruption, widowhood, prostitution, feudal system, poverty, colonialism and India's freedom movement.   Premchand wrote over 300 short stories, 14 novels along with a number of essays, letters, p...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
It was Day 1 at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012. The chill and heaviness in the air could not be ignored but failed in dampening the mood of the attendees at Diggi Palace, Jaipur. With discussions by such lovely authors, and book readings simultaneously happening at five different venues, book lovers like me were enthusiastic, immersed in soaking themselves in the sea of words and the beautiful worlds they created. I was attending Exile on Main Street: Chang...
Post by: Deepti Khanna
  A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one; it comes as sincerely from the author's soul. - Aldous Huxley   Many writers will tell you that the culmination of a novel or a short story is the most difficult to write. Or should we say that to say goodbye takes some doing in literature? Then you might wonder what goes on the minds of writers who go about writing trilogies.   In another context, as a team of book readers and reviewers, we...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
    For several centuries now, as is real life, children, adolescents and teenagers have provided verve and charm to many works of literature.   Be it the adventurous, aimless frolic, mischief and even a bit of danger, two Mark Twain books readily come to the mind. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was first published in 1876 and chronicles with humour and playful storytelling, the fun and frolic life of Tom, his friends, romance and escapades. Another Tw...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
  At the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra's speech was less of a keynote address, but rather a recitation of Kabir's poems. In the heat of the opposition to Salman Rushdie’s proposed JLF visit, Mehrotra made his point through Kabir, putting across the futility of religious discrimination. The speaker at this year's keynote address (on January 24, 2013) – Social activist and Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi, 87, has had a long and ...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
  The name was Fleming, Ian Fleming and in his earth-residing years (1908-1964) he gained fame for his spy novels featuring the efficient workaholic British secret agent James Bond. The first Bond novel Casino Royale was written in 1952, the overwhelming response ensured that two short story volumes and eleven Bond novels were published between 1953 and 1966. Fleming, who also worked as a journalist, was clearly influenced by his British naval intelligence work d...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
  The Jatakas are a huge body of Sanskrit literature, and their uniqueness still rings true. All the stories concern Buddha and his previous lives and have Buddha appear in various forms, ranging from human to animal-form and others. Each story is embellished with a moral; virtuousness is well displayed here, to be imbibed for living a kind, wise and happy life.   Wisdom never dies; it is only reinterpreted in a new age. It is thus no surprise that 26th Ja...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
Set during World War II, The English Patient is one of the six novels that Michael Ondaatje has published in his 36-year writing career, until the time of writing. The book won him the 1992 Booker Prize (Now called the Man Booker Prize for Fiction). A novelist of Sri Lankan-Canadian origins, The English Patient displays the writer at the height of his powers. The non-linear narrative showcases the lives of the main protagonists in great detail. The multi-layered textur...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
With the passing away of Chinua Achebe on 21st March 2013 at the age of 82, Africa lost it’s most popular and distinctive voice in English literature. Born in Nigeria, Achebe lived for some time in the US in the 1970’s. He returned to the US following a 1990 accident that left him partially disabled. In 1967, Achebe was part of a struggle for a new nation – Biafra, but after a bloody struggle, the region became a part of Nigeria again. Until his death...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
          Robert Penn Warren was born on April 24 in 1905 in Kentucky. He is synonymous with his work All the King’s Men for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature in 1947. He was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic. He was one of the founders of New Criticism that highlighted close reading especially in poetry. Some of his works include John Brown: The Making of a Martyr, Thirty-six Poems, An Approach to Literatur...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
  Conflict, an inherent component of all life, is no wonder to be found generously in literature since time immemorial. No book you read, no theater, no film is complete without it. In fact, according to Aristotle, for any story to hold interest the hero must have a single conflict. It is unclear if he means only one conflict, or at least one conflict. What is clear is that he values the role of conflict in a good story. Many critics are of the opinion that the e...
Post by: Manasi Kulkarni
  LET us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table; Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreat Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: Streets that follow like a tedious argument Of insidious intent To lead you to an overwhelming question…. Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our vi...
Post by: BookChums
People known, identified, feared, honoured, respected and loathed for the uniform they wear makes for interesting reading.  The great British writer W. Somerset Maugham starts his classic novel The Moon and Sixpence with a discussion on greatness. He speaks about how a policeman post retirement was found to be a boastful, proud man whose aura disappeared with the uniform.  Greatness, he goes on to elucidate, is something else, within a person, real and natura...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
It was a time for turmoil, a time for new ideas, a time for change. European literature was at the zenith of its popularity between the 14th and 17th century. The impact was distinct, rooted in reality. Of course it all flourished with the coming of the printing press. Gutenberg's historic and momentous printing press brought out the publication of works of literature in the local language and thus lead to the widespread reach of ideas related to renaissance.   ...
Post by: Snehith Kumbla
Even as Raksha Bandhan was celebrated all over the country on August 20 2013 we at BookChums were wondering about the roles siblings have played in the greatest works in literature. Siblings have often been represented in literature either with their endearing intimacy towards each other or extreme hate. Then there are siblings who do not talk to each other those who always disagree and those who love being with each other.   As for stories featuring sibli...
Post by: Imtiaz Ahmed
    Animals have always tickled popular imagination in literature. If we were to waylay books for a while, Disney Films were blamed for creating the impression in the US that wild animals loved the company of humans. Several animal attacks on humans in the US in the last decade were due to humans trying to 'befriend' them. This is just one of the illustrations on how cinema and literature can influence their respective audiences.  Talking animals ha...
Post by: Imtiaz Ahmed
    The Indian cricket stalwart, Sachin Tendulkar retired from cricket this weekend after India beat West Indies at Mumbai. He was conferred with the Bharat Ratna this year. Playing cricket from the age of 11, he went on to play both domestic and international cricket and dominate the cricket world for nearly 24 years. The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack ranked him as the second best batsmen of all time after Auzzie player, Sir Don Bradman. We raise  a toast...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
  This week on BookChums, we feature Literature from the Subcontinent as its theme. Literature from this part of the world is expansive and rich; most of us are barely aware of the great works that have been produced from various regions of the subcontinent. What is very special about such literature is that its works are very different from each other and they also highlight the ethos of various periods of history: both past and present. There is a strong presen...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
  The BookChums theme of this week is Holidays in Literature. Christmas and New Year are right here. There is an enormous essence of gaiety, splendor and about starting afresh; and there is no other way to better rejuvenate ourselves than feeling the freshness of a new season. Holidays have been a central theme in several books and the list is a never-ending one. There is a great diversity in such literature too. Therefore, this week, we make an attempt to highli...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
  Several women from all parts of the globe have contributed to some very scintillating literature. The list is tall and endless. This week on BookChums, we feature Women's Literature as the theme of the week. We will feature some of the best works of literature by women from all ages. Here are some of the authors and their versatile works:  - The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto was published in September 2013. Set in a backdrop of Waziristan, ...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
Literature from the realms of magic realism is always a delight to read. Magic realism refers to the magic elements that are included by authors in their writings while depicting humdrum settings.  This term was first used by German art critic Franz Roh in 1955 to define a type of painting style called new objectivity.  Its usage followed in literature. Moreover, it is very distinct from surrealism as it describes real-world settings. However, what draws it c...
Post by: Kabita Sonowal
 Today is the birth anniversary of one of the most elusive writers in the history of English literature.   Today is the birth anniversary of one of the most elusive writers in the history of English literature. Born in the year 1861, Mary Elizabeth Coleridge belonged to the family tree of elite novelist, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Just like her personal life, her books too carried a sensual charm of the old Victorian era and the fragrance of innocent flattery. ...
Post by: Sudipto Ghosh


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