Writing on the Wall

The coming weeks will be a treat for book lovers,as the city and Kasauli will host three literary festivals in succession

Written by Parul | Published: October 15, 2013 12:01:41 am

Chandigarh will be “booked”. Two literature festivals in the city and one in the idyllic hills of Kasauli promises to enthral bookworms. The festivals are being organised so that readers from the city,and around,can connect with authors,books,new writings and be a part of debates,discussions and interactive sessions.

The first on the literary calendar will be the three-day Khushwant Singh Lit Fest scheduled for October 18 to 20 at Kasauli Club. This is the second edition of the festival,organised with love for Khushwant Singh by his son and journalist Rahul Singh,along with the literary veteran’s friends and admirers. The theme of this year’s festival is “Greater Punjab” — with discussions,readings,and sessions focused on the ethos of the undivided Punjab. One of the inaugural sessions is how Punjab and Punjabis view Khushwant Singh as a writer and person; and a fun session on non-Punjabis married to Punjabis. From across the border,writer,painter and activist Salima Hashmi,the daughter of Faiz Ahmad Faiz,will join in.

Meanwhile,the second edition of Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF),to be held between November 8 to 10,is designed to get the spotlight back on books,with 13 of India’s noted literary critics invited to nominate 13 books,which will be discussed and read out. “The nominated books written in or after 2005 by an Indian author are based on various themes,” says author and Festival Director Altaf Tyrewala. The authors who are part of the festival include Manjula Padmanabhan (book nomination: The Extras by Kiran Nagarkar),Nirupama Dutt (Shanti Parv by Des Raj Kali and Em and The Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto),Ashok Vajpeyi (The Mirror of Beauty by SR Faruqi),Jerry Pinto (Patna Roughcut by Siddharth Chowdhury and Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar) and Giriraj Kiradoo (The Professor by Manohar Shyam Joshi).

“The festival will include panel discussions touching upon literature,politics and society and events aimed at increasing audience participation,’’ explains Tyrewala. Events planned include guess-the-book reading sessions,art and writing competitions,book readings,film screenings (BA Pass,Ghanchakkar and The Lunchbox) to depict the intersection between cinema and the literary form.

The critics and authors participating in the festival will contribute a piece of original writing in a genre of their choice. These contributions will be compiled in an anthology dedicated to the city of Chandigarh. “Chandigarh doesn’t have Sector 13,and this would be a point of discussion. We also hope to have a city-based theatre group stage parts from these 13 books,” adds Dikshit. As many as 13 enclosures will be created at Hotel Taj Chandigarh,venue of the festival,for each book,critic and author to interact with readers. 

The Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS),in association with Chandigarh Administration,is all set to engage readers with Literati 2013. Scheduled for November 23 and 24,Sumita Misra,Chairperson of CLS,describes the event as a meeting point of minds. It will be the coming together of international authors,performances,debates and discussions across genres. “Lawns of the Lake Club will be transformed into a literary village with bookstalls,paintings and handicrafts display,live artists at work,coffee corners and food stalls,” says Misra. 

Some of the authors who will be part of Literati 2013 include Bhaskar Ghose, Prasoon Joshi, Ashok Vajpeyi,Kishwar Desai, Madhu Kishwar, Gul Panag,Rahul Bose, Jerry Pinto,Krishna Shastri, Irshad Kamil, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Gobind Mishra and Rahul Pandita. The festival will have sessions on English,Hindi and Punjabi literature such as “Exotica is the New Erotica”,“The Four Letter Words: All Betweeen Love & Hate” and “Religion and Politics: Oxygen or Position?”,says author Madhav Kaushik,Secretary of CLS.

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