Katherine Rundell was at her home in Norfolk, working on her non-fiction book for adults on her favourite poet, John Donne, when the lockdown was announced. It was then that she decided to reach out to fellow children’s writers and illustrators.
It took Sen Gupta about nine months to finish the manuscript. By the time the book came out, people had taken to the streets to uphold the democratic ethos of the Constitution. In hindsight, Sen Gupta wishes she had done a segment on citizenship. Perhaps, that will be grist for another book.
Over the last couple of years, Katyal, along with a bunch of contemporaries, that now include vernacular poets such as Hussain Haidry and Aamir Aziz, have responded to the ruptures in India’s community life with poetry on social media.
The symposium also saw a video recording of a reading by American writer Lydia Davis of her new short story, Learning to Sing, while actor Dhritiman Chaterji read out Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa’s Tobacco Shop.
In her debut novel, titled Girl in White Cotton, Doshi looks at familial bonds and how they damn us and unravel us. She sets the tone with her opening sentence: "I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure."