Jaipur literature festival Posts

Australian delegation of publishers visiting India ( 18-24 Jan 2017)

In January 2017, the Australian Council for the Arts will be leading a delegation of publishers to India. They will also be attending the Jaipur Literature Festival ( 18-22 Jan). A B2B roundtable has also been organised in New Delhi.

The delegates from Australia include:
1. Australia Council representative
Dr Wendy Were, Executive Director, Strategic Development and Advocacy
Australia Council for the Arts | www.australiacouncil.gov.au

2. Fiona Henderson, Publisher
Affirm Press | http://affirmpress.com.au/

3. Cate (Catherine) Blake, Commissioning Editor, General Publishing
Penguin Random House Australia | www.penguin.com.au

4. Margot Lloyd, Event Manager, Marketing and Editorial
Wakefield Press | www.wakefieldpress.com.au

5. Stephanie Siriwardene, Publishing Assistant
Scribe Publications | http://scribepublications.com.au/

6. Edwina Johnson, Director
Byron Writers Festival | www.byronwritersfestival.com

7. Laura Kroetsch, Director
Adelaide Writers’ Week | www.adelaidefestival.com.au

7 January 2017 

An Interview with Jaipur Literature Festival’s Co-Director, Namita Gokhale, on her Latest Novel, Things to Leave Behind

( This interview was first published on Bookwitty.com on 10 December 2016 ) 
An Interview with Jaipur Literature Festival's Co-Director, Namita Gokhale, on her Latest Novel, Things to Leave Behind - Image 1

One month before the 10th anniversary of South Asia’s largest and most renowned literary festival, Jaipur Literature Festival founder and co-director Namita Gokhale (with William Dalrymple) sat down with Jaya Bhattarcharji Rose to talk about her latest, and eighth novel Things to Leave Behind. It is a multi-generational story set between 1840-1912 in Nainital and Sat Tal, Kumaon, part of the Himalayas.

How did Things to Leave Behind come about?

A tangle of memories about a time I sensed and knew. I had accessed a rich treasure of information through Mountain Echoes, the book of oral biographies I had compiled and transcribed. Then there was Clever Wives and Happy Idiots, folktales that had been recorded in the memoirs of Russian spy and adventurer, Ivan Minayev, which we at Yatra Books [a Delhi-based publishing house specialising in translations where Gokhale works as director] published and I wrote the introduction to. I wanted to give voice to this, to record and to remember those days, those stories.

In your acknowledgements you mention how this novel was inspired by your grandfather’s text –The History of Kumaon?

I did not have the good fortune to meet Badri Dutt Pande but he was an inspirational figure, who helped rid Kumaon of the infamous British ‘begaari ‘ system of unpaid labour. His book The History of Kumaon, originally written in Hindi with the title Kumaon ka Itihas gave me deep insights into the past.

How much does family and memory, especially of the hills, play a role in your writing? How have those shaped the subjects you write about?

I grew up in a beautiful house called ‘Primrose’, which finds fleeting mention in the novel. Many of the stories and episodes have their source in family history, including the tale of the royal physician Jeevan Chandra Vaidya.

How is writing about the mountains a different experience from writing about anything else —for instance in the context of your other books like the very successful Paro and Priya.

Urban novels have a different edge to them. The city has a very different character and atmospherics from the mountains.

Why adopt the British Raj spelling when the story is told from an Indian perspective?

The story is told from several perspectives. The old ‘Raj’ spellings were in use and authentic to the times, so I used them, especially in the early parts. The language and spellings I employ become slowly ‘modern’ in the course of the narrative.

Your first book was commissioned by the legendary editor, Carmen Calil when she was at Chatto & Windus. This was at a time when it was not so easy to access London-based publishing firms. As a publisher and writer yourself what are the transformations you have seen evolve in publishing?

Publishing has changed in terms of markets. India has its own readers, writers and publishers, and this strong internal market is growing. We are the third largest English publishing market in the world, after the US and UK. My first novel struck a chord and succeeded. I was very young and I learnt a lot, including how to cope with subsequent failures.

Your fascination for literature is evident in the local publishing history of the late 19th century to the early 20th century that you blend into the story. Is this your fascination as an author or a publisher?

I am fascinated by the power of books and ideas, in transforming how every age views itself. I wanted to describe the books people were reading, disputing, talking about. My fascination was as a reader as well as a publisher.

How did the title Things to Leave Behind come about?

I had spent five weeks at the Bellagio Center [residency program] at Lake Como. I was working on In Search of Sita and also this novel. When I was to leave, I struggled with the packing and made out a list of Things to Leave Behind and realized that this was to be the title of my book.

Things to Leave Behind is a novel that is incredibly powerful in its syncretism. Although there is a thriving and lived caste system in the mountainous regions of Almora and Sat Tal a significant portion of your novel dwells upon the arrival of missionaries of different religions such as Swami Vivekananda and the Baptists. Yet you are able to show how people always find the breathing space to live life according to their terms. Were these manoeuvres by the characters an exciting challenge to write?

The story told itself, the characters made their choices and lived out the consequences. That’s all. There was a ferment of ideas; a conflict of identities, then as there is now.

You have painted an unsettling picture of the hierarchies of the caste system operating in the hills. Can you share a little more about this character – Jayesh Jonas – and where he came from? Do you feel things are different in these societies today?

The caste system was rigid and hierarchical in those times. It has changed, but the attitudes and prejudices cast a long shadow. I was a Pant [part of a compound of a North Indian surname of people with a Hindu Brahmin background] before marriage. Jayesh Jonas was based not as a character but in his situation on a branch of my paternal family tree (that had decided, in very different circumstances, to convert to Christianity).

How have these hills affected you as a writer?

I keep going back to that landscape because somewhere in my imagination it provides immense solace. But that’s not all I write or want to write. Let’s see where my muse guides me next.

What do you feel is the one myth about the hills that people have that you’d like to demystify through your work and writing?

I try always to demythify the false romanticism of the simple hill life. People are complex, complicated and cunning everywhere.

10 December 2016 

JLF 2017 Preview

My article on the preview for JLF 2017 was published on Bookwitty.com on 30 December 2016.)

Get Ready for the 10th Anniversary of the Jaipur Literature Festival  - Image 1

The first time I attended the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) at Diggi Palace Grounds, Jaipur it was small enough so that once could drive the car straight up to the main steps of the building. Today, the parking is a fair distance from the palace and the only way to reach the venue is through multiple barricades and a screening counter. Once inside though, there is a wonderful, festive air with an explosion of colours in the décor, the happy buzz of excited people milling about and conversations streaming through various marquees. Termed one of the greatest literary events, it is also a free one. Since it began, the JLF has welcomed 846,000 visitors, 1874 speakers, conducted 1272 sessions and partnered with more than 1400 organisations.

The JLF is also crucial because it is situated in a geographical space that is at the heart of a significant book market. It is planned soon after the Christmas break and a few months after the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF) so publishing professionals flying in from around the world can follow up on their FBF conversations and combine them with a holiday in India.

In January 2017, it will be the 10th anniversary of the Jaipur Literature Festival. The three directors since its inception are Sanjoy Roy, Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple. The festival has evolved over the years to include different elements such as Jaipur BookMark – a B2B platform for publishers, a children’s section and a cultural event every evening. The Festival has expanded internationally to host annual events at London’s Southbank Centre (2014 onwards) and Boulder, Colorado (2015 onwards). In 2017 the Jaipur BookMark will launch a new scheme to support emerging writers and budding authors are invited to apply for a New Writers’ Mentorship Programme: The First Book Club.

The Festival has celebrated and hosted writers from across the globe, ranging from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners to debut writers, including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eleanor Catton, Hanif Kureishi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan, JM Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Mohammed Hanif, Oprah Winfrey, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Salman Rushdie, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, Vikram Seth and Wole Soyinka, as well as renowned Indian language writers such as Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, MT Vasudevan Nair, Uday Prakash, the late Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy.

Get Ready for the 10th Anniversary of the Jaipur Literature Festival  - Image 2

This January, the Jaipur Literature Festival expects to welcome over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians, journalists, and popular culture icons to Jaipur. Sanjoy Roy said “Our prime focus is on history of the world, given that it was the 70 years of India’s Independence [in 2016]. In a new collaboration with the British Library they have loaned us a version of the 1215 AD Magna Carta which will be on view at Diggi Palace. A series of sessions on freedom to dream will look at inspiration for the future. We have a new partnership with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that will look at sessions on art and migration.”

Namita Gokhale added that at the JLF “We are always trying to listen in as many languages as possible. This time there will be speakers from all over Europe and more than 20 Indian regional languages will be showcased.”

Controversies and the JLF also seem to go hand in hand. In 2012 Hari Kunzru, Ruchir Joshi, Amitava Kumar and Jeet Thayil read out passages from Salman Rushdie’s banned book The Satanic Verses and had to leave Jaipur hurriedly before the police arrived to arrest them. Another time the Shell oil company was one of the sponsors, which created a stir since, among other things, it is infamously associated with the tragic execution of Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa. At the time, the JLF administration said they do not look at the color of money. This year too, there is disappointment already being expressed at representatives of the Hindu fundamentalist group RSS being invited to speak at JLF but as the organizers point out they stand for diversity.

Be that as it may, the 2017 edition of JLF promises to be as exciting as ever. The magnificent line-up of authors includes Paul Beatty, Alan Hollinghurst, Valmik Thapar, Amruta Patil, AN Wilson, Alice Walker, Mark Haddon, Ajay Navaria, Mrinal Pande, Richard Flanagan, Arshia Sattar, Arefa Tehsin, Eka Kurniawan, Tahmima Anam, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Marcos Giralt Torrente, Kyoko Yoshida, David Hare, Margo Jefferson, Deborah Smith, Jeremy Paxman, Hyeonseo Lee, Francesca Orsini, John Keay, Jon Wilson, Kate Tempest, Mihir S. Sharma, Neil MacGregor, Rishi Kapoor, Sholeh Wolpé, Sunil Khilnani, and Vivek Shanbhag. Sessions have been planned on translations, revisiting history, conflict, politics, memoirs, biographies, nature, poetry, spirituality, mythmaking, women writing, travel writing, freedom of expression, children’s literature and book releases.

Some of the prominent sessions are:

Writing the Self: The Art of Memoir: Bee Rowlatt, Brigid Keenan Emma Sky and Hyeonseo Lee in conversation with Samanth Subramanian

Lost in Translation: Francesca Orsini, Deborah Smith, Paulo Lemos Horta and Sholeh Wolpé in conversation with Adam Thirlwell

Migrations: Lila Azam Zanganeh, NoViolet Bulawayo, Sholeh Wolpé and Valzhyna Mort in conversation with Tishani Doshi

The Tamil Story: Imayam Annamalai and Subhashree Krishnaswamy in conversation with Sudha Sadhanand

In Search of a Muse: On Writing Poetry: Anne Waldman, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Ishion Hutchinson, Kate Tempest, Tishani Doshi and Vladimir Lucien in conversation with Ruth Padel

Lost Kingdoms: The Hindu and Buddhist Golden Age in South East Asia: John Guy introduced by Kavita Singh

Before We Visit the Goddess: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in conversation with Shrabani Basu

Kohinoor: Anita Anand and William Dalrymple introduced by Swapan Dasgupta

The Dishonourable Company: How the East India Company Took Over India: Giles Milton, John Keay, Jon Wilson, Linda Colley and Shashi Tharoor in conversation with William Dalrymple

Brexit: A.N. Wilson, Andrew Roberts,, Linda Colley, Surjit Bhalla and Timothy Garton Ash in conversation with Jonathan Shainin

Rewriting History: The Art of Historical Fiction: Adam Thirlwell, Alan Hollinghurst and Shazia Omar in conversation with Raghu Karnad

Civil Wars: From Antiquity to ISIS: David Armitage introduced by Raghu Karnad

The Biographer’s Ball: A.N. Wilson, Andrew Roberts, David Cannadine, Lucinda Hawksley, Roy Foster and Suzannah Lipscomb in conversation with Anita Anand

Ardor: On the Vedas: Roberto Calasso in conversation with Devdutt Pattanaik

Things to Leave Behind: Namita Gokhale in conversation with Mrinal Pande and Sunil Sethi

That Which Cannot be Said: Hyeonseo Lee, Kanak Dixit, Sadaf Saaz and Timothy Garton Ash and in conversation with Salil Tripathi

The Art of the Novel: On Writing Fiction: Adam Thirlwell, Alan Hollinghurst, NoViolet Bulawayo and Richard Flanagan in conversation with Manu Joseph

Footloose: The Travel Session: Aarathi Prasad, Bee Rowlatt, Brigid Keenan, Nidhi Dugar and Simon Winchester in conversation with William Dalrymple

The JLF 2017 will run from January 19-23rd.

    Jaya’s newsletter 5 ( 1 Dec 2016)

    shauna-singh-baldwinSince the last newsletter it has been a whirlwind of book releases, literature festivals and fabulous conversations. For instance a lovely evening spent at the Canadian High Commissioner, H. E. Nadir Patel’s residence for the launch of Indo-Canadian writer, Shauna Singh Baldwin’s essays — Reluctant Rebellions. Shauna read out an extract comparing the freedom women had in different geographies. She added that writing non-fiction was akin to being naked. There is no literary device as there is in fiction to hide the author’s true sentiments. Dr Shashi Tharoor spoke at the event too.

    To attend the Tata Literature Live! Festival in Mumbai was award winning Australian author, Geoffrey Moorhouse. He is known for his historical fiction such as on the League of Nations. During a quiet lunch at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi, it was incredible to hear Moorhouse describe the research involved for the books. He had thought it would take a few weeks but he spent nearly four years in the Geneva archives. Mostly he was the only person reading the documents.

    On 17 September 2016, H.E. Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner, Bangladesh released the gently told but vividfazlur-rahman-book-launch memoir of haemotologist-oncologist Dr Fazlur Rahman. It charts mostly the journey of the doctor from a village to Texas in 1969 with some insights into his experience as an oncologist, caregiver and in setting up hospices. But as the high commissioner pointed out it is in exactly such literature that the history of the subcontinent will be mapped and preserved. During the panel discussion Dr Rahman stressed the importance of empathy for the patient and caregiver and the significance of medical, physical and spiritual sustenance.

    with-namita-26-nov-2016The Times Lit Fest (26-27 Nov 2016) was a tremendous success. It was a crackling good mix of speakers and the panel discussions were well curated. Everything ran with clockwork precision even though there were tremendous crowds to be seen everywhere. To discuss her elegant new novel, Things to leave Behind, I was in conversation with Namita Gokhale, writer and co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival. This multi-generations novel is set in the Himalayas, in the Nainital and Sat Tal region, putting the spotlight on socio-economic relationships, independence of women, spread of religious philosophies and the rigid caste system.

    As the year draws to a close some significant literary prizes / longlists have been announced.

    1. Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize was won by Akshaya Mukul for Gita Press and the Making of Hindu Indiagita-press
    2. Swimmer among the starsTata Literature Live! Awards were presented with Amitav Ghosh getting the Lifetime Achievement Award and Kanishk Tharoor winning for his stupendous debut collection of stories.
    3. The International Dublin Literary Award ( formerly the IMPAC) longlist was announced and it included two Indian writers on it — Keki Daruwala and Vivek Shanbhag.
    4. The 14th Raymond Crossword Book Awards had an impressive list of winners. Sadly this time there were no
      ranjit-lal

      (L-R): Twinkle Khanna, Roopa Pai and Ranjit Lal

      cash prizes awarded instead gift vouchers were given to the winning authors.

    ******

    Jaya Recommends

    1. matt-haig-1Matt Haig’s incredibly beautiful must-have modern fairy tales A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas  ( Canongate Books)
    2. Namita Gokhale’s Things to Leave Behind  ( Penguin Random House) namita-gokhale-book-cover
    3. Ranjit Lal’s Our Nana was a Nutcase ( Red Turtle)
    4. Jorge Luis Borges and Osvaldo Ferrari Conversations ( 1 & 2) , Seagull Books jorge-luis-borges

    ******

    New Arrivals

          1. Being a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz ( Simon and Schuster)
          2. Amba by Laksmi Pamuntjak ( Speaking Tiger Books)
          3. Uttara: The Book of Answers translated by Arshia Sattar ( Penguin Random House)
          4. Bestselling author Stephanie Meyer’s new book is a thriller called The Chemist ( Hachette India)
          5. White Mountain: Real and Imagined Journeys in the Himalayas by Robert Twigger ( Hachette India)

    being-a-dogamba

    ******

    Publishing News and links 

    1. Nineteen years after working at PRH India, Udayan Mitra, Publisher, has quit.
    2. The two week long Dum Pukht residential workshop with facilitators Anil Menon, Pervin Saket, Akshat Nigam and special guest Amit Chaudhuri premieres at Adishakti, Pondicherry this Monday, 5 Dec 2016. The workshop also features one-day talks / sessions by poet Arundhati Subramaniam and historian Senthil Babu.
    3. Utterly fabulous BBC Documentary on UK-based feminist publishing house, Virago Press
    4. Neil Gaiman on “How Stories Last
    5. Two centuries of Indian print. A British Library project that will digitise 1,000 unique Bengali printed books and 3,000 early printed books and enhance the catalogue records to automate searching and aid discovery by researchers.
    6. shashi-tharoorTwo stupendous reviews of Shashi Tharoor’s latest book, An Era Of Darkness. The first one is by historian Indivar Kamtekar and the second by journalist Salil Tripathi.
    7. A lovely review by Nisha Susan of Twinkle Khanna’s short stories — The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad.the_legend_of_lakshmi_prasad_300_rgb_1478507802_380x570
    8. Gopsons prints Booker winner, yet again
    9. Best of 2016 booklists: Guardian ( 1 & 2) , New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2016 and Publishers Weekly 

    1 December 2016 

    Garth Greenwell, “What Belongs to You”

    Garth Greenwell…more and more I took refuge in books, not serious or significant books but books that offered an escape from myself, and it was these books, or rather our shared love for them, that bound me to the few friends I had… 

    Garth Greenwell’s debut novel What Belongs to You is about a nameless American schoolteacher who is based in Bulgaria. Funnily enough even though the narrator remains nameless the two cultural landscapes that influence him are very much fixed in a period —the Republican conservative homophobic Kansas and Bulgaria emerging from the Soviet era, detritus of which are still visible in the dilapidated buildings and in the attitude of the people. The novel is divided into three parts — Mitko, A Grave and Pox. In fact “Mitko” won the Miami University Press Novella Prize. What Belongs to You begins with the narrator looking to have sex and comes across Mitko in a public bathroom and from then on they forge a curious relationship. The second section is about the narrator receiving news about his father’s hospitalisation and the flood of memories it unleashes. The final section is about his mother’s arrival in Bulgaria and due to a concatenation of events primarily the fleeting return of Mitko in the narrator’s life, there is a sudden unyoking of himself from his past–immediate and childhood. It is an epiphany that liberates him paradoxically leaving him in despair too. It seems to happen subconsciously while recalling his experience of a severe earthquake.

    …the first time I had known that absolute disorientation and helplessness, the first time I had felt in that incontrovertible way the minuteness of my will, so that underlying my fear, or coming just an instant after it, was total abandon, a feeling that wasn’t entirely unpleasant, a kind of weightlessness. 

    At Jaipur Literature Festival 2016, Colm Toibin said while researching for The Master, his novel/tribute on/to Henry James, he realised gay fiction was a 21st century phenomenon. He also observed that “fiction contains many mansions” a comment apt for Garth Greenwell’s debut novel. What Belongs to You is much more than a fine example of gay fiction with its extraordinarily bold voice; it is a Künstlerroman, a narrative about the artist’s growth to maturity. What Belongs to You is in the same category as James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man or even Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home. It is evident in the experimentation of form in “A Grave” such as the long unbroken paragraphs sometimes running on for pages and pages that fit snugly with the literary device of interior monologue. The lyrical prose of “A Grave” is structured as magnificently as Isabel Archer’s reflection in Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady.  In both novels the interior monologues by the central characters are pivotal not only to the structure of the plot but also to the radical transformation they wrought in the narrator and Isabel and to the chain of events to follow.

    At one level What Belongs to You is reading a story about a young man living in a new land and yet it is also recognising what belongs to you are who you are, what you make yourself. This could be by rejection such as the narrator’s complicated relationship with his father or by accepting new influences as the narrator says by “thinking it half in Bulgarian and half in my own language, which I returned to as if stepping onto more solid ground.”

    One of the best interviews published so far with Garth Greenwell has been with Paul McVeigh. “The world according to Garth Greenwell” (The Irish Times, 25 April 2016. http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/the-world-according-to-garth-greenwell-1.2623753)

    Garth Greenwell is a boldly confident youthful writer who writes extraordinarily beautiful prose with panache. Hopefully one day the following writers will be together on a panel discussing the art of blending truth and fiction, writing a memoir-novel: Damian Barr, Paul McVeigh, Sandip Roy, Roxane Gay, Garth Greenwell and Alison Bechdel.

    What Belongs to You is a debut that will be talked about for a long time to come!

    Garth Greenwell What Belongs To You Picador, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, London, 2016. Hb. pp. 196. Rs 550

    18 May 2016

     

    Ashwin Sanghi, “The Sialkot Saga”

    The-Sialkot-Saga

    Bollywood actress, Kajol, and Ashwin Sanghi unveiling the book cover of “The Sialkot Saga” at Jaipur Literature Festival 2016.

    Some animals hunt. Others hide. And a few hunt while they hide.

    Ashwin Sanghi’s latest novel The Sialkot Saga will be released on 5 April 2016. It is a greatly anticipated thriller whose cover was unveiled with great fanfare by the Bollywood actress, Kajol Devgn, at Jaipur Literature Festival 2016.  The Sialkot Saga  is a retelling of modern Indian history through the lives of a Muslim Mumbai underworld don, Arbaaz Sheikh, and a Hindu Calcutta Marwari businessman, Arvind Bagadia. Basic premise being money matters, nothing else — it is a dhanda after all. As is the fashion nowadays in modern novels a family saga spread across at least two generations is a must and is evident in Sialkot Saga too. There are neat historical details beginning with Partition interspersed with brutal violence and unscrupulous plans to gain money. Politics, land deals, hawala, narcotics, films etc. Anything as long as there is a healthy profit margin to be made. There are some descriptions of violence particularly horrifying since they challenge the boundaries of ethics. But the acts described are so very plausible that the horror is compounded manifold. It strikes a sense of fear. Surprisingly the boldness of these criminal minds also makes one chuckle. 300-odd pages into the novel it begins to seem like a manual on the rise of corporate India. It becomes a little convoluted with its business descriptions. An account of the birth of companies like Reliance, Satyam, Infosys to the formidable place they hold today as the gems of Shining & Incredible India. The chorus of the opening pages soon to be forgotten as the plot builds is “Some animals hunt. Others hide. And a few hunt while they hide.” Attention does begin to flag but every writer writes from their strong point and being a successful businessman is one of Ashwin Sanghi’s strengths.

    The second is his avatar as a modern mythographer. It is evident in the tenuous tale he weaves about the sanjeevani. It seems a bit convenient but once again it is Ashwin Sanghi’s forte to pull together myths and present them in a modern setting. It is his trademark. And one that his many readers will be waiting for. ( Till date he has sold over a million units of his previous books.)

    Here is the link to the book trailer: https://youtu.be/1qv_tk5i9kM . It is a wonderfully edited movie clip but is not true to the book at all.

    Undoubtedly Ashwin Sanghi’s “Sialkot Saga” is immensely readable for its tremendous insight into the Indian brand of businessmen. There is no word for their inventiveness in their greed for money and this is matched by the phenomenal storytelling of the novelist. It is quite remarkable. Setting his story in the historical backdrop of modern India proves that irrespective of political ideologies and government policies, money always wins. Having said that there is a lot of testosterone flowing through this book with the few women characters taking on fairly conventional roles. Even the breakaway character of Alisha as an example of the millennial generation does not quite live up to promise. I am not even going to nitpick about historical accuracy since it does not purport to be a historical novel. It is just a great story.

    Read it!

    Ashwin Sanghi The Sialkot Saga Westland, Chennai, 2016. Pb. pp. 584. Rs 350

    31 March 2016

    HarperCollins India to publish William Dalrymple’s The Writer’s Eye”

    william-dalyrmple-lead-image003I am truly excited about this forthcoming book – The Writer’s Eye. True, the photographs taken by William Dalrymple are exquisite. Even more astounding when you realise these were mostly taken with his Samsung phone. But what I like the most about this publishing arrangement is the coming together of three very talented photographers — William Dalrymple, Ananth Padmanabhan and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi. The historical sense that informs the superb compositions of William Dalrymple, combined with the sharp publishing potential and commissioning sensibility of veteran publisher Ananth Padmanabhan and the fine aesthetic and curation abilities of Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi can only make a stupendous book. I wait eagerly to see what is published in March 2016. 

    HarperCollins India to publish William Dalrymple

    HarperCollins India are delighted to announce the publication of renowned writer, traveller and historian William Dalrymple’s first book of photographs, The Writer’s Eye, this March.

    In a suite of black and white photographs, shot over two years, William Dalrymple brings elegance, inquiry and grace to the photographic form. Powerful and precise, the pictures in The Writer’s Eye are documents of landscape, conveying potent solitude and brooding strokes. The beloved author of acclaimed books returns to a visual medium he first worked with in collegiate days, armed now with over two decades of writerly composure and brilliance.

    William Dalrymple said, “I am completely thrilled that HarperCollins India are publishing my photographs – the realisation of a long held dream.”

    Ananth, CEO, HarperCollins India said, ‘We are incredibly excited – it’s a rare moment when a celebrated writer chooses another medium of art. William’s first book of photographs and we are delighted he chose to publish with us’

    Curated by bestselling writer and Sensorium Festival co-founder, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi The Writer’s Eye opens at Sunaparanta : Goa Centre for the Arts, 18th of March, in Goa; Vadehra Art Gallery, 29th of March, in Delhi; and the Grosvenor Gallery, June 2016, London. This show is proudly supported by arts patrons Dattaraj, Dipti Salgaocar and Isheta Salgaocar, gallerists Roshini Vadehra, and Conor Macklin, The Writer’s Eye marks the public debut of a gifted visual artist.

    Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi had this to say on his Facebook wall ( 1 March 2016). (I am posting it with his permission. )
    One winter evening at the Goa home of Dattaraj Salgaocar, the writer and historian William Dalrymple showed me photographs he’d made on his phone. I was struck by their jazz quality, nocturnal and solitary. I asked if I might show them. He agreed. Two years later, we have a handsome body of work, The Writer’s Eye, which debuts this spring March 18th at Sunaparanta Art Centre. My friend, the wonderful Roshini Vadehra Kapoor and I teamed to show it in Delhi, at Vadhera Art Gallery, which opens March 29th. And in partnership with family friends Dattaraj and Dipti Salgaocar’s Sunaparanta and Vadehra, the show moves to London, opening at the Grosvenor Gallery on June 23rd.
    I was equally keen to take the gallery catalog, a somewhat of a vanity document seen by an elite few, and grow it into something that might be enjoyed by many. I turned to my friend Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HarperCollins, himself a writer and photographer, and he gamely came on to support the show by bringing out a splendid book of the photographs (with essays by William and myself). The Writer’s Eye is launched in Delhi, on the day the show opens.
    As Sensorium draws to a close this month, we are already preparing walls for the next show. Please come if in Goa, Delhi or London to celebrate William, his work, and his 50th birthday this March, for which this is a small celebration.
    With gracious support from Arianna Huffington, Anindita Ghose and all at VOGUE, Shruti Kapur at Platform, and David Godwin.

    I am posting some of the photographs that William Dalrymple has clicked with his Samsung. These are a personal selection I made from the press release, newspaper reports and from William Dalrymple’s Facebook page. These are being posted on my blog with his permission.

    12508942_10153216298116965_3960126525681238359_n 12573805_10153246775086965_6777041961801984083_n 12662040_10153265318131965_918576921416682771_n 12670246_10153265315356965_867005688923962319_n 12800278_10153302971666965_3192225591154056451_n 12806063_10153302971896965_1342061096235934881_n 12806126_10154505463556686_487272715904165648_n

    william-dalyrmple-embed-image005The Diwan-e-Aam, Fatehpur Sikri


    The Fatehpur Sikri Jama Masjid



    william-dalyrmple-embed1-image005

    All photos: William Dalrymple (c) 2016

    William Dalrymple is a writer, traveller and historian and one of the co-directors and founders of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival. He is the author of several bestselling books, including Return of a King, White Mughals and Nine Lives.

    Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi‘s debut novel, The Last Song of Dusk, won the Betty Trask Award in the UK, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, and was nominated for the IMPAC Prize. The Lost Flamingoes of Bombay, his subsequent bestselling novel, was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2008.

    3 March 2016

    JaipurBookMark ( JBM), 21-22 January 2015, Narain Niwas, Jaipur

    The Jaipur BookMark 2015
    Where South Asia meets the world

    21-22 January 2015, Narain Niwas, Jaipur

    (JBM 2015 will run for two days parallel with the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival on the 21 and 22 January)

    bookmark-logo

    Day 1: 21st January 2015

    12:30 PM-INAUGURATION

    Sanjoy Roy, Namita Gokhale, Oliver Moystad

    1:30 PM-2:30 PM- INAUGURAL LUNCH hosted by NORLA

    2:30 PM-3:30 PM- SESSION 1

    IS PUBLISHING “UNBANKABLE”?

    A business like no other, publishing finds it notoriously difficult to raise finance: a session on the business of publishing; discussing the structural issues concerning publishing, bank finance, volume and scalability etc.

     

    Speakers: Dr Shubhada Rao, Henry Rosenbloom, Bikash Niyogi, Manas Saikia, Atiya Zaidi and Aditi Maheshwari
    Moderator: Naresh Khanna

    3.30 PM – 4.00 PM TEA

    4:00 PM-5:00 PM-SESSION 2

    DIGITAL PLATFORMS: THE UNTAPPED TERRITORIES

    From social media to distribution, what should publishing professionals be aware of in their rapidly changing industry? Kindles, Kobos, iPads and audiobooks; what does all this new technology mean for the industry from writers to editors, marketers to consumers?

    Speakers: Nicolas Idier, Niyam Bhushan, Rajiv Mehta, Ajit Baral and Vishal Anand
    Moderator: Arpita Das
    Session Supported by: NewsHunt

    5.00PM – 6.00PM – SESSION 3

    LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES: TIME TRAVELERS EXTRAORDINAIRE
    An IGNCA supported Open Forum, on the convergence of Libraries, Archives and Museums. With more access to information available online than ever before, regardless of location, what new role could and should libraries and archives play in making information accessible to all?

    Speakers: Dipali Khanna, Alberto Manguel, Nicholson Baker, Dr. Venu Vasudevan and Shantanu Ganguly
    Moderator: Bharti Sinha
    Session supported by: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts

    6:00 PM-7:00 PM DRINKS

    Day 2: 22nd January 2015

    10.30AM TEA/COFFEE

    10.45 AM – 11.30 AM – SESSION 1

    WHO IS THE BOOK?
    ‘More than 48 printed pages and bound within 2 covers’, is that the book or is there more to it? On the changing format and technology of the book in an increasingly interactive environment.

    Ralph Mollers in conversation with Sirish Rao; introduced by Ute Reimer-Boehner

    11.30 AM- 12.30 PM – SESSION 2

    RETHINKING TRANSLATION: RELOCATING THE CENTRE

    How do we translate content across multi-media and digital borders including e-books, audio books, graphic texts and cross-media conversions?

    Speakers: Vera Michalski, Satti Khanna, Mahua Mitra, Rick Simonson, Shona Martyn and Manasi Subramaniam
    Moderator: Renuka Chatterjee

    12.30 PM-1.30 PM SESSION 3

    SOUTH-SOUTH COLLABORATIONS: A CONVERSATION WITH AUSTRALIAN PUBLISHERS

    Increasingly, publishers in the global south are beginning to work directly with each other; literary festivals and bookfairs in southern countries are now choosing to focus also on southern authors. In a free ranging conversation, Australian publishers and literary entrepreneurs talk about new collaborations and new relationships.

    Speakers: Ivor Indyk, Terri-Ann White, David Ryding, Kate McCormack, Wendy Were and Meredith Curnow
    Moderator: Urvashi Butalia

    1.30 PM-2.30 PM LUNCH

    2.30 PM-3.30 PM SESSION 4

    CONTENT IS QUEEN

    The book is no longer just a book–it is now a basis for film, video games, interactive reading, collective writing and so much more. With book formats morphing and mutating how will content adapt to survive?

    Speakers: Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Prasoon Joshi, Sandip Sen and Renu Kaul
    Moderator: Karthika V.K.

    3.30 PM-4.00 PM TEA

    4.00 PM – 5.00PM-SESSION 5

    TOWARDS A NATIONAL READING POLICY

    A viable reading policy involves encouraging reading, creating an infrastructure to make books available and finally providing books. What role can States and private actors play to overcome the gap between policies and their implementation?

    Speakers: Oliver Moystad, M A Sikandar, Prof. Apoorvanand and Prof. Avdhesh Kumar Singh
    Moderator: Manisha Chaudhry
    Session supported by: National Book Trust

    5 PM CLOSING CEREMONY

    6 PM-7 PM DRINKS (those who wish to leave for DSC South Asian Literature prize at Diggi Palace may proceed)

    Participants are free to network in the Rights Chaupal.

    To register, please visit the Jaipur Literature Festival website at: http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/registration/jaipur-bookmark-registration

    and click on the Register button.

    Registration would include delegate status for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival specified to the date.

    Rs 3,500/- per day or Rs 6,000/- for two days per person

    For further queries, please contact: jaipurbookmark@teamworkarts.com

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaipurBookMark?fref=ts

    Bolbosh

    Bolbosh

    ( This is an email invitation I received from Namita Gokhale, Co-Director, Jaipur Literature Festival. I am circulating the invitation with permission.)

    Balbosh

    Dear All,
    Join us for the launch of a special website at the Oxford Book Store, New Delhi– N 81 Connaught Place, New Delhi on Tuesday, the 5th of August, 6:30 pm onward. 
     
    Bolbosh in Kashmiri means communication in a very endearing way, such as that of birds and children. 
    Created by Asiya Zahoor, the website, Bolbosh is an archive of aesthetically rich and culturally significant literature from the Baramulla region written in languages such as Balti, Pahari, Ladakhi, Shina and Dorgi, Gujri and Kashmiri. Apart from this, it also contains an online Kashmiri dictionary, which has been compiled with the diligent efforts of various scholars and students from Kashmir University and Baramulla Degree College.
     
    Warm regards,
    Namita Gokhale

    1 August 2014 

    Some links from JLF 2013 and 2014, worth revisiting

    Some links from JLF 2013 and 2014, worth revisiting

    JLF logoHere are some links from the Jaipur Literature Festival 2013 and 2014 available on YouTube that I have enjoyed watching. Enjoy! 

    17 June 2014

    The Interpreter of Stories ( Jhumpa Lahiri) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EMURLpvgwU
    The Global Novel ( Jim Crace, Franzen, Chandrahas Choudhary, Jhumpa Lahiri, Xiao Lau, Tayie Selasi etc) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_BqqA0xnpI
    The age of wonder/ The Victorians : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sMKfN0gyXs 
     
     
     
     
    Jesus the Man, Jesus the Politician : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb5Zoy-HV58 
     
    Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4tgMx9R4yU 
     
    Love and War: Literature, Danger and Passion in the WWII : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mrHmn4NN20 
     
     
    The traveller’s tree: Patrick Leigh Fermor : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EutBDe-8cHE 
     
    Storytelling around the world : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVzF1QJXko0 
     
    JLF 2013 
     
     
    Who will rule the world? : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI-rTEFMdR4 
     
    Restless Women : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcXsvlRdeoM  (women trekkers)