As promised, here’s all the scoop on what you must not miss at the Times Litfest Bengaluru, presented by ACT Fibernet, that’s going to be held at Jayamahal Palace in Bengaluru from 10th-12th February.
The main weekend festival will be preceded by 2 Masterclasses and 2 Literary Dinners at the Chancery Pavilion on 10th February, 2017. The literary dinners allow for audiences to interact with the writers in a more intimate setting and understand their work in depth. Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, South Asia, will be part of one, while William Dalrymple will be part of the other. Dalrymple recently co-wrote Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, which among other things talks about all the people who died because they had or wanted the rock.
The nicely complementary pair of workshops, also on the 10th of February at the Chancery Pavilion, are definitely something to look forward to: Krys Lee, who wrote the controversial and unexpectedly political How I Accidentally Became a North Korean, will teach you how to begin your own journey as a writer – a Step by Step guide on how to start your book. Author Krishna Udayasankar of The Aryavarta Chronicles fame will teach you how to know when your manuscript is complete.
The main festival, themed “Aham I Am”, kicks off on the 11th of February at Jayamahal Palace. The first day will see, among other exciting events, a panel discussion with Anuja Chauhan, Nikita Singh and Paromita Vohra on romance writing and Indian fiction. Later, Anita Nair, Aditya Sinha and Arjun Raj Gaind will be talking about the idea of the noir hero today. Prayaag Akbar will also be in conversation with Nandini Sundar about her latest book, The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar.
In a session excitingly called Divine Rock Stars, Krishna Udayasankar will be in conversation Paromita Vohra on love, gender and sexuality in mythology, while later in the evening Gowthaman Ranganathan, Apurva Asrani and Vasudhendra will discuss LGBTQ rights and coming out in the current Indian climate. Day 1 ends with a tribute to Shakespeare by Kirtana Kumar’s theatre group to mark Shakespeare’s 400th death anniversary.
On 12th February, Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni, Prayaag Akbar, Ashok Ferrey and Anand Krishna will explore journeys between real-life and fiction in a session moderated by Samhita Arni. Aishwaryaa R Dhanush talk about her memoir and the phenomenon that is Rajinikanth with Naman Ramachandran, while siblings Vir Das and Trisha Das are going to discuss her new book, Ms Draupadi Kuru in a session hilariously called Das Capital.
Arshia Sattar, Revant Himatsingka, Krupa GE and Sarnath Banerjee are going to be finding out what writers really like to read and what their secret reading guilty pleasures are early in the day, and Wendell Rodricks, Prasad Bidapa, Waseem Khan and Shwetha Jaishankar will talk fashion in the news. In another session, you’ll see Sharanya Manivannan moderating a discussion with Tracey Ann Morton from Denmark and Korean author Krys Lee on the art of short story writing.
Sheila Keys and Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar will be discussing how the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States intersects with the concerns of the Dalit and Adivasi community in India. Anita Nair will also read from her new book Muezza and Babyjaan, which has stories for children from the Koran.
And of course, don’t miss Nisha Susan in conversation with Paromita Vohra, Sharanya Manivannan, Samhita Arni, KrishnaKrishna Udayasankar and Shwetha Jaishankar on women writing themselves – in a session’s called: Bitch, Please.
Basically, there’s lots of fun stuff happening at the Times Bengaluru Litfest and we’re going to be covering it all as it happens. Watch this space for exclusive pre-event interviews and our live coverage of the festival. More details here.
This article originally noted that Gautam Bhan would be part of a panel on LGBT rights. This has been corrected to reflect that Gowthaman Ranganathan was on the panel.