As the stars of Indian Writing in English descend in the city for a two day seminar-cum-utsav on the image of the writer in literature, Dibyajyoti Sarma charts up the reasons to celebrate
Looks like its raining literary festivals these days. First it was the Jaipur Festival in January, which saw the who’s who of literature, especially Indian Writing in English from Salman Rushdie to William Dalrymple coming together in a typical festive atmosphere. Come the last half of February, it’s Kitab Festival: International Literature and Media Festival in Mumbai, with an impressive lineup of writers and critics.
Closer home, Pune is also gearing up to celebrate literature in a festive mood as well, as Sahitya Academi and Open Space with the cooperation of Ferguson College present a two-day seminar-cum-utsav entitled ‘The Image of the Writer in Literature.’ To be held at the audio visual room of Ferguson College on February 11 and 12, the list of participants for the event may not be as impressive as those in Jaipur or Mumbai, yet it boasts of having a few well known names, Keki N Daruwala, GJV Prasad, Mamang Dai, Urvashi Butalia, Baby Haldar and Alok Bhalla, apart from the city based writers such as Priya Sarukkai-Chabria, Arshia Sattar and Randhir Khare, among others. At the outset, the seminar proposes to discuss at least four topics, all related to different aspects of the writer in literature.
Before you dismiss the event as something academic, there are other things that may interest you. Apart from beings a get together of the bigwigs of literature, the event will also see two book launch sessions as well as two sessions of readings.
Last year, Talking Poetry, a part of the Open Space website, published a small booklet of poems (originally published on the Web and edited by Priya Sarukkai-Chabria), called ‘All Poetry is Protest.’ The year, the booklet grows into a full-fledged anthology, containing 50 poems by 50 poems, both by old and new. The book will be launched on February 11. The next day will see the launch of three volumes of Indian Contemporary Play series published by Sahitya Academy. The event will also see Bengali writer Baby Haldar in conversation with feminist critic Urvashi Butalia.
However, the main focus of the event is to understand the writer in the context of his writing. English poet P B Shelley wrote: “Poets are the unacknowledged legislator of the world.” The statement sounds very romantic in today’s context. Yet the question remains, how does Indian literature look at the fictional character of the writer? This is the question that the event seek to fathom.
For both the days, morning sessions will include the presentation of papers by academics, critics and writers while evening sessions will comprise of readings, plays and interactive sessions with writers and the public. The writers presenting a paper include Randhir Khare, Sridala Swami, Temsula Ao, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, GJV Prasad, Anju Makhija, Urvashi Butalia, Mamang Dai, Arshia Sattar, Keki Daruwalla, and Alok Bhalla.
The event, at the Audio Visual Room, Ferguson College on February 11 and 12, is open to all on the first come first serve basis.
So, ready to meet the writers out there and the writer in you?
Sunday, 11 February, 2007
The Writer and Subversive Narratives
The Writer and Personae
Launch of Open Spaces: Fifty Poets, Fifty Poems anthology followed by readings by anthology poets
Baby Haldar in conversation with Urvashi Butalia
Monday, 12 February, 2007
The Writer and the Modern World
The Writer and the Self
Launch of 3 volumes of Indian Contemporary Play series in English, edited
by Alok Bhalla and Anju Makhija, published by Sahitya Akademi
Readings in different genres by participating writers