Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2012

Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2012 !

Mumbai: Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest makes  its  third  appearance  at  NCPA  from October 31 to November 4. The festival, now considered one of India’s two best literary  festivals, is even bigger and more ambitious this year, with over 100 participants, as many as 30 of them from overseas.

The star attraction is undoubtedly Sir Vidia S. Naipaul, the Literature Nobel Prize winner, who  will be presented the Landmark Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tata on the 31stevening.

Another  much  sought  after  prize  is  the  Tata  First  Book  Award. Who  will  be  the  five nominations?  Who  will  win  the  prize?  The  Long  List  is  already  out.  The  Short  List  will  be revealed  just  before  the  LitFest,  while  the  winner  will  be  announced  on  the  very  last  day  of  the  festival.  The  decision  for  the  first  book  rests  heavily  on  the  shoulders  of  an  eminent  jury of  authors,  writers  and  publishers,  viz,  ,  Editor Dileep Padgaonkar, social commentator Santosh Desai, author Siddharth Dhanvant Shangvi, CEO Landmark, Ashutosh Pandey and author and Festival Director, Literature Live! Anil Dharker.

The  five  days  of  the  festival  are  absolutely  packed  with  one  session  more  interesting  than  the other,  so  that  it  will  be  difficult  for  members  to  decide  which  one  to  attend,  and  which  one  to leave out. Naseeruddin Shah and Astad Deboo will perform, as will foreign participants with performances much acclaimed abroad but not seen in India.

Each  day  will  be  an  intellectual  smorgasbord  of  events  ranging  from  engaging  panel discussions, book  launches,  open  house  conversations  with  eminent  authors,  publishers  and literary agents, poetry readings and straight talks. The last is a new addition in terms of sessions where  giants  in  their  fields,  people  like, Faramerz Dabhoiwala whose  book  The Origins of Sex has been making waves in the West. Scott Carney is one of the world’s leading investigative journalists  and  his  recent  book  exposes  the  dark side of trafficking in human organs.  Also expected  at  the  festival  is  eminent American psychologist James Fallon, whose  study  of  the minds of psychopaths and dictators is considered a seminal work in the field. Also present will be Professor Juliet Mitchell of Cambridge University whose  psycho-analytical  studies  of feminism and sibling rivalry are landmarks in their fields.

Amongst the many brilliant minds who will be speakers and panelists will be  Shashi Tharoor whose  just  released  book  Pax Indica  is  an  engaging  study  of  India’s  foreign  relations,  the ever-engaging  Shobhaa De, Ashok Banker  whose  new  book  marks  a  surprising  change  from his  mythological  series.  Many  leading  poets  from  India  (Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Ranjit
Hoskote, Gieve Patel, Arundhati Subramaniam),  will  read  along  with  established  English poets, (Glynn Maxwell and Ruth Padel). Making a rare public appearance will be  Marianne Pearl (whose  book  about  her  slain  husband  Daniel  Pearl  was  made  into  the  film A Mighty Heart). Lending a spiritual heft to the festival will be Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev, while Pakistani
writers  (Mohd Hanif, Moni Mohsin)  will  present  their  views  from  across  the  border.  Also participating will be writers from Australia, Canada and Slovenia.

This year Literature Live! has added the Godrej Theatre to accommodate spillover audience from  The Experimental Theatre. This means that people who do not find seating at The Experimental  will  be  able  to  watch  the  same  event  at  the  same  time,  comfortably  on  a  large  screen  at  The  Godrej  Theatre.  Similarly,  extending  the  scope  and  scale  this  year,  Literature  Live!  will  also have a string of exciting sessions at The Little Theatre which will run concurrently with those at The Experimental Theatre.

The  evening  performances  promise  a  wonderful  marriage  between  literature  and  performance. These  performances  which  will  take  place  at  the  Tata  Theatre  will   have an  impressive  lineup of  acts  from  both  India  and  abroad.  While  Astad Deboo  and  his  troupe’s  acclaimed  rendition
of Tagore’s poems will mark the finale of the festival, there will be many other exciting shows every  evening.  Like Shakespeare R&B by London based group, Akala which presents Shakespeare in hip hop style.  Chris Larner’s  poignant  play,  An Instinct for Kindness about  euthanasia  will  bring  to  Mumbai  a  production  which  earned  rave  reviews  in  London.
Our own Naseeruddin Shah will put together a project which he has dreamed about for long:  a rich enactment of  Vikram Seth’s poems from  The Beastly Tales and stories about James Thurber’s dogs.

There’s more. During the festival, Literatue Live! will stage a series of performances at various  venues, like Martin Kiszko’s Green Poems for a Blue Planet, delighting children and adults  alike,  Inua Ellams, one of the world’s best known performance poets. To cap it all, there will be a performance of Hayavadana, Girish Karnad’s iconic classic in the round at the open-air
Chauraha, which promises to be a unique experience, especially because the playwright himself  will be present.

This year for the first time Literature Live! has introduced  a series of workshops on different subjects:  like food and travel writing, poetry, fiction, memoirs and other subjects. To bring in the future generation of literature lovers, workshops are also planned for children.

As  with  every  literature  festival,  one  of  the  highlights  lies  in  informal  meetings  with  writers  and with author signings. Many opportunities for these interactions will be available during the festival, while Landmark will ensure that current and earlier books of participating writers will be available for sale at special book shops at The Tata and The Experimental theatres.

As in the past, entry to the festival will be free and on a first come first served basis. Last year’s experience shows that if you want to ensure that you will get a seat, it’s best to come  as early as possible. More details about entry and schedules can be checked on the festival  webs and  Facebook: and on litlive.