Jeet Thayil, one of the six shortlisted authors for this year's Man Booker Prize, was the cynosure of all eyes at the Delhi leg of the Kovalam Literary Festival (KLF) at India International Centre on Wednesday. The fest saw eight authors reading out their latest works and some intense literary debates.
Thayil, 53, read out a slice from a single sentence that spans across six-and-a-half pages.
Talking about self-censorship by many authors, he also chose to read a portion that was replete with a common Indian swear word that seldom comes up in Indo-Anglian literature.
Writer-publisher David Davidar endorsed Thayil's Narcopolis as a milestone book.
Roderick Mathews, author of Jinnah Vs. Gandhi, said that much has been written about Gandhi, and it prompted him to give Jinnah "a decent shot" in his latest work that came after reading "25 to 30 books" on both the leaders.
At another session, Farrukh Dhondy read portions from his latest book London Company, narrating his earlier years in London.
The inaugural session featured Monisha Rajesh speaking at length about how warmth and helpfulness of the Indians lent unique colour to her rail journeys across India two-and-a-half years ago - mostly on crowded second-class coaches.
The session also saw diplomat Sangeeta Bahadur, talking about her six-year research for her novel Jaal.
Young Israeli writer Sarai Shavit, 30, spoke how her visits to India lent a sense of peace, and led her to write India Express, a novel that deals with family conflicts.
"The festival is an attempt to promote emerging writers from south Asia. But now we have expanded its horizons as it sees writers from all over the world," said writer Binoo K. John, founder-director of the annual festival, which will now travel to Thiruvananthapuram for its final leg on October 6 and 7.