New literature festival at WeSchool

  • Nisha Shroff, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Oct 08, 2014 20:14 IST

If you are an avid reader of Indian authors, you might be interested in a new literary festival that celebrates Indian writing in English. Being organised by advertising agency ThinkWhyNot, the three-day event will be held at management school WeSchool, Matunga from October 10 to 12.

“While there are many lit fests in the city, none of them focus solely on the genre of Indian writing. We want to showcase the diversity of Indian literature,” says CEO of advertising agency ThinkWhyNot Sangram Surve, Litomania’s festival director. “Students will have access to sessions from renowned Indian writers, spanning various genres. Ravi Subramanian will hold a session on fiction writing, Amish Tripathi on mythology and pastry chef Pooja Dhingra on culinary writing, for instance.”

Students can interact with authors and attend genre-specific panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses. Another unique event called Litomania-on-Wheels will have literature enthusiasts board a special double-decker bus with an author on board, which will travel from Gateway in Colaba to the venue in Matunga.

The festival will also launch a Litomania mobile app, through which readers can access fresh content from top authors between book launches.

With about 2,000 participants expected at the festival, here’s a look at what’s in store.

Genre-specific sessions

A panel discussion titled ‘When writing mythology, does the writing change the writer?’, will have authors Amish Tripathi, , Ashwin Sanghi, Christopher Doyle and journalist Mini Menon as speakers.

“This discussion will examine the craft of contemporary, mythological writing, and what effect, if any, the writing has on the author,” says Sanghi, who is the author of Chanakya’s Chant, a novel about the Brahmin pandit, set in 340 BC. “This genre forces the writer to re-examine some of your personal beliefs. I find that many of my opinions do undergo transformation after a book is completed.”

As a mythological writer, a writer needs certain qualities in research and a focus on storytelling rather than writing, and is faced with the challenge of examining ancient stories in a contemporary light.

Another panel discussion will delve into the art of culinary writing, with chefs Sanjeev Kapoor, Pooja Dhingra and Masterchef India winner Shipra Khanna.

“There are various kinds of culinary books you can write, from a food memoir to a recipe book,” says Dhingra, who has authored recipe book The Big Book of Treats. “You need to be able to translate flavours and textures into words. You also have to understand your market, and tailor your writing to make it simple – in the case of a recipe book, you also need to be absolutely clear, so that your recipes are easy to execute.”

The workshops

Participants can attend a workshop on churning out fiction in 140-characters, by Chintan Ruparel, co-founder of Terribly Tiny Tales – a popular storytelling platform for tweet-sized tales. Ruparel will highlight the need for brevity in an age of disappearing attention-spans, followed by impromptu writing exercises with the audience.

“We plan to publish a few standout tales from the workshop. This kind of concise writing will open new windows for participants, who will learn to express themselves in bite-sized stories,” says Ruparel. “Attention spans are getting shorter. Memes and quotes are mobile-friendly. Naturally, they rule the social web currently. Regardless of the platform or medium, writing concisely will always be a key discipline for any writer, especially when writing for advertisements or for the internet.”

At another workshop for young adults, Preeti Vyas, founder of publishing house FunOKPlease, will discuss the nuances of the publishing process, from finding the right illustrator to deciding a number of pages. Vyas will also ask participants to edit a book and bring it down to a certain word limit, followed by a brainstorming session on aspects such as cover design, launch plan and the marketing of the book.

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At masterclasses, aspiring writers can learn about publishing a fiction novel by writer Ravi Subramanian, and turning a book into a film by publicist Caleb Franklin.

The festival will also showcase evening performances by musicians Shantanu Moitra, and Swanand Kirkire and stand-up comic Vikram Sathaye and Sorabh Pant. Participants can also help create a book-art installation through the Litomania Gift-a-Book Art Challenge.

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