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Mumbai’s only international lit fest back today

Some of the biggest literary names will be in Mumbai this week, and not en route to Jaipur.

mumbai Updated: Nov 03, 2011 01:23 IST
Aarefa Johari
Aarefa Johari
Hindustan Times

Some of the biggest literary names will be in Mumbai this week, and not en route to Jaipur.

From Shashi Tharoor and Vikram Seth to William Darlymple, Thomas Friedman and British poet Neil Astley, they will release books, hold discussions and participate in musical book readings at the second annual edition of Mumbai’s only international literature festival, the Tata Literature Live Mumbai Litfest.

Launched last November by author and journalist Anil Dharker, Literature Live will be hosted at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) from November 3 to 6. The aim of the festival, says Dharker, is to feed Mumbai’s interest in literary culture.

“I started Literature Live because I realised that, of all the cities in India, Mumbai ought to have a literary festival,” says Dharker. “This city is cosmopolitan, has a great tradition of Marathi and Gujarati literature, and is the place where a number of Indian English authors have set their books.”

The most intriguing element of the schedule is the mélange of literature and music, featuring poets and authors from around the world.

“Variety is key to a literature festival, so it is interesting to go beyond the average book reading and find new ways to bring literature to people,” says author William Dalrymple, whose readings from The Last Mughal on November 3 will be accompanied by ghazals sung by vocalist Vidya Shah, to evoke the aura of the Mughal era.

Dharker has also instituted two annual awards as part of Literature Live: a ‘First Book’ award for debut Indian authors and a ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award.“Festivals create a buzz around writers,” says Dharker, “and serious literature requires such magnets to draw audiences.”

First Published: Nov 03, 2011 01:20 IST