Lassi with Lavina Guide to Upcoming Events
IAAC Literary Festival in New York
On the very first day you have Shashi Tharoor and Somini Sengupta in conversation with Suketu Mehta talking about ‘India Today, India tomorrow’. It should be a talk worth listening to, with Somini Sengupta, who is a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, having a remarkable first book out: “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young.” When the conversation is with Shashi Tharoor, who has had many diverse avatars and is the author of fifteen books, you know it’s going to be thought-provoking. And the icing on the literary cake is Suketu Mehta, whose ‘Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found’ still has readers under its spell.
The grand finale on the 9th is a talk by someone who is not an author but whom writers love to write about – US Attorney Preet Bharara, also known as the Sheriff of Wall Street, who has been at the center of so many major criminal cases – he discusses corruption in various avenues. This is a rare chance to hear him speak and hear some fascinating stories.
In between these two book-ends of opening and closing events are enough names and genres to delight every book-lover. The topics range from politics to romance, movies to art and culture, young adult literature to mystery. You will get introduced to many new books and authors. One of the highlights is a father and son event, with brilliant new author Kanishk Tharoor being interviewed on his critically acclaimed debut book ‘Swimmer Among the Stars’ by his own father, the noted author Shashi Tharoor.
Who wouldn’t want to listen in to a conversation between noted journalist Barkha Dutt and Suketu Mehta on the state of India? Dutt’s debut book ‘This Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines” bring into focus the India she sees daily, the stories of unrest and oppression, the heroes and villains, the unvarnished India. Sure, there will be a lot of food for thought.
Barkha Dutt will also be in conversation in another session titled ‘Politics and Turmoil’ with some topnotch political journalists turned authors – Salil Tripathi, Kanchan Chandra with Chidanand Rajghatta.Several new books will be introduced at the fest and you will get to meet some of your favorite writers and many new ones including Marina Budhos, noted author of several books including the new book ‘Watched’ who talks with Rohit Gaur, author of ‘The Temple Wars’ and Ram Sivasankaran, author of ‘The Peshwa: The Lion and The Stallion”. There was a time when young south Asians had no literature to call their own but as the three authors discuss, there are many historical and spiritual journeys taking place via young adult literature now.
Yes, you’ll even get a chance to check out ‘The Secret Diary of Kasturba Gandhi” by Nilima Dalmia Adhar: “He is the Mahatma, a man the world venerates as a prophet of peace. But for Kastur, the child bride who married the boy next door, Mohandas was a sexually-driven, self-righteous and overbearing husband.” Certainly, writers are speaking their minds and not staying with hagiographies and that makes their subjects much more accessible and human.So whether poetry is your passion or Anglo-Indian literature, mystery or math, there is a session just for you. There’s even a discussion on the work of Mathematics prodigy Srinivas Ramanujan by Fields medal Mathematician Manjul Bhargava with Ken Ono, Professor of Mathematics at Emory University.
And if you’re interested in stars of the silver screen variety, film journalist Aseem Chhabra discusses his new book, ‘Shashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star’ on one of the most individualistic actors, Shashi Kapoor, who left such a mark on the Indian film industry.
The Lit Fest also has a lot for those who might like to transition from being readers to authors and get published themselves. Sree Sreenivasan, who was named by Mayor Bill de Blasio as the next Chief Digital Officer of New York City, is everyone’s tech guru and conducts a very useful workshop on demystifying the digital universe and making literary work more accessible.For aspiring authors there’s even an hour with publishers, listening to panelists which include editors and moderated by a literary agent, getting the lowdown on how to find an established publisher and successfully market their books.
Finally, what’s better than just books? Books and booze! The IAAC has also organized a Literary Pub Crawl of several Greenwich Village bars which are rich with literary lore. These tours are at 8 pm on Saturday. For more details on the Literary Festival check out: Literary Festival Schedule