The 8th edition of BLF hosts an eclectic mix of authors that includes names like Simon Taufel, Pankaj Kapur, Anuja Chauhan and others

The Bangalore Literature Festival returns to create a dialogue on everything from fiction and history, to climate change and mental health

author_img Ayesha Tabassum and Anagha M Published :  08th November 2019 06:07 PM   |   Published :   |  08th November 2019 06:07 PM
Audience at an earlier edition of BLF

Audience at an earlier edition of BLF

For the past seven years, the Bangalore Literature Festival has aimed to foster meaningful dialogue and healthy debates in the city about pertinent topics. Now in its eighth edition, the fest is back with a plethora of names such as author Vikram Sampath, environmentalist Tim Flannery, Sri Lankan science fiction author Yudhanjaya Wijeratne, and Lithuanian children’s illustrator-author duo Lina Itagaki and Jurga Vil. The fest also features a Children|Literature|Fun - (C|L|F) segment and a LitMart - a pitching platform for aspiring authors. We chat with some of the speakers at the event about what to expect.

Simon Taufel, Umpire and Author, Finding The Gaps
What prompted you to write Finding The Gaps?
I am passionate about trying to help others get unstuck, explore their potential and get to be world class. I am also big on sharing and see a big need to resource the future leaders with my learnings from high-performance sport.

What do you want readers to take away from your book and discussion at the fest?
I am really promoting my messages and learnings, not the book. The book is only a vehicle. It would be great if the readers could see that I am just a normal person who applied the strategies and learnings in my book and got to be number one and stayed there for several years.

Why do you think, off late, a lot is being chronicled, particularly in the field of cricket?
I could be cynical and simply point to the commercial reasons, but for me, it could be to leverage off the great love that the public here have for the game and their continued thirst for insights into their idols.

Anuja Chauhan, Author, The Zoya Factor
You are among the top best-selling authors in India... does this put a lot of pressure on you and your writing?

No such thing! But the fact that I’ve written five books and that I have a readership that expects a certain quality of output from me, does put pressure on me. So the pressure is from my own body of work. I have to worry about not repeating myself and starting fresh.

Do you miss being a full-time copywriter?
I do miss the pampered life I led as a copywriter! With a huge organisation backing me, booking tickets and filing income tax returns and so on. And the gossip! I really really miss office gossip and office politics.

What’s your upcoming book about?
The tentative title is GutCall. It’s about two very different sort of people with very different world views. What are you looking forward to at the Bangalore Literature Festival? Writing is a lonely job so it’s always great to interact with readers and fellow-writers!

Bilal Siddiqi, Author, The Bard Of Blood
What topic will you be speaking about at the festival?

I will be speaking about my book, the journey that led to the book and eventually the web series. When I penned the book at the age of 19, little did I know that I would see it turn into a published novel, let alone a Netflix series. There is a wave of TV and web series adaptations.

What does that mean for writers like you?
Writers like me are living in exciting times. It’s always a good thing when a book is adapted since it reaches out to a wider audience.

What projects are you working on now?
I’ve completed my fourth book. Another espionage thriller which is very different from The Bard of Blood.

Deepthi Talwar, Editor, Westland Publications
As a publisher what are your thoughts on Lit Mart? Has it helped you find good writers?

We haven’t yet signed on anyone who has pitched at Lit Mart, but it’s a great forum for us to hear from first-time authors. There are always interesting ideas being presented, even if not all of them culminate in a published book.

What are publishers looking for now?
Do you think the focus will shift towards jingoistic writing? There’s a range of genres that are doing well, from mythology to politics, and we’re looking to publish in all of them. I don’t think the focus will entirely shift to jingoistic writing – I do think there have and will be books that explore the theme from both sides of the fence.

How does one pitch her/his idea to a publisher?
Writers can get in touch with us either through a literary agent or directly. We ask for a summary and the manuscript. We’re looking for good fiction stories, exciting non-fiction, well-written books that will resonate with a large number of readers.

Nov 9, 10 am: Pankaj Kapur reads from his new novella, Dopehri
Nov 9, 10.45 am: Making sense of Trump, a talk between Ed Luce and Keshava Guha
Nov 9, 8 pm: Yoga Vs Bhoga, a talk by Devdutt Pattanaik
Nov 10, 10.30 am: India 2047 - Many Indias Possible, Ian McDonald in conversation with TG Shenoy Nov 10, 12.15 pm: Gulshan Grover talks about his new book, Bad Man
Nov 10, 3.30 pm: Can Seaweed Save the Climate? A talk by Tim Flannery