Lekhana 2019 returns with the theme, The Refracted Self. Here's what to expect:

The event features talks by Shashi Deshpande, Ramachandra Guha, Indira Chandrasekhar and others 

Anagha M Published :  29th November 2019 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  29th November 2019 12:00 AM

Ramachandra Guha

The organisers of Lekhana do not like to call it a literature festival, but a ‘literary weekend’, and that’s just one of the many things that sets it apart from the several other fests in the country. “Unlike a typical lit fest, Lekhana’s programming isn’t driven by the market and new releases. Instead, the events highlight different writers, texts and discourses under one particular theme. In a sense, it is more a gathering of literature lovers, than a festival,” says Poorna Swami, one of the organisers. This weekend, Lekhana 2019 kicks off with the theme ‘The Refracted Self’ with talks by eminent authors from the city and beyond. 

While this theme translates to a focus on autobiographies and memoirs, the talks are not limited to these genres. Conversations will revolve around texts and narratives that deliberately rupture and fragment notions of self and identity. Panels include Memories of Paradise: Loss and Longing in Kashmiri Writing, and The Poet’s Heart. “A highlight of this year is a tribute to Girish Karnad,” Poorna says, adding, “The panel discussion A Horse, A Snake and a Heap of Broken Images, will focus on three of Karnad’s plays: Hayavadana, Nagamandala, and Broken Images. These plays actively use the self as a trope that is distorted, confronted, and constructed in different ways.” 

The event starts with veteran author Shashi Deshpande, who will be in conversation with scientist and fiction writer, Indira Chandrasekhar. The talk will be about the former’s memoir, Listen to Me. Another principle event is a lecture by Ramachandra Guha on MK Gandhi’s autobiography, titled Gandhi and His Experiments with Truth: the Exposed Self, that focuses on Gandhi as an author. In the panel discussion titled The Refracted Self: Memoir, Biography and Life Writing, US-based writers Prince Shakur and Allison Amend will talk about using life writing in works of fiction. “I’ll be speaking specifically about the ways in which the universal truths I’m seeing in my own life get translated into literature. I’m also interested in how the intricate examination of character in fiction mimics a self-examination,” Allison shares.

Lekhana was started to bring together the city’s different literary worlds to converse, share ideas, and listen, and this aim carries forward with this edition as well. “Drawing on the language of science that the theme ‘Refracted Self’ touches, I would say Lekhana is a condensation, a crystallisation, and a coming together of writers in mutual poise and equilibrium. Such finely thought-out gatherings generate strength, openness and dialogue in the literary community and reinforce the power and meaning of art and literature,” author Indira sums up. 

Entry free. November 29 - December 1. At The Jamun, RMV Extension and Champaca, Edward Road
— Anagha M