No matter how many cultural extravaganzas namma Bengaluru hosts across the year, literary meets always have a special place in our hearts. Putting a happy ending to our wait for one such event, Bangalore Literature Festival is back in the city with its 12th edition this weekend. The festival features almost 300 speakers, five programme forums and three children’s venues.
However, the most intriguing part of this year’s selection seems to be the range of topics set to be touched upon at the sessions. From feminism and food to technology and translations. And speaking on them would be eminent personalities like Amish Tripathi, Anand Neelkantan, Anita Nair, Anuja Chauhan, Carl Malamud, Devdutt Pattanaik, Huma Qureshi, Ramachandra Guha, Krish Ashok, Paramita Satpathy and Tarana Husain Khan.
Ahead of the festival, we talk to three such speakers and festival curator Shinie Antony, to discover them and unearth what you might expect at their sessions. Excerpts:
How is this year’s edition different?
Every festival is different from the other, even if the organisers and audiences remain the same because the speakers, writers, artists and performers keep changing. There are writers this year whose first books have become phenomenal. The Kannada programming, by team member Prateeti Ballal, is intensive. We have added one more venue to the festival, thus taking it to five. And of course, the children’s section is going to wow you.
How did you curate the speakers and sessions this year?
The curation is based on inputs from readers and publishers throughout the year. Books that stunned us, books that sold out, books that made us pause and think... Authors with new books, authors whose books have themes the festival is talking about and any book or author by whom the team is blown away.
You have successfully penned several audiobooks. How is writing for audiobooks different from your usual writing process?
Some stories are meant to be read while a few others are meant to be listened to. I had this realisation as I worked on my very first audio story. So, writing an audiobook turned out to be very different from my usual writing process. Apart from the dynamic thrust of the story, the aural quality of the words and sentence patterns make a vital difference.
Has being a software engineer helped you understand the science behind cooking in any way? Software Thinking is a foundational skill that allows you to take just any discipline, break it down into modular component parts, understand how they interact with each other and also progressively get from simple to complex ideas without any non-scalable peaks along the way. So yes, it has helped me become a better cook and also understand the meta models and patterns of cooking in a much better and easier way.
What do you think about the food writing landscape in contemporary India?
Food writing in India is not a new genre. Madhur Jaffrey’s books had a delicious combination of folklore, memoir and recipes while KT Acharya wrote his seminal historical companion of food. The niche genre of food writing with a heady combination of history, culture, politics and family history came into its own with the well-researched writings by Chitrita Bannerji, Priyadarshini Chatterjee and Colleen Taylor Sen among others. Suddenly food writing was no longer primarily the cookbook genre. Looking at the wonderful writing emerging out of the Indian sub-continent, I feel the food writing curve is on its upswing.
Entry free. December 2-3, 9 am onwards. At The Lalit Ashok, Seshadripuram
Also read: Green Literature Festival returns to Bengaluru for the third edition of earthly embrace