about writing and other such passionate matters

BOOKMARK THE WORLD with TATA LITERATURE LIVE! – Mumbai’s favemost litfest

Because the Constitution of India confers on its citizens the Freedom of Speech and Expression does it mean that:

  • You can abuse anyone whose opinions are different from yours?
  • Ask for books/plays/movies/other events to be banned just because you consider the content to be objectionable?
  • The media can sensationalize certain news items to grab eyeballs while downplaying the others?

And so it was that on the 20th of this month, bestselling author Ravi Subramanian, cultural curator Deepa Gahlot and Literature Live! founder Anil Dharker interacted with a bunch of bloggers on “Is Freedom of Speech Threatening Democracy Itself” in which the above questions and more were dissected and discussed.

This event, held on a sultry evening, at Café Zoe, was a run-up to THE SIXTH EDITION of TATA Literature Live! Mumbai’s fave literary fest.


Ravi Subramanian was for complete personal freedom, be it religious or sexual and for strong punishment to be meted out to the key perps involved in curbing others’ freedoms. Deepa Gahlot gave the example of “Agnes of God,” a play that had to be held under police protection because a person objected to its content.

Many bloggers too shared their opinions and experiences. The interactions were exciting and thought-provoking and after a thorough discussion on trolling, the session came to a close with Mr. Anil Dharker pronouncing that too much freedom is as difficult to tackle as too little freedom.

Ravi Subramanian signs books for his fans.

Ravi Subramanian signs books for his fans.

After the talk: Nidhi and I pose on either side of Ravi Subramanian

After the talk:
Fans pose with Ravi Subramanian

But for lovers of literature there can never be such a thing as too many books or too much talk about books.

From 29th October to 1st November, Mumbaikars will be treated to a plethora of cultural offerings. 120 celebrated writers and thinkers from 14 countries across the world will converge on NCPA, Nariman Point and Prithvi Theatre, Juhu with panel discussions and book readings and conversations and debates and book launches, and performances and workshops which make Lit Live a truly international event.

Some not to be missed events:

Can we please agree to disagree?

If the discussion on freedom of expression interests you, catch this debate happening at Lit Live on the 29th of October:

Topic : Freedom of Expression Is In Imminent Danger
For the Motion: Shobhaa De and Sudheendra Kulkarni. Against the Motion: Nalin Kohli and Anupam Kher. Chair: Nik Gowing Sponsored by: Kalpvriksha

But how important are writers to a society? Can books change the world? If you ever pondered these questions then join Germaine Greer and Vikram Seth in the opening ceremony, as they too ponder and discuss these weighty matters.

And how important is it for your voice to be heard?

Topic: No time for silence
Highlights: Why writers feel the need to speak up
Nayantara Sahgal, TM Krishna Chair: Anuradha Sengupta

In this age of ‘Sansani Khez Khabrein’ how much of what we read in the media is true and how much is fabricated?

Topic: The Genuine Article
Highlights: Uncovering the truth in an ocean of headlines
Avirook Sen, Lorraine Adams, Rajdeep Sardesai Chair: Sidharth Bhatia

A writer is foremost a documenter of the time she lives in and love is the most documented emotion. Engage in this discussion about the depiction of love:

Topic: From Chughtai to Chick Lit
Highlights: The depiction of love through the ages
Anuja Chauhan, Poonam Saxena, Sandip Ro Chair: Paromita Vohra

Check out other interesting discussions too: about the position of women in Indian society, whether fiction is the best way to tell the truth, what makes one authentically an Indian.

Making a song and dance of stories

Check out: Comedy of Horrors
An interval-free hour of hair-raising stories of Ambrose Bierce and Edgar Allan Poe.

And: The River Runs Deep: Rhythm Divine II (Manipur, India)
Astad Deboo’s delicate and lyrical reimagination of Saratchand Thiyam’s poetry.

And, even this: Schlock, (UK)
Performance poet Hannah Silva rips up Fifty Shades of Grey, followed by short talk-back. 

A not-to-miss, especially for poetry lovers: Blank Page (India)
A celebration of contemporary Indian poetry through theatre, music & movement directed by Sunil Shanbag

And this: When it Rains (Canada)
A blackly funny social satire told in the form of a live-action existential graphic novel

And many, many more (Do check the link to the schedule, given below).

Learning is so much fun

A confession: I am a glutton for learning. Last year, the workshops at Lit Live conducted by international writers and performance artists provided some absolutely crazy learning.

This year, too, the lineup of workshops is as amazing.

Robert Sullivan will help us cross the threshold of a poem.

Lorraine Adams will take you through the different aspects of war that a writer might want to write about, even if he has never been in a war-like situation.

Jon Turney will introduce us to the difference between science writing and non-fiction writing.

S J Laidlaw will demonstrate how to create a compelling YA Narrative.

Exciting workshops for children include a Harry Potter Workshop by Arunima Roy while in an interactive workshop for children Karishma Attari will help to harness the imagination and urgency with which they tell stories and introduces them in a formal way to the elements of storytelling, respectively.

To register for the workshops, call on 9769145101 or send an email at

Yes, Seven of them

One of the most significant writers of postcolonial India, Kiran Nagarkar’s invaluable contribution to writing ranges from a riveting trilogy to landmark works in Marathi literature. The Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award 2015 will be presented to Kiran Nagarkar at a glittering ceremony on the 1st of November.

“Kiran Nagarkar said, “I have spent half my adult life doing what I enjoy: writing. But it can just as often drive me round the bend. Laughter is the most serious weapon I have. But I would also hope that I can provoke my readers to question received wisdom and reject the dogmas that fuel violence and deadly intolerance. The Lifetime Achievement Award from Tata Literature Live! means a lot to me. It’s also a big responsibility.”

Besides this, there are six other awards which will be presented at the LitFest: Tata Literature Live! First Book Award for Fiction and Non-Fiction, Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award for Fiction and Non-Fiction, Tata Literature Live! Business Book Award and Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award.

So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to dig into this exciting annual feast for the mind and the soul, from Thursday 29th October to Sunday, 1st November, at the NCPA and Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai.

The Schedule:
The Participants:
TATA Literature Live! On Facebook, Twitter and Youtube


1) To WritersMelon for a wonderful evening of tasty food, both for the body and soul, and with return gifts too.
2) To Ravi Subramanian for the personally signed copy of ‘The Bestseller, She Wrote.”
3) TATA Literature Live! for the pics used in this post).


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One thought on “BOOKMARK THE WORLD with TATA LITERATURE LIVE! – Mumbai’s favemost litfest

  1. Thanks for the post Sonia. You can use the back link Also good to connect with you. Keep me posted on Nanowrimo.

    (We met at #BNLF)

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