The Craft of Political Biography: Yogi Adityanath and Mayavati

India’s vibrant democracy has produced many unusual and charismatic leaders with fascinating life stories. Two writers of political biographies, both of leaders from India’s largest state of Uttar Pradesh, speak of their books and the larger than life cast of characters that inhabit them. Political columnist and television commentator Ajoy Bose is the author of… Read more »

The Afropolitans

Sometimes Africa seems to make the headlines only for wars, famines and poverty. Four of the new Africa’s most exciting writers would beg to differ. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Chika Unigwe and Nadifa Mohamed read from their work and discuss the present and future of contemporary African literature with Abeer Y. Hoque.

Hindi Medium: Language and Elitism

Even though Hindi is India’s ‘rashtra bhasha’, the national language, which is also one of the most spoken languages in the world, it continues be devalued and regarded with condescension in its own land. Along with English, it is the link language across a multilingual nation. Yet it is either treated with hostility as a… Read more »

Writing the Arab World

In a famous essay written in the aftermath of 9/11, the Lebanese writer Hanan al-Shaykh described how she sat down and wept when she visited the Court of the Lions at the Alhambra. “I was overwhelmed by the sophistication of our ancestors,” she wrote an essay. “I didn’t weep because the Arabs were no longer… Read more »

Narratives of Power, Songs of Resistance

Sujatha Gidla’s moving book, Ant Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India, speaks of the caste-based discrimination she faced in India and her new life in America as a conductor on the New York subway. Jovan Mays, the inspirational former Poet Laureate of Aurora, Colorado, runs the youth outreach programme ‘Your… Read more »

The Silent Sentinels of Ranthambore

The multifaceted writer, photographer and politician Bina Kak has a passion for wildlife conservation and the protection of natural animal habitats. Her latest book Silent Sentinels of Ranthambore, with its evocative photographs and spirited first hand accounts, brings alive for the reader the distinct and individual personalities of the tigers of Ranthambore and their families…. Read more »

Not The Nine O’ Clock News

Looking behind and beyond sensationalism and screaming headlines at the real issues of our times. A thought-provoking session with eminent speakers sharing their individual views on the issues and concerns that define our times. Not the Nine O’clock News presents uninterrupted and non-combative reflections on environment, society, democracy and equity with honesty and rigour.

Among the Insurgents

In this age of terrorism and insurgency, it has never been more important to report accurately on the actions of those who take up arms against established governments. At the same time, never have journalists been in greater danger doing so, and how exactly do you report on resistance fighters who do this without acting… Read more »

Fashion and Modernity

This session brings together Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator at the Department of Architecture and Design and Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Anja Aronowsky Cronberg, founder and editor-in-chief of Vestoj, the Paris-based sartorial publication reinventing fashion editorials, Malika Verma Kashyap, founder of Border&Fall and producer of ‘The Sari Series: An Anthology… Read more »

Active Listening and the Anger Epidemic

People are not listening to each other any more. Social media tends to polarise democracy rather than expand it and has become a forum for limitless rage and cynical social manipulation. Can digital technology deliver a neutral medium? How do we heal the toxic effects of negative emotional contagion? A crucial session on the appetite… Read more »

History, Myth and the Spaces in Between

The discipline of history is an attempt to record and retrieve the past, based on verifiable facts and evidence. Mythology inhabits the collective imagination of a culture and is not bound by empirical constraints. Both history and myth are subject to plural interpretation. In a thoughtful session, writers and scholars discuss the contentious yet symbiotic… Read more »