Karen Jennings in conversation with Vangmayi Parakala
Karen Jennings’ recent novel, An Island, longlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize,... is a telling allegory of postcolonialism focused on the turbulent history of an unnamed African country. Rooted in loss, political upheaval, history, and identity, the novel creates a complex balance between the tense claustrophobia of the island and the protagonist's compelling backstory. In conversation with Vangmayi Parakala, Jennings discusses the toxic discourse around asylum seekers and explores the unraveling of guilt and fear, friendship and rejection, and the meaning of home.
Dolly Thakore and Arghya Lahiri in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy
Veteran theatre personality Dolly Thakore’s memoir, Regrets, None, co-authored with Arghya Lahiri,... is a vivid retelling of her life and career.
Written with wit and trademark candour the narrative takes us through her years in Delhi, casting for Gandhi and filming it across India, working in radio, advertising and television while always returning to her first love, theatre. She also speaks candidly about love, infidelity, motherhood, commitment, ecstasy and the heartbreaks. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, they discuss the glitz, glamour and struggles that have formed her life and the 'no regrets' philosophy that characterises her personality.
Pheroza J. Godrej, Jehangir R. Patel, Bachi Karkaria and Coomi Kapoor in conversation
In an engaging and intimate session of memory, history and identity, a... panel of eminent Parsis explore their community’s success, contribution and foundations within the country. Exploring what it means to be Parsi in today’s India, they examine their deep roots, including the Tatas, the Mistrys, the Godrejs, the Wadias and beyond, to search the essence of their indomitable spirit and their role in all spheres of our nation’s growth.
Sunil Gupta and Suprita Das in conversation with Keshava Guha
Even in the most divided times, the nation's romance with cricket has... been a strong unifying force. But what does this obsession stem from? What is this power that has the Indian population holding their collective breaths in front of the screen? Journalist and author Suprita Das' book, Free Hit: The Story of Women's Cricket in India, addresses the many challenges faced by the women's cricket team. Sunil Gupta's book, Final Innings, is a fictional account of the life of a player in the Indian cricket team. Writer and journalist Keshava Guha is an ardent fan and writes extensively on the many nuances of the sport. Examining the magic of cricket through the lens of fact and fiction, a session which explores the spirit of the game and the place it holds in our collective imaginations.
A glimpse into the inspirations and journeys of celebrated Spanish writer, producer... and scriptwriter Javier Moro and his unique relationship with India. Through a literary career spanning over two decades, Moro has often constructed narratives inspired by the country's rich socio-cultural roots. He is the author of Passion India, a narrative that follows the marriage of a Spanish girl to the Maharaja of Kapurthala and the subsequent scandal that shook British India. His book Red Sari: A Dramatised Biography of Sonia Gandhi unfurls the inspirational path of the Gandhi matriarch and her journey through the Indian political and social landscape. Moro has also co-authored Five Past Midnight in Bhopal with Dominique Lapierre. Weaving together the conflict between good intentions, profit motive and cost cutting omissions, the book explores the horrific industrial disaster that shook Bhopal and the subsequent events that unfolded. In conversation with Mohini Gupta, Moro discusses the essence of his writing process and inimitable style.
Merete Pryds Helle in conversation with Supriya Dravid
Merete Pryds Helle’s book, Nora, is a retelling of Henrik Ibsen’s iconic... play A Doll's House, first staged in 1879. Translated into English by Stewe Claeson, the book explores Nora’s character, tracing her childhood dreams, aspirations and inquisitive nature. Lyrical and poignant, the story traverses Nora’s journey through Norway and Italy, and examines the deep impact her father and husband had on her psyche and on the way she viewed herself and the world. In conversation with Supriya Dravid, Pryds Helle discusses the trajectory of her writing and explores the nuances of a woman’s path to liberation and its reflection on the illusions of love and choice as illuminated in Nora.
Pryds Helle is one of Denmark’s most popular writers. Her debut was the short story collection Towards Another Calm. She is also the author of the award winning novel The Beauty of the People and its acclaimed sequel We Knew It All. Supriya Dravid is the former editor-in-chief of ELLE India. She is the current editor of AJIOLUXE and is the author of A Cool, Dark Place.
Celebrated Swiss writer Peter Stamm’s recent novel, The Sweet Indifference of the... World, translated by Michael Hofmann, is a melancholic meditation on memory, reality and relationships. A tale exploring intriguing questions of singularity and agency, it follows the love story of two couples and their mirrored relationship separated by time. With his delicate yet complex prose, Stamm blurs the lines between past and present, fiction and actuality, in his attempt to force answers of questions yet to be asked. In conversation with novelist, poet and editor Anjum Hasan, Stamm explores the fundamentals of human yearning and the complexities of the real versus the imagined.
Ernest Van Der Kwast in conversation with Zac O'Yeah
A loving tribute by a son for his mother. Ernest Van Der... Kwast’s book, Mama Tandoori, brings together the author’s multicultural household with its humour and eccentric Indo-Dutch union. Painting a moving portrait of a family’s aspirations and search for identity in the face of personal tragedy, the narrative surrounds Van Der Kwast’s overbearing mother, her iron will, undying spirit and talent for haggling! Van Der Kwast is also the author of Sometimes Things Are Better When People Applaud, The Ice-Cream Makers and Giovanna's Navel. His most recent book is Ilyas. His playful eccentricities, marked by wit and satire, pulse through his writings that masterfully evoke raw undertones of emotion. In conversation with author, translator and musician Zac O'Yeah, he gives us an enduring glimpse into his family and the power of the rolling pin that held them all together.
Sunjeev Sahota in conversation with Georgina Godwin
British novelist Sunjeev Sahota's recent novel, China Room, follows the intertwined stories... of the brides of three brothers in Punjab in 1929 and a young man from England who travels to their now deserted farmland in 1999. Traversing through the fabric of time, segregation and empire, the tale explores a family’s trauma and one man’s attempts at breaking free from addiction and racism and his consequent search for home. In conversation with journalist and broadcaster Georgina Godwin, Sahota explores the lives of these prisoners of circumstance and their pursuit of freedom.
Sahota’s books include Ours Are the Streets and the Man Booker and International Dylan Thomas Prize shortlisted The Year of the Runaways. He was the winner of the 2017 European Union Prize for Literature. Broadcast journalist Georgina Godwin is the Books Editor for Monocle 24 and a regular host of current affairs programmes and cultural shows for various media outlets.
GR Raghavender, Chandrakant Lahariya, Roger Highfield and Arundhuti Dasgupta in conversation with Vikram Chandra
Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Everyone should... have the right ....to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” Are the fruits of scientific discovery accessible to all those who need them or available only to the privileged few? An important session that discusses the provenance and equitable ownership of scientific, technical and medical knowledge in the context of the current pandemic crisis.
Dipesh Chakrabarty in conversation with Homi K. Bhabha
Academic and author Dipesh Chakrabarty’s latest book, The Climate of History in... a Planetary Age, argues that impact of climate change dismantles deeply ingrained ideas of history, modernity and globalisation. Steeped in historical and philosophical research, the narrative encourages us to view the human condition from a planetary and global perspective to truly understand the changing realities of our times. Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History and South Asian Languages and Civilisations at the University of Chicago. Homi K. Bhabha is Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. His work explores postcolonial theory, cultural change and power. His books include Nation and Narration and The Location of Culture. In conversation with Bhabha, Chakrabarty discusses the implications of the Anthropocene and the way forward.
Vijay Gokhale and Amish Raj Mulmi in conversation with TCA Raghavan
Vijay Gokhale, former foreign secretary and author of Tiananmen Square: The Making... of a Protest, journalist Amish Raj Mulmi, author of All Roads Lead North: Nepal's Turn to China, and prolific author and diplomat TCA Raghavan examine the multilayered nuances of the chequered relationship between India and China. Gokhale who went on to become India's Ambassador to China, in his recent book, revisits his time in Beijing as a young official at the time of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. The events in the summer of 1989, which saw Chinese troops fire mercilessly at demonstrators, set the course of China’s politics over the next few decades. He speaks of this defining moment and China's relationship with its neighbours and the world. Amish Raj Mulmi’s recent work is steeped in long-range historical perspective and scrupulous reportage. The narrative examines Nepal’s changing relationship with its two imposing neighbours and its shift towards China as a new primary bilateral partner. In conversation with TCA Raghavan, Gokhale and Mulmi search through paradigm shifts and current geopolitics to understand the present and the future.
Kishwar Desai, Maharsh Shah and Bhawana Somaaya in conversation
The history of Indian Cinema and its deep roots in the Bombay... of yore is a fascinating saga of romance and adventure, creativity and entrepreneurship. A nostalgic look at Bollywood before it became Bollywood with a stellar panel that examines the grit and glamour of the early days of the film industry.
Kishwar Desai is an award-winning author and playwright who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her books include The Longest Kiss: The Life and Times of Devika Rani, Darlingji: The True Love Story Of Nargis and Sunil Dutt. Movie studio executive, film historian and writer Maharsh Shah's first book, part of a trilogy, is Zoravar: Book One in the Bollywood Saga. Multifaceted film critic, writer and translator Bhawana Somaaya’s books include Letters to Mother, Once Upon a Time in India: A Century of Indian Cinema and Bachchanalia: The Films & Memorabilia of Amitabh Bachchan.
Amit Chaudhuri in conversation with Katherine Butler Schofield
Acclaimed musician, novelist and critic Amit Chaudhuri’s latest book, Finding the Raga:... An Improvisation on Indian Music, is an immersive journey through the rigorous beauty and cosmology of Indian classical music and its synergy with western music and the world at large. Drawing on both Western and Indian sources, Chaudhuri weaves together an intricate narrative on the process of finding the raga between life, music and art. Chaudhuri’s books include Friend of My Youth and Calcutta. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds the titles of Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia and Professor of Creative Writing at Ashoka University. Academic and writer Katherine Butler Schofield is a historian of Hindustani music and Mughal India. She is currently working on her upcoming book Music and Musicians in Late Mughal India: Histories of the Ephemeral, 1748–1858. In conversation with Schofield, Chaudhuri reflects on his understanding of the tone and melody that has shaped his life and worldview.
Mahmood Mamdani in conversation with Pardis Mahdavi
Academic and writer Mahmood Mamdani’s recent book, Neither Settler nor Native, is... a genealogy of political modernity based on the idea of the colonial state and nation state being a bi-product of each other. Steeped in research and case studies the book unravels the need to reimagine political communities beyond the concept of majorities and minorities. In conversation with Pardis Mahdavi, Mamdani explores the origins and development of the nation state and the path to a reimagined and decolonised future.
SY Quraishi and Ghazala Wahab in conversation with Pragya Tiwari
Presenting a compelling and detailed account of the Muslim community in India,... SY Quraishi and Ghazala Wahab unravel the politicisation of their faith from two different frontiers. Quraishi's latest book, The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India,critically analyses the attempts at stoking majoritarian fear around the supposed exponential growth of the Muslim population. Based on impeccable research of the Quran and the Hadith, the book highlights that Islam is one of the first religions in the world to advocate smaller families. Wahab's latest book, Born A Muslim: Some Truths About Islam in India, follows the evolution of Islam through the region while delving into the reasons behind the staggered socio-economic and intellectual growth of Indian-Muslims. Weaving together personal memoir, history, reportage and scholarship the book unravels the stigma around the community and the roots of their vulnerability and insecurity. In conversation with writer and columnist Pragya Tiwari, they present an eye opening account of one of the most diverse communities in India.
Sanjaya Baru and Kota Neelima in conversation with Maya Mirchandani
Policy analyst, academic and writer Sanjaya Baru's latest book, India's Power Elite:... Caste, Class and Cultural Revolution, deconstructs the many hues of power and elitism in postcolonial India. An intricate look into the changing political landscape of the 21st century, Baru explores the role of caste, class and culture in the unraveling of a 'New India'. Baru's other books include The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh and 1991: How P.V. Narasimha Rao Made History. Kota Neelima is an Indian author, researcher, artist and political commentator, specialising in rural distress. In conversation with Maya Mirchandani, they discuss the traces of India's power elite in the face of a constantly evolving reality.
Nayantara Sahgal in conversation with Jayanti Naju Seth
A glimpse into the inspirations and creativity of an outstandingly courageous and... eloquent storyteller. Nayantara Sahgal’s early memoir Prison and Chocolate Cake was published in 1954. She has written more than 18 books and novels in a career spanning over six decades. Her life has been marked by idealism and a commitment to her beliefs. She remains a prolific writer with recent novels that include The Fate of Butterflies and When The Moon Shines By Day. In conversation with Jayanti Naju Seth, Sahgal examines her writing and the essence of her recent work.
Vanessa R. Sasson in conversation with Amanda Deckelbaum
Vanessa R. Sasson’s latest book, Yasodhara and the Buddha, is an evocative... story of the life of Buddha as seen from the eyes of his wife, Yasodhara. Weaving together the spirit of fiction and fabulism, this narrative gives us an understanding of Yasodhara's joys and sorrows, her expectations and frustrations, as she watches her beloved husband walk away. Sasson has a long academic publishing record. She is a professor of Religious Studies at Marianopolis College, a Research Fellow at the University of the Free State, and a Research Member for CERIAS at UQAM. Amanda Deckelbaum is the Lead Project Manager at SoundFood. In conversation with Deckelbaum, Sasson delves into this journey of finding the female voice in the Buddhist story.
Charismatic actor Kabir Bedi's candid and moving memoir, Stories I Must Tell:... The Emotional Life of an Actor, is a compelling account of his turbulent professional and personal life. From the fascinating love story of his legendary parents to his own intense relationships with the late Protima Bedi and Parveen Babi and his marriage to Parveen Dusanj, he shares insights into the rollercoaster of his life and the lessons he has learnt. Bedi's career includes roles in Ashanti, Thief of Baghdad and Khoon Bhari Maang, among others. In a compelling conversation with film critic Mayank Shekhar, Bedi talks about the stories behind the stories and the sources of his inspirations and beliefs.
Arun Maira and Yamini Aiyar in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy
In a world staggering under constant change fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic,... the fragility of our economic systems are clearer than ever with authoritarianism rising and global institutions weakening. Arun Maira's latest book, A Billion Fireflies: Critical Conversations to Shape a New Post-Pandemic World, calls for a reinvention of the economy based on principles of inclusion, deep democracy and designs of adaptive systems. Yamini Aiyar is the President and Chief Executive of the Center for Policy Research, one of India’s leading think tanks. Her work sits at the intersections of research and policy practice, spanning the fields of social policy, governance, state capacity, federalism and the study of contemporary politics in India. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, they explore the necessary paradigm shifts that must take place at a leadership and policy level to brace ourselves for the future.