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January 3, 2011 Leave a comment
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The Hyderabad Literary Festival

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

G. Surya Rao (Muse India), Sujatha Gopal (Muse India) and Prof. Vijay Kumar (Osmania University) did a terrific job in getting the festival going. The informal atmosphere was something I particularly liked, because I got a chance to mingle with the likes of Keki Daruwala, Prof. K. Sachitanandan and Prof. Siva K. Sharma.

Speaking of Daruwala ji, something he said struck me – “He said that the Hyd Lit Fest will never get as big as the Jaipur Fest, but it went off to a good start” (or words to that effect).

IMO, this is not a criticism. We need to differentiate ourselves from the Jaipur Lit Fest, which has grown too big. I am told that it is now more a celebrity stalking event than anything else. Here are some thoughts on what I think the Hyd Fest could be:

  • Geared towards the serious writer. Have sessions for writers on the art and craft of writing (I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m expanding on it). Have writers register for specific events.
  • Have courses on what it takes to get published – from how to find a literary agent, how to craft that perfect query, what a good contract should look like, what it takes to get published, how to stay published, book promotion etc.
  • Have Indian publishers, agents and editors be present. Offer the attendees a chance to interact with them.
  • Run contests – for example, the person who writes the most intriguing query/first page will get a personalized critique from a published, attending author. Perhaps the attendees can submit this at the time of registration.
  • Try and attract literary agents to the festival, and have would-be authors sign up for 5-10 minute pitching sessions with the agents.
  • Instead of Indian-style panel discussions, where the panelists are on stage, out of reach, make it more informal – perhaps a round table kind of session, where there is more give and take between the panelists and the audience.
  • Have featured book signings
  • Give newly minted authors a chance to do their book launch
  • Have a weekend theater class for children. Involve local theater personalities.

List of English literary e-journals in India as listed in the HLF magazine:

Categories: Hyderabad Focus

Thoughts on the Hyderabad Literary Festival

December 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanks to Muse India and the Osmania University, I am happy to declare that Hyderabad now has its own literary festival! We got off to wonderful start.Today was day 2 of the Hyd Lit Fest. It was a great opportunity to meet fellow writers. But my surprise discovery was how much I enjoyed the poetry readings, considering I’ve never had much to do with poetry.

The wonderful Keki Daruwala did the keynote address in verse. Made me wish I knew more Urdu in order to be able to follow the beautiful couplets.

The equally incredible Profs. Siva K. Kumar and K. Sachitanandan (former secretary of the Sahitya Kala Academy) presented their peoms. A feast for the soul. Prof. Sachitanandan also spoke a little about what drives poets.

Yesterday’s session had a panel discussion on the state of arts & culture in the country (and in Andhra Pradesh in particular). Very informative.

What HLF did right:

* Gave the attendees a chance to meet with incredible writers in an informal setting. Established and new writers/poets both got their turn at the mike.

* Had a counter with books by attendees as well as by other, established authors. Great opp to pick up some books. I bought books by Pico Iyer, Fatima Shenaz, Ruth Khanna, Vamsee Juluri and a book of short stories by Indian writers (edited by Khushwant Singh).

What I would like to see in future sessions:

* Have the panelists taking questions, perhaps making the session more interactive.

* Introduce workshops for writers – on the art and craft of writing, and publishing, marketing and promoting your book with small groups (no more than 10 people).

* Have the above workshops be practical give-and-take sessions, rather than the teacher-instruction type.

* Advertise more. This time it was more through word of mouth.

I hope to do reviews of all the books I bought and post them online in the next few days.

Categories: Hyderabad Focus

The Hyderabad Literary Festival

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

The Hyderabad Literary Festival of 2010 is here, folks! After years of enviously watching people in other towns attend similar festivals, we finally have one of our own. Register. Make sure you attend, so the Festival can come back next year. See you there from Dec 12-14.

Categories: Hyderabad Focus