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November 12, 2018

Five International Authors You Don’t Want To Miss At The Tata Literature Live! Festival 2018

Text by Anvita Budhraja

Plus, where to catch them and what to read before you do

For literature enthusiasts and avid readers in the city, November means just one thing – the Mumbai Litfest. From the 15th to the 18th treat the bibliophile in you to the carefully curated panel discussions, conversations, and workshops held in venues across the city. The much-awaited international literary festival, in its ninth year, will feature over 100 authors, performers, intellectuals, and artists. A sizable line-up of all the significant Indian literary names has been announced, along with a dazzling array of speakers from across the world. We pick 5 international authors you definitely don’t want to miss:

Deborah Moggach, England

At the heart of the 2012 movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the enchanting idea that old age need not be the end – it can be a wonderful new beginning. And no one person embodies that spirit than Deborah Moggach – author of These Foolish Things, which became the movie that charmed so many. Moggach is descended from writers; she is candid, sparkling and prolific (she has written 20 novels), and she isn’t stopping any time soon. Catch her at the festival in conversation about the process of adapting books to films, about Islam and modernity, or about the elusive art of writing. And if you need any more persuading, Moggach was the one who adapted the screenplay for the 2004 movie Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley (for which she also received a BAFTA nomination).

Festival Appearances:
November 17: “Book My Show:” The journey from book to film. With Christos Tsiolkas, David Ebershoff, Deborah Moggach and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi (Chair) at NCPA’s Tata Theatre

November 18: “Damn That Muse:” Good writing is hard work. With Deborah Moggach, Folco Terzani, Sabine Durrant and Soumya Bhattacharya (Chair) at NCPA’s Godrej Theatre

“Rethinking Tradition:” Islam and modernity. With Deborah Moggach, Neyaz Farooquee, Nazia Erum and Javed Anand (Chair) at Title Waves

Read: Moggach outlines a typical writing day for the Guardian

Quoted: “I’m appearing at the Mumbai LitFest, in November, if any of you happen to be there. Well, why not? It’ll be nice and sunny and nobody will be talking about Brexit.”

Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Mexico

“Identity” can be a fraught concept in literature as nation-states weaken and the world opens up to new and better realities. But Alberto Ruy-Sánchez has never been afraid to question who he is and what he wants to writes about. He is best known for his novels, poems and short stories set in Mogador, a Moroccan port town on the Atlantic coast, and for the term “Horizontal Orientalism” that he coined in response to questions about why a third world writer, a Mexican, might choose to write about Morocco and not its colonising ancestor, Spain. Attend his discussion about his literary inspirations or hear him recite his poetry and experience the joy and magic of finding a home in the unlikeliest of places.

Festival Appearances:
November 16: “Words of Inspiration:” Books that made me a writer. With Alan Hollinghurst, Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Tishani Doshi and Hrishi K. (Chair) at NCPA’s Little Theatre

“Writers Recite:” Poetry reading by Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Eran Hadas, Harnidh Kaur, Tishani Doshi at NCPA’s Little Theatre

Read: A statement on his writing, posed as an artist’s manifesto

Quoted: “Poetry has the tools to get into human dimensions deeply, in a way that not economics, not psychoanalysis, no other kind of speech can get.”

Molly Crabapple, USA

Fierce and honest, Molly Crabapple can be called a writer, an artist, an activist, and so much more. From the days when she sketched the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City to her most recent book, Brothers of the Gun, a memoir of the Syrian War by war journalist Marwan Hisham that she has illustrated, she has always sought conflict. Her prose is powerful and, writing for VICE, she has tackled issues like the struggles of ageing for women, the use of photoshop on actresses, the complicated world of female models and artists, and the very real trauma of abortion. At the festival she will be talking about women and the workplace, and graphic journalism. Watch her as she tackles, in her words and her art, the question of how to adequately represent the fractures of society.

Festival Appearances:
November 17: “Code of Conduct:” The new rules at work. With Harnidh Kaur, Kalki Koechlin, Molly Crabapple, Richa Kaul Padte and Sunita Wazir (Chair) at NCPA’s Godrej Theatre

November 18: “Graphic Journalism:” Going where words cannot. Molly Crabapple in conversation with Peter Griffin at St Pauls

Read: An interview with Crabapple on her work, or her haunting essay on drawing artistic inspiration from both Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Quoted:If I have something to say to women, to artists, it’s this: Explore the radical possibilities of facing outwards. Take up space. Be big.”

Eran Hadas, Israel

Classicists of literature, beware – Eran Hadas is bringing “Augmented Poetry” to the stage. Poet, programmer, and new media artist, Hadas combines poetry and computer science to create language manipulated by algorithms. If you are confused, his work includes a headset that generates poems from brain waves, a computational literature course at CalTech that surveyed poetry from the Romantics (1830s) to the future (2045), and a book of poetry written live on the internet in a google doc so people could see the writing process and even help edit it. He will be hosting a workshop on using artificial intelligence to generate poems, along with reading his own poetry and talking about “gendered” fiction. Go ahead, try something new.

Festival Appearances:
November 16: “Writers Recite:” Poetry reading by Alberto Ruy-Sánchez, Eran Hadas, Harnidh Kaur, Tishani Doshi at NCPA’s Little Theatre

“Poetry Generator:” Using Artificial Intelligence to write poems, with Eran Hadas (workshop) at NCPA’s Sea View Room

November 17: “Imagination is an algorithm:” Are we ready for computer-generated literature? With Eran Hadas, Emma Byrne, Henry Eliot and Deepanjana Pal (Chair) at Title Waves

“He Said, She Said:” Is there such a thing as gendered fiction? David Ebershoff, Eran Hadas, Richa Kaul Padte and Karthika V.K. (Chair) at NCPA’s Little Theatre

Read: An interview about his poetry and software

Quoted: “at the core of either [poetry or coding] is the decision to step out of our particular selves and raise questions about our being”

Susannah Clapp, England

Not many can boast about having the same job for 20 years, fewer still can boast about having it at The Guardian. Susannah Clapp, who has been the theatre critic for the Observer since 1997, can do both. Her writing is effective, yet light-hearted, and two decades as a critic means that she is more likely to write than be written about – to observe rather than be observed. This honed vision comes across best in her two books as she paints rich portraits of Bruce Chatwin, the indomitable travel writer, and of Angela Carter, the vivacious British novelist. At the festival, Clapp will be talking about the art of biography and the role of the theatre today – it’s a show you definitely don’t want to miss.

Festival Appearances:
November 17: “Theatre: Art, Entertainment, Or Community Tool?” The changing role of theatre in an increasingly impersonal world. With Alexi Kaye Campbell, Joe Robertson, Susannah Clapp and Georgina Brown (Chair) at NCPA’s Little Theatre

November 18: “The Line of Beauty:” Alan Hollinghurst in conversation with Susannah Clapp at Title Waves

“Biography:” Inspiration or Voyeurism? With Boria Majumdar, Folco Terzani, Susannah Clapp and Ayaz Memon (Chair) at St Pauls

Read: Clapp looks back on 20 years as a critic or an excerpt from her book on Angela Carter (A Card from Angela Carter)

Quoted: (On what makes good theatre) Being startled, especially into laughter. Being frightened. Really, just feeling more vivid than if I were at home.”

Register for the festival online or at the venues

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