Press Release: Dec. 18, 2011 (English)

Dec 19, 2011 Comments Off by

‘Hindi publishers need to reach their readers’

In the morning sessions of the third and final day of Samanvay: IHC Indian Languages’ Festival, authors from Tamil and English shared their experiences in writing.

The Tamil session discussed ‘Women Writing the Body’. Iconic Tamil poet P. Sivakami moderated the session, which also included the poets Kutti Revathi, Salma, Sukirtharani and Malathi Maithri, who talked about their experiences of bias due to their gender and how poetry, and the body in poetry became their site of resistance against this discrimination. The session concluded with poetry readings by the Tamil poets. Arshia Sattar and Arundhathi Subramaniam also read English translations of Kutti Revathi and Salma’s poems.

English writers, Arshia Sattar, Basharat Peer, Annie Zaidi and Aman Sethi, moderated by Chandrahas Choudhury, talked about the challenges of non-fiction writing, especially long-form non-fiction, in the Indian scenario on the next panel entitled “Indian English Writing: Beyond Fiction”. The consensus was that the biggest factor contributing to this was the lack of resources directed towards it by Indian publishers. They also spoke about the difficulties of translation they encountered in the journalistic and book-length work. This was followed by readings by Rahul Pandita and Arundhathi Subramaniam from their books of non-fiction.

The post-lunch session on Bengali talked about poetry and the popular, and featured renowned poets Nabarun Bhattacharya, Subodh Sarkar, Ujjal Singha and Srijato, on a panel moderated by academic Dr. Paromita Chakravarti. They also read their poetry, in the original and in English translations.

The final session was a discussion by publishers, editors and writers on the search for new readers in Hindi publishing. They spoke about how there certainly were readers for Hindi literature, but that it was imperative to find new ways to reach out to them. Ravish Kumar of NDTV said that TV had managed to find a new breed of super-viewers for itself and that literature needed to do something similar. The consensus was that it was a multi-level problem that publishers, distributors and writers all needed to work to solve. On the panel were novelist and editor of Hans, Rajendra Yadav, Aruni Maheshwari of Vani Prakashan, Neeta Gupta of Yatra Books, poet and editor Mangalesh Dabral, and co-editor of Pratilipi Giriraj Kiradoo. The session was moderated by S. Nirupam of Delhi Press. Prior to the session, Mahesh Verma read his poetry and Prabhat Ranjan read from his forthcoming book, Badnaam Basti.

The 3-day festival ‘Samanvay’ concluded with an address by Raj Liberhan, Director of the India Habitat Centre, with an announcement for the second Indian Languages’ Festival to be held in November 2012.

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