A for Amartya Sen, and a whole lot to follow.
Come January, reader and writer will be back together to script the second chapter of the Calcutta Literary Meet. A year after its grand debut, the five-day celebration of the word will be held from January 30, 2013, in association with The Telegraph, and bring to the city Amartya Sen and Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor and Sharmila Tagore.
Like in its inaugural year, the Lit Meet will be held under the aegis of the Calcutta Book Fair. The 37th International Calcutta Book Fair will be on from January 30 to February 10, with Bangladesh as theme country.
A day before announcing the first list of speakers, organisers Gameplan shared with Metro their, well, game plan for the meet.
While authors like Amish, Tahmima Anam, Rahul Bhattacharya, Sugata Bose, Manu Joseph, Sampurna Chattarji and Arunava Sinha will be back at the Lit Meet for the second year on the flip, there are a host of new names too, including Jeet Thayil, Pico Iyer, Anita Nair, Ramachandra Guha, Thomas Keneally, Deborah Baker, David Davidar, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Tabish Khair, Ali Sethi, Gillian Wright, Advaita Kala, Bharati Mukherjee, Madeline Miller and Jug and Bunny Suraiya.
“These are some of the authors who have confirmed. More ‘yeses’ are coming in as we speak,” said an upbeat Malavika Banerjee, the brains — and sometimes the brawn — behind the effort that gave book city Calcutta a literary meet to be proud of.
Not just Calcutta’s literature lovers, writers are happy to be a part of the meet too. “I’m delighted to be coming back to Calcutta to celebrate what all true Calcuttans love — books!” said author-MP Shashi Tharoor, who will speak on his nearly 25-year journey as a writer, from The Great Indian Novel to Pax Indica.
If some of the sessions will look at Calcutta’s notorious penchant for nostalgia and discuss how she can get her mojo back, others will delve into the memories of the diaspora.
E will stand for economics, thanks to the two As — Nobel laureate Amartya Sen of course being the biggest draw and also Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee of Poor Economics following.
On to another A, Amish. Busy snipping parts of Book 3 of his Shiva trilogy before its December release, he says he loves Calcutta, so any excuse to visit the city of his IIM days is welcome. “As far as Calcutta Literary Meet is concerned, what I liked most was that the meet gave equal prominence to regional writers. There is a wealth of philosophy and thought in our regional languages and not many literary events tap into those,” said the bestselling author of The Immortals of Meluha.
True to Amish’s words, in its second year too the Calcutta Literary Meet will have sparkling discussions not just on Bengali, Bangladeshi and Hindi writing, but on Urdu and Malayali as well. “Bangladesh being the theme country next year, we are very keen to hold a number of sessions with authors from epaar and opaar Bangla,” smiled Malavika.
This time, one of the biggest upgrades will be the venue. From the small makeshift tent of 2012, the Lit Meet will move into one of the permanent structures of Milan Mela. What’s more, Google has come in as associate partner, and the venue will be christened the ‘Google Dome’.
Preparations are on in full swing, watch this space for more. In the meanwhile, log on to Facebook and “like” the Lit Meet page (www.facebook.com/kolkatalitmeet) to enjoy the story as it unfolds.