The suitable boys are here

Sunday MiD DAY helps you plan your schedule through the four-day Literature Live festival that will see the likes of Vikram Seth, Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, William Dalrymple and Thomas Friedman participate

Literature aficionados in the city have much to cheer for as four-day Literature Live starts November 3. This is the second edition of the festival and will take place at the NCPA. With a line-up consisting of participants like the reclusive Vikram Seth, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, William Dalrymple, Thomas Friedman and Mark Tully, this year's edition is bigger than ever before.

Spent, a satire on the recession, will close the four-day festival

According to Festival Director Anil Dharker, "We received a good response last year, so this time we decided to go bigger. Bigger names, more celebrated writers, diverse subjects." Apart from discussions, there will also be plenty of performance-based events. Dharker says, "When people look at literature they look at fiction, nonfiction, poetry and theatre.

We thought of having performances in the festival, too, and even they are related to literature. Everything from television series to films and theatre are products of a good script and story."  Dharker picks some of the acts to watch out for.

Visit: for the full schedule

How flat is the world?
Taking off from author and columnist Thomas Friedman's much-celebrated The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2005), this session will ask the question -- is the world really flat? The book was a metaphor, it might be remembered, for viewing the world in terms of commerce as a level-playing field where all competitors have an equal opportunity. Participants will include Friedman himself, apart from corporate honchos like Tata Consultancy Services' CEO N Chandrasekaran and R Gopalakrishnan, executive director, Tata Sons.    
At: 5.15 to 6.15pm, November 3, Tata Theatre

Why is there no topic for this seminar?
One is a politician, who doesn't mince his words, the other a world-renowned author; the topic of the seminar -- has been left completely up to them. Shashi Tharoor will have an on-stage conversation with Friedman, and given their backgrounds, the festival organisers have asked them to come up with a topic. "Friedman is a columnist, who travels a lot. Tharoor's been with the UN and was in the running for the General Secretary's post. Because of their backgrounds, we can expect them to talk a lot about international affairs, American policies, Islam, etc. This one is for intelligent audiences," says Dharker. 
At: 8 to 9.30pm, November 3, Tata Theatre

The wellspring of inspiration
This one is for real literary buffs and aspiring writers. William Dalrymple and Tharoor will speak on how writers get their inspiration. "When I was talking to them about the event, I gave them a simple brief. Thomas Alva Edison once said, genius is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. We assume people work hard to get where they are, but what about that one per cent inspiration? Where does that come from? Where do their characters come from? How does a writer conjure up an imaginary world?" asks Dharker. The duo will also read inspiring passages and audience will be allowed to interact with them.
At: 11am to 12pm, November 4, Experimental Theatre

The Cancer biographer is in town
Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee, who struck gold with his first book The Emperor of All Maladies, winning the Pulitzer Prize this year, will be part of two seminars on the last day. "His book is very well written and he talks about the history of Cancer in such an approachable manner. In the first event, he will discuss his book," says Dharker. Later, he will be involved in a discussion with author Gurcharan Das and corporate honcho R Gopalakrishnan on frugal innovation, especially in the field of medicine. "They will discuss if our innovations are better than the West's because of our different approaches. In the West, if they need to make a shirt they put all different parts together and then look at how much it will cost. In India the first thought is that the shirt should cost Rs 300 and then we think about how it can be made within that budget," says Dharker. 
At: 4 to 5pm, 6.45 to 7.45pm, November 6, Experimental Theatre

Laugh at the recession
The festival will end on the first day with a humourous look at some of the most depressing news in the last few years. Canadian comic duo Adam Paolozza and Ravi Jain (pictured left) will perform Spent, their hit act on the 2008 recession. The act has received a lot of favourable reviews at the recent Edinburg Festival. It deals with two financial executives who lose it all in the recession and try to jump off a building. "It's an intelligent, fast-paced comedy on the financial crisis. It is really funny and will strike a chord with the audience. At the end of the day, we all hate bankers," laughs Dharker.  
At: 8 to 9.30pm, November 6, Tata Theatre

Because it is Vikram Seth
One of India's most well known writers will also grace the occasion. Vikram Seth, as Dharker correctly calls "the recluse who hardly gives interviews or comes on stage" will release his new book of poems The Rivered Earth and also read from it. According to Dharker, when he asked Seth what he had in mind for the launch, the author asked if he could have a tenor on board. On being told this wasn't possible, Seth reportedly requested for a glass of really good wine. "That's one event people will definitely attend," Dharker said. 
At: 6.45 to 7.45pm, November 4, Experimental Theatre

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