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'Varanasi and Venice are twin cities'

Jaipur: Shuddering with cold, the tall lanky writer and Guardian columnist, Geoff Dyer, whose book, But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz won him fans worldwide asks for a simple thing from us to park ourselves in sunlight and thaw our frozen circulation systems. Doing that, we ask the ruminative and quintessential “postmodern” writer as literary critic James Wood puts it, on his reluctance to write.

“I find writing extremely difficult. Maybe it comes with age, don’t you think so?” Dyer tries to reverse the equation. His penning of the essay, Out of Sheer Rage about the early modern writer DH Lawrence is equally famous for his oscillation between writing and un-writing. We ask if the author who feels, “I got into writing because I couldn’t do anything else” how he takes festivals.

“I actually love festivals. They let me near my favourite authors and actually talk to them as I have better access than most audiences. Last year, I met Annie Dillard who I am a huge fan of. You know, she won the Pulitzer prize at the age of 28 and now she must be around 60,” replies the writer who has several awards in his kitty, including National Book Critics Circle Award.

Though, ask him, and he treasures the autographs of Martin Amis and John Berger, the latter being his absolute favourite. Dyer clearly loves being in India as he has been foraying his travails from Kerala, Goa, Kochi to Varanasi. “As you know, Varanasi figures in my writing: Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. I think Venice and Varanasi are twin cities. Both have many similarities – they are both pilgrimage cities and are water-bound,” he shares.

Letting them live their dreams
The festival has partnered up with Hope Monkey India and publishing house Jugnoo that aims to encourage dreams of children of sex workers. A question regarding Jugnoo and HopeMonkey is flashed and for the first person who tweets the correct answer, the festival pitches in Rs 1,000.

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