"Reading can be a lonely pursuit," shares festival director, Anil Dharker. "Literary festivals help focus attention on the written word and provide a forum for writers and thinking, so that people can get together to exchange ideas." Vikram Seth, Shashi Tharoor, Mark Tully, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, who won this year's Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, are some of the writers you will get to exchange ideas with.
The festival -- now in its second edition -- will include panel discussions, poetry readings and performances. "It is accessible to all in theory, in that it is being held in a public space and entry is free," says Dharker, adding that the idea is to bring writers to the local reading population. "I received an sms from a dentist couple, who said they have decided to shut their clinic over the weekend and another from a publisher saying that she plans to move in to the NCPA with her bedding," says Dharker, who adds that he is proud of the festival line-up.
Topics for the panel discussions include Literature and Revolution: Can literature set off revolutions? (Thursday; 2.45 pm), Burkha -- The Male Gaze (Friday; 4 pm), Lost in Translation: Do books lose out when made into movies? (Friday; 5.15 pm), Gay Fiction: It's Not Weird Just Queer (Saturday; 11 am) and How to Get Published (Saturday, 4 pm).
"Writers get to showcase their work, publishers get to sell books and readers get to meet authors and get inspired. Everyone wins," says writer William Dalrymple, commenting on the significance of literary festivals.
The Delhi-based writer, who is also part of the festival, will read from his book The Last Mughal, accompanied by the vocals of classically trained singer Vidya Shah, tomorrow.
Speaking about the city, the award-winning writer says, "There is something about Mumbai which lends itself to literary and celluloid legend. Certain cities seem to self-mythologise themselves. New York is one. Mumbai is another."
At: National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.
Log on to: litlive.in (for full schedule)
Entry: Free (Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis)
Daily registration at venue
What's on tomorrow
11 am: Inauguration of festival
Writers and panelists, Thomas Friedman, Shashi Tharoor and others
12.15 pm: Book Release and Panel Discussion
Nihal Singh's Ink In My Veins, Discreet Biography, Are Indian memoirs and autobiographies far too discreet? Nihal Singh and panelists;
Moderator: Anil Dharker
2.45 pm: Panel Discussion
Literature and Revolution, Can literature set off revolutions? Shashi Tharoor and panelists
4 pm: Panel Discussion
Coping with critics. Ian Jack, R Sriram and panelists
5.15 pm: Panel Discussion
Is the World Really Flat? Taking off from Friedman's famous book, Thomas Friedman and panelists
6.45 pm: Performance
The Last Mughal. Dalrymple's famous book as performance, William Dalrymple with three musicians
8 pm: Discussion
In conversation, Thomas Friedman and Shashi Tharoor
Venue: Tata Theatre, NCPA