The Big 10

Updated: Nov 10, 2019, 07:52 IST | Jane Borges | Mumbai

An interesting line-up of international authors aside, this year's Tata Literature Live! will also host a two-day children's fest to mark its tenth anniversary

Anil Dharker
Anil Dharker

Back in 2009, when writer-columnist Anil Dharker was asked if he'd be keen on organising the city's first international literature festival, he responded almost immediately: "Why not?" Looking back at his own naiveté, Dharker says, "I thought, how difficult could that be? You just call up a few writers, speak to sponsors, book a venue, and that was it."

Dharker would learn it the hard way. "Putting together a literature festival is incredibly complex." International writers are mostly over-booked, and curating a session can get taxing. "And, then of course, getting sponsors is far from easy," he says.

Despite the many hurdles, Dharker's pet project, the Tata Literature Live!—which in his own words "began with naive assumptions"—will enter its tenth year, when it opens this week.

The anniversary celebrations began early in October, with a workshop by Meghna Pant and panel discussions with Ashwin Sanghi, Shabnam Minwalla and Gauri Sinh. "This time around, to add a festive touch to the event, the garden at the NCPA will make room for art and food stalls, including a tent which will function as a reading library, where you can browse and read through books," he says.

In a first, the festival will also host a two-day children's festival at its venues in NCPA and Prithvi Theatre. "We are working with NGOs to invite children from municipal schools to attend. We have activities lined up, including talks and performances," Dharker says.

AnthonyAnthony Horowitz and Alexander Mccall Smith

Among the international speakers attending the event are Scottish author Alexander Mccall Smith, who is known for The Sunday Philosophy Club series; The 44 Scotland Street series, and his children's books. "He is an incredibly charming and witty gentleman," says Dharker. "The only demand he has made is that we give him a room that has a nice writing table. You will be shocked to know, that he writes a thousand words every hour. He gives me an inferiority complex," Dharker jokes.

There is also Anthony Horowitz, who juggles writing books, films, TV, plays and journalism. "His range [of work] is immense."

AC Grayling, a professor from England, who has written and edited over 30 books on philosophy and other subjects, will be returning to the festival after two years. "He is immensely popular. The last time we had him, the line to attend his session went all across, around the block. I had to personally request those in the queue to attend another event, because the space was booked." Other names include debutant author Avni Doshi; athlete Mark Inglis, a double amputee who stood on the summit of Mt Everest, and Salil Tripathi, chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International.

When: November 14 to 17, 10 AM – 9 PM
Where: NCPA, Prithvi Theatre in Juhu and St Paul's Institute, Bandra
To register: tatalitlive.in

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