The literary fest goes online

Oct 06, 2015, 09:00 IST | Dipanjan Sinha

Get set to interact with your favourite authors in the virtual world as India readies for its first digital literary festival, starting October 23

  There’s a new literary festival set to take off on October 23. It will include sessions with names like Rajdeep Sardesai, Manu Joseph, Ashwin Sanghi and Raza Rumi. But this won’t be at a venue or confined to a city. You won’t spot queues or crowds, or grand marquees.

And you won’t be hearbroken if you can’t travel to the city that is playing host. On the flip side, there will be no author signing books or no selfies to take with authors. Because this is India’s first virtual literary festival which will continue till November 1, only on the Internet. The medium of access will be various social media options like Google Hangouts, Youtube Live, Facebook and Twitter. There will be sessions each day where authors and viewers with Internet access can follow live sessions and interact with literary personalities.

Ashok Banker
Ashok Banker

Kumaar Bagrodia, CEO of Leapvault, a knowledge media firm, has partnered with Amazon to organise Kindle LitFestX. He explains how it came to be, “I wanted to create a platform that would provide an opportunity for people across India (and abroad) to gain access to literary works and thinkers in a format that this generation understands and is comfortable with.”

Virtual reality
Bagrodia says they wanted to keep the event open and ensure maximum participation, hence they did not limit the event to a particular app. “We chose to be out on various social media like Facebook, Google Hangouts, Youtube Live and Twitter to cover as many Internet users as possible.” He says that through the days of the festival, there will be half-hour sessions with writers every day and more sessions on weekends.

Rajdeep Sardesai
Rajdeep Sardesai. Pic/ Bipin Kokate

During these, people would be able to send their questions to the author and interact after. This format will enable those with the interest but without the time to travel to a literary festival, to be a part of it. Bagrodia says, they decided against a physical centre for the festival to avoid confusion and deprive either the physical or online audience of any of the advantages. He added that it is often that in a web-simulated event, the audience is tweeting even as the author speaks.

Commenting on the launch, Sanjeev Jha, Director, Kindle Content, said, “Kindle LitFestX celebrates the love of reading. We look forward to creating a unique platform with something for every reader and author through India’s first virtual literary extravaganza.”

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What about the Juggernaut?

On being asked about the festival being held close to the launch of a publishing company, Juggernaut, also with a focus on digital, Kumar Bagrodia says, “Digital indeed is the way forward. Not just with literary publishing but even academic publishing or anything to do with content for that matter.” 

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