Literary hooked

Updated on: 23 April,2020 07:52 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dalreen Ramos |

On World Book Day, tune into online events by authors and keep an eye out for new releases, too

Literary hooked

How the Onion Got Its Layers has been illustrated by Priyanka Pachpande

April 23 hasn't been a great day in literary history. It marks the death anniversaries of William Shakespeare, Pamela Lyndon Travers, Miguel de Cervantes and William Wordsworth, among other writers. Recognising this fact, UNESCO decreed it to be World Book Day in 1995. While bookstores are shut, publishers and authors are putting together special events to keep you in sync with reading.

Let's listen to the onion's story


Puffin Books will simultaneously release Sudha Murty's How the Onion Got its Layers in e-book and audiobook format. Having contemplated on the origins of the onion in the narrative, it's Murty's first audio book, and she sure is excited about it. Over a phone call, Murty first reminisces her days in the city in the early '80s where she would wait for her lunch break at her Fort office to read mid-day. Proceeding to talk about the aural format, she says she prefers it because it opens up one's imagination. "As a child when I listened to the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata, I would draw up imagery of Lord Rama and Krishna in my head. When it began being aired on television, my imagination was confined to the actors [playing those roles] — Nitish Bharadwaj and Arun Govil," she says.


Peppered with beautiful illustrations, the story had always been in the author's head. "In my village, onion and garlic were considered as food not from our land. So, in a vegetarian household, onion was non-vegetarian. But I loved the taste of it — raw, cooked or fried. I also wondered why people cried while cutting it and when I started writing for children, the story flowed through," she says.

Time 5.30 pm (Digital launch)
Log on to

All-day jam

All-day jam

There's something for everyone in this showcase by HarperCollins India. They've got all-day sessions featuring writers Meghnad S, Soumya Bhattacharya, Avik Chanda, Kavitha Buggana, Aniruddha Mahale, Rana Safvi, Sharanya Manivannan, Shivesh Bhatia, Boria Majumdar, Aanchal Malhotra, Rehana Munir, Anukrti Upadhyay, Aditi Angiras, Vivek Tejuja, Ravinder Singh, Nikita Singh and Anmol Malik. Sounds like a true lit fest!

Time 10.30 am to 9 pm
Log on to @harpercollinsin on Instagram

What's next?

At a time when readers need something to look forward to, Bloomsbury India offers a peak of their upcoming titles by the authors themselves through their Facebook handle all day. The genres include fiction, mythology, memoirs, and biographies.

Log on to Bloomsbury India's page on Facebook

Found in translation

Rabindranath Tagore

Currently on the shortlist for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for his translation of Sachin Kundalkar's Cobalt Blue, Jerry Pinto will be speaking about "Who is the perfect translator?" as part of the series Translation Thursdays by Mother Tongue Twisters.

"I think that if translation isn't the heart of language, it is actually its lifeblood. There is no pure language. There is only a set of words and rules that we use and as we use these words and rules, we bend them. When we need a word that we don't have, we simply grab one up," he remarks. Pinto sheds light on the intricacies of the act with this example: "The linguists and the scholars may invent words: kant-langoat for tie, but when you want to say tie in Hindi, you say 'tie'. So words flow freely from language to language and some get changed a little or a lot along the way. Saamsoon in Marathi and soonsaan in Hindi or Hindustani/Urdu. Computer in English and computadora in Spanish. The medium is the madhyam is the message."

When asked about how much of his own voice is apparent in the material he has translated, he says that there is very little of it "in the sense of the voice that young writers are always being told to find." But he adds that with each translation it is imperative to find a voice that suits the writer he is
working with.

Time 7 pm
Log on to @mothertonguetwisters on Instagram (to register)

Mythology musings

Kavita Kane

Join author Kavita Kane of the bestselling novel Karna's wife: the Outcast Queen in a chat about women in mythology, presented by Oxford Bookstore and Westland Books. Through her work, Kané has brought women characters in mythology to the fore.

Time 6 pm
Log on to Oxford Bookstore's page on Facebook

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