~Festival welcomes over 130 celebrated authors and writers from 15 countries over four days ~
~Two iconic venues: the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) and the Prithvi Theatre~
~Opening session featured Shashi Tharoor in conversation with Amitav Ghosh~
Mumbai, November 17, 2016: Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest kicked off with an opening ceremony that featured an enthralling conversation between two of India’s acclaimed writers – Amitav Ghosh and Shashi Tharoor – in a packed auditorium at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA).
In his opening speech, Founder and Festival Director Anil Dharker said, “We are proud to see the surge in the participation figures at the festival in the last seven years. Going forward, we hope that the young generation of literature lovers will bring in much-needed wisdom and sanity with their work. We promise our patrons great excitement and suspense as the day unfolds with power-packed sessions hosting the likes of Nicholas Shakespeare, Pavan Varma, Frank Moorhouse and Sue Roberts. If you are not already at the festival, be sure to make it in time for our much-awaited annual debate.”
Harish Bhat of Tata Sons, said, “The Tata group has always believed in encouraging art and culture to elevate the quality of human existence and thought. Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is a unique tapestry of literature. It is great to be in the company of so many writers, readers and lovers of literature. Looking at the lineup of authors and performances, I am certain this year, too, will be very exciting for literary enthusiasts attending the festival. My wish for Tata Literature Live! 2016 is contained in this small piece of poetry – May words eat pleasurably into our mind / May books and stories dance and play / May ideas and debates wind unwind / At Tata Lit Live! every hour and every day.”
This was followed by the launch of An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, a book by author, former diplomat, and politician Shashi Tharoor. Celebrated author Amitav Ghosh then joined Tharoor for a discussion on the Legacy of the British Raj.
During the discussion, Shashi Tharoor said, “The British empire’s theory of liberalism was always a justification for its rule in India. Their policies created high taxation and projects like the railways were meant for private profits at public risk. The railways were not a sign of progress, but a means of transporting India’s natural resources and it was one of the empires most profitable ventures. Despite the availability of data, there are still people who buy ideas like ‘the white man’s burden’.”
Responding to Tharoor’s comments, Ghosh observed, “After going through your argumentative narrative, history seems meaningless. At the same time, I believe, one cannot ignore history.”
Among the illustrious attendees at the festival this year are Amitav Ghosh, Martin Amis, Nicholas Shakespeare, Gulzar, John Gray, Ramachandra Guha, Simon Armitage, Frank Moorhouse, Ma Thida, Sanjaya Baru, P. Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh, Keki Daruwalla, Kiran Nagarkar and Jayant Narlikar.
Day 1 is filled with debates, discussions, performances and workshops, some of which are:
In true festival style, the inaugural day will conclude with the annual Tata Literature Live! Debate, which is one of the highlights of the festival. This year the subject is ‘India and Pakistan can never be friends’. Chaired by Vir Sanghvi, Maroof Raza and Shiv Kunal Verma will debate for the motion with Pavan Varma and Shashi Tharoor against the motion.
Since its inception, Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest has instituted awards to honour achievements by Indian writers, both emerging and accomplished. Seven awards will be presented to celebrate and recognise outstanding works – the Tata Hexa Literature Live! First Book Awards and the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Awards in the Fiction and Non-Fiction categories; the Tata Literature Live! Business Book Award, Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award and Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year the festival has introduced four new awards – the Big Little Book Awards for Author and Illustrator in the Literature-for-children category, Tata Literature Live! Publisher of the Year to recognise publishers who bring out path-breaking books and the Sultan Padamsee Award for Playwriting, which will also be announced during the Awards Ceremony.
Taking place across two iconic venues, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point, and Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, the festival’s invigorating line-up of debates, talks, and creative performances is sure to delight literature lovers at the festival.
For more details about Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2016, please visit:
Entry to the festival will be free and on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Tata group is the title sponsor of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest, Tata Hexa is the co-sponsor and Landmark is the knowledge partner. The festival is conceived by Anil Dharker, Founder and Festival Director of Literature Live!, which organises the festival with the support of the Tata group.
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