If the world doesn’t end this month-end, then among the many things that Bangaloreans can look forward to in 2013 will be the second edition of the Bangalore Literature Festival, which has been a rousing success in its first avatar.
The festival, which started with a discussion on the new wave in Kannada literature, concluded on Sunday with writer Shobhaa De sharing her insights on writing and more. The stars of the day, besides Shobhaa De, were Sir Mark Tully, Banu Mushtaq, best-selling author Amish Tripathi, who the audience didn’t seem to have enough of, and journalist and writer Shefalee Vasudev.
Candid as ever, De, who launched her 18th book, Sethji, said, “I am very happy to be at a literature festival which isn’t a lit carnival.”
In a discussion on Bangalore/Bengaluru: Multiple city? with UR Ananthamurthy, TV Mohandas Pai, Prakash Belawadi, V Ravichandar and actor Ramya, De, reacting to the insider-outsider argument, said, “For any group to claim a city as theirs alone is a bogus claim. You can’t appropriate a city. This city is about the people who live and work here, which ever place they might have come from.”
Later, in the concluding session, she spoke about her writing. “I’m insecure everyday when I start to write. Everyday I worry about the reader. I might have written much, but at the end of the day, the reader is the most important person to me as a writer.” Writing, she said, is a “gigantic thrill and a scary prospect”. She also spoke about how she started working at the age of 16 as a model. Those years, De said, taught her the importance of discipline. “Don’t let the music stop,” she said was her mantra.
The event, which concluded on Sunday evening, saw more footfalls than one expected. But when the organisers first announced the festival a few months back, most people were skeptical, including one of the advisors, writer Shashi Deshpande. She said she wasn’t initially sure if the city really needed a lit-fest of its own. But today, all those behind the festival have much to be proud of.
The idea of the festival began from a casual discussion between four friends: writers Shinie Antony and Vikram Sampath, publishing professional Alaham Anil Kumar and social sector professional Srikrishna Ramamoorthy. They wondered aloud why a culturally-rich, literature-loving, vibrant city like Bangalore doesn’t have a literature festival of its own. They set out to give the city a new cultural landmark, and did just that.