Sue Swanson of the Woodstock School Library introduced the speakers in the fiction section. She spoke very well and mentioned one of her favorite books by Steve Alter, The Phantom Isles, which is about banning books, a subject dear to every librarian’s heart.
Anuradha Roy is the author of the well-reviewed 2008 novel The Atlas of Impossible Longing. She read selections from her latest book, due to be published next April, Folded Earth. Her first book got excellent reviews and this one is intriguing – it features a young woman named Maya who lives in Ranikhet, a hill-station in Kumaon.
Stephen Alter is well-known to Woodstock, having just completed two years as Director of Development. He has written more than a dozen books, fiction and non-fiction. He is also the organizer of the Writers’ Festivals. He read from his “stalled novel,” The Fern Collector. The passage was a very moving description of a young man who gets involved in intrigue when he finds a grave robbed in the cemetery above the Chukker, thinly disguised as located in an unnamed hill-station.
Paro Anand returned to read from her first novel for adults, Pure Sequence. She defined it as “old chick-lit,” as it is about four older women who have been friends since their school days. She read both humorous and poignant selections about the women; it should be published in the next few months.
This view is of Paro being interviewed by one of the many journalists covering the Festival. At times the eager photographers had to be asked to keep off the stage. The festival got some wonderful coverage in the Garhwal Post, a Dehra Dun daily.