Monday, October 17, 2011

Final Readings from Writers

The last session at this year's Mussoorie Writers' Roundtable consisted of three authors reading from their works. All three had spoken at sessions earlier, so were becoming familiar.

Bryan Powles, chair of the English department at Woodstock, introduced the speakers. The first was David Davidar, who had spoken the previous day on the need for editors. As he worked for Penguin for many years, he knows a lot about publishing. He read from his latest book, "Ithaca," which was inspired by a poem by Cavafy. You can read it here. The novel is about publishing (no surprise), centering around a small company in London, which he calls Litmus. The parts he read introduced the main characters. It sounds like a good read, especially for lovers of books.

The second reader was Palash Mehrotra, who happens to be the son of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, who spoke in the first section. He read from his book of short stories, "Eunuch Park." These stories have a variety of settings. The one he read, "Nick of Time," was about Indian students at Oxford University and was quite humorous.

Raj Kamal Jha read from his latest book, "Fireproof." It is set during the 2002 Gujarat riots, which were sparked by a burning of a train and resulted in Hindu-Muslim rioting and more than 1000 deaths. It is written from the point of view of a man who finds an unfinished child's workbook after the riots and tries to find the child to finish the work. It is set in a terrible time and situation but the writing is very affective.

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