The other day a young writer asked me how does one get into circuit of writing…I guess one starts by just writing and of course reading what others write; by others I mean not just the classic writers and the best-seller biggies but also those peers who are struggling with you, ahead of you or are still languishing at the starting point. In any case, you are a writer if you write what you want, and I don’t mean a shopping list here. And you must be the first person to acknowledge yourself is my suggestion. If YOU don’t believe you are a writer, then who else is going to believe you?
So coming to the slow process of becoming a writer, one inevitable stage is the lit fest mela. I guess this stage never dies out… the writer almost always hovers round a festival of books and literature, the habit is one that never dies says people who have gone ahead. In my part of the world, lit fests were unknown till a decade ago… then the boom happened and Indian authors started being on award lists everywhere…the Jaipur lit fest which began in a small way a decade ago is now a sought after stage for the authors and readers alike.
It’s a pilgrimage of books that takes place in the pink city of Palaces, Pretty and Royal Jaipur where you will meet the man and the camel, the thorough business man and the intellectual on the same side of the street, come every third week of January. The cold climes are warmed by the hot discussions on each year’s focus and celebrities and the common man rub shoulders to sit even on the floor to listen to favourite people. So Jaipur is one place you should think of going to see, hear and network with other people. There is a theme in place most years, check out their itineraries past and current here http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/
Likewise my own city has a name to reckon with in the Kovalam lit fest every October, since the last two years. We had the literature of the North East last year in 2009 and saw many debutants savouring their places on stage instead of the audience. It gives us a hope that one day we will also occupy a chair on an honoured dais and be invited to share our thoughts. This year its Pakistani Writing in English and I am already thrilled hoping to meet Daniyal Moinudeen, Kamila Shamsie, Mohammed Hanif and the rest of them whose books have been read with fervour here. Here is the website http://www.kovalamlitfest.com/
Trivandrum, my home town is in excitement hearing that the Hay-on-the-Wye festival is visiting us this year in November. I am not aware of the schedules and the participants but hear that it promises to be a sumptuous fare from people who have attended the mela before. So welcome to Trivandrum folks.
That isn’t all… there are still more festivals of books and readers on around the world. Why don’t you check them out on the Google?
Suneetha is a writer by passion, profession and hobby. She writes fiction in English, poetry in her native tongue Malayalam and journalistic features in both. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org