Kolkata Literary Meet 2014

By Rachita Hore

Writer-feminist-activist Gloria Steinem and Bengal’s literary stalwart Sankha Ghosh inaugurated the third installment of the Kolkata Literary Meet that started in January 2012 today. There was a prologue session on January 23rd presided over by eminent journalist Rudrangshu Mukherjee with Pulitzer Prize Winner Jhumpa Lahiri for company. This is one among the many new additions to the enterprise this year, KaLam has not only shifted venue to the heritage Victoria Memorial from the Milan Mela Grounds but also boasts of Google Brunch and Afterwords sessions to be held at different city centres, clubs, cafes etc allowing and promoting the finer arts of dance, music and theatre. So while Vikram Seth speaks out against the draconian Section 377 in a session aptly titled “LOL – Love OutLawed”, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi perform “Kaifi Aur Main” a play based on the memoir of Shaukat Kaifi at Calcutta Club, a stone’s throw away from the main venue premises. Another innovation has been to pull up  the Literary Meet dates so it does not correspond with the Annual Kolkata Book Fair – another major event for the book-loving citizen. The central reason being although the convenience and availability of the honorary speakers. One expects the event to sail smoothly this time around hoping against a re-run of last year’s debacle when Booker Prize Winning Novelist Salman Rushdie was invited and later uninvited citing security reasons. The line-up of the speakers for the meet is commendable with names like Sarnath Banerjee, Amit Chaudhuri, Naseeruddin Shah, Mark Tully etc. Topics on the agenda to be discoursed upon range from the Disappearing Bi-lingualism in Bengal to How Food have enriched Literature. It promises to be a fun-filled interaction and while I may not be a PhD student of Jhumpa Lahiri, as an enthusiast in the audience proclaimed to be, I’m all ears for the next few days. Those wishing to get in touch, will find me camped at Victoria Memorial till 30th January. Adios! And Seize that Book!

She is a second-year English Hons student at Lady Brabourne College, Calcutta University. She is a wannabe-writer/journalist and has been authoring articles on and off for The Times of India since her first-year. She has also had her fictional pieces featured in various national magazines, online and offline, notably Kindle Magazine and Youthopia. Feminist, Hipster, Oddball are all labels that have been used at some time or the other to describe her. To start a dialogue, drop her a mail at rachaita.h@gmail.com.