Frontlist | Indian sub-continent stories rocks at Indo-American literary fest

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December 4-13 all virtual festival features ‘Stories of Humanity’ by bestselling, award-winning authors.

From the secret lives of India’s urban teens to a New York Times journalist’s attempt to find his parents, the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) Literary Festival will celebrate literature influenced by the Indian subcontinent.

The sixth edition of the annual festival run in the virtual space this year from Dec 4-13 due to coronavirus pandemic will feature internationally bestselling and award-winning authors.

This year’s theme “Stories of Humanity” beautifully illuminates the breadth of the festival’s offerings from quantum marketing skills to a spirited romance, translation of 2500-year-old Sanskrit classics to the life of Irrfan Khan.

Including books by novelists, essayists, art scholars, journalists, biographers, actors and more, the IAAC Literary Festival explores the diversity of literature in and influenced by India, according to a media release.

“Known for its wide-ranging and inclusive programming, this year’s Annual Literary Festival allows for an even greater range of participation,” said IAAC Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo,

Featured authors include Diksha Basu, Aseem Chhabra, Oliver Craske, Sopan Deb, Avni Doshi, Ambassador Haksar, Balli Kaur Jaswal, Anupam Kher, Megha Majumdar, Rajiv Malhotra, Dr. Pratapaditya Pal and Sejal Shah.

Each evening of the 10-day festival will include two in-conversation events and many of the featured authors will have their premiere launch at the festival.

“Our Literary Festival promises to have blockbuster book launches, with stories that will move the heart and the mind,” stated IAAC Vice Chairman and author Rakesh K. Kaul.

“The IAAC Literary Festival celebrates our voices that have been shaped by the Indian ethos and experience,” stated Festival Director Nili Lakhani. “We are especially proud to present the young, emerging, powerful authors from within our global community.”

Dr. Madhu Bazaz Wangu, founder of the Mindful Writers, will discuss her novel The Immigrant Wife, winner of the National Indie Excellence Award, with journalist and author Jean Nayar.

Indian actor Anupam Kher, who is currently starring in the hit NBC TV series New Amsterdam, will launch his new book Your Best Day is Today. Kher will be in-conversation with bestselling author and purpose coach Jay Shetty.

Rajiv Malhotra will launch his mind bender Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power: Five Battlefields in conversation with tech leader Usha Chaudhary.

Megha Majumdar will delve into her New York Times’ bestselling debut novel, A Burning, with writer Eshani Surya. “A Burning signals the arrival of a new voice of immense talent and promise” (Amitav Ghosh).

Dr. Makarand Paranjape will present JNU Nationalism and India’s Uncivil War, a powerful look at the forces shaping Jawaharlal Nehru University, in conversation with Professor Lou Marinoff.

Diplomat and acclaimed translator Ambassador Aditya Narayan Dhairyasheel Haksar will illuminate his masterful translation of Chanakya Niti and Kshemendra’s Three Satires from Kashmir with Consul General of India Randhir Jaiswal.

Film journalist and film festival director Aseem Chhabra will discuss his newest book, Irrfan Khan: The Man, The Dreamer, The Star, an emotive look at the artistic and personal life of the international star, in conversation with film critic and television host Rajeev Masand.

Sejal Shah will present This is One Way To Dance, a debut essay collection that Kiran Desai calls “one of the most nuanced, wise, and tender portraits of immigration I have ever read.” Shah will be in conversation with editor and writer Geeta Kothari.

Nev March will discuss her debut novel Murder in Old Bombay, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s award for Best First Crime Novel, with screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala.

Diksha Basu will dive into Destination Wedding (which Chrissy Teigen is “extremely obsessed with”) with writer and filmmaker Priyanka Mattoo.

Tazmeen Amna will discuss her debut novel Goner, which explores a young woman’s mental health crisis and overdose, with research scholar Anab Naiyer.

Global marketing executive Raja Rajamannar will offer his expertise regarding Quantum Marketing, in conversation with author and marketing leader Rakesh Kaul.

Journalist Yashica Dutt will present her powerful memoir, Coming Out as Dalit, which forces readers to confront the injustices of caste. Dutt will be in conversation with Convener of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, Professor Vimal Thorat.

New York Times’ writer and comedian Sopan Deb will discuss Missed Translations, his search for his estranged parents and family history, with art and culture writer Aarti Virani.

Dr. Aparna Pande will delve into Making India Great: The Promise of a Reluctant Global Power with business leader Anil Bansal, IAAC Board Member and President of the Federation of Indian Associations.

Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava will discuss Stoned, Shamed, and Depressed, which explores the secret lives of India’s urban teens, with former Managing Editor of NDTV 24×7 Manika Raikwar.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, author of The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters and the runaway international bestseller Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widow, will delve into her creative process and inspirations with novelist and advertising creative director Pia Padukone.

Avni Doshi will discuss her debut novel Burnt Sugar, which was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, with writer and arts organizer Swati Khurana. “Doshi’s prose is arresting and her ideas fiercely intelligent” (Sunday Times).

Oliver Craske will present Indian Sun, his definitive biography of Ravi Shankar — a “superb” (Times Literary Supplement) book “written with insight and compassion” (The Hindu). Craske will be in conversation with award-winning documentary filmmaker Mark Kidel.

Museum curator and prodigious art writer Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, will be in conversation with Asia scholar Dr. Vishakha Desai about Dr. Pal’s Quest for Coomaraswamy: A Life in the Arts.

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