19 January, Thursday
10 – 10.30 a.m. | Front Lawn | Keynote address | Gulzar and Anne Waldman
Two extraordinary poets from India and the United States deliver the keynote through the medium of poetry.
About Gulzar: He is one of India’s most respected scriptwriters and film directors, and has been one of the most popular lyricists in mainstream Hindi cinema for over five decades. One of the country’s leading poets, he has published a number of poetry anthologies and collections of short stories. He is also regarded as one of India’s finest writers for children. Apart from many Filmfare and National Awards for his films and lyrics—and an Oscar and Grammy for the song ‘Jai ho’—Gulzar has received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2002 and the Padma Bhushan in 2004. He lives and works in Mumbai.
12.30-1.30 | Cox & Kings Charbagh | Murder, Madness and the Oxford English Dictionary | Simon Winchester introduced by Jonathan Shainin
The making of the Oxford English Dictionary was a monumental 50-year task requiring thousands of volunteers. One of the keenest volunteers was a W.C. Minor who astonished everyone by refusing to come to Oxford to receive his congratulations. In the end, James Murray, the OED’s editor, went to Crowthorne in Berkshire to meet him. What he found was incredible — Minor was a millionaire American civil war surgeon turned lunatic, imprisoned in Broadmoor Asylum for murder and yet who dedicated his entire cell-bound life to work on the English language. Simon Winchester tells the story of the Surgeon of Crowthorne, introduced by Jonathan Shainin.
About Simon Winchester: He is the acclaimed author of several books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, Atlantic, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006, Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
12.30-1.30 | Durbar Hall | A Life with the Trilobites | Richard Fortey introduced by Valmik Thapar
Richard Fortey, one of Britain’s leading popular scientists, unravels the history of the trilobite: exotic, crustacean-like animals which dominated the seas for 300 million years. These arthropods witnessed continents move, mountain chains elevate and erode; they survived ice ages and volcanic eruptions, evolving and adapting exquisitely to their environment. They watched through their crystal eyes whilst life evolved with their own evolution calibrating geological time itself. Structured like a detective story, Fortey’s lecture will tell the story of one of the wonders of scientific discovery with an engaging, quirky and fascinating introduction to evolution.
About Richard Fortey: He is a renowned palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. He is better known to a wider public as the writer of eight books of popular science for which The Royal Society awarded him the Michael Faraday Medal.
12.30-1.30 | Mughal Tent | Saakshi: The Witness | S.L. Bhyrappa in conversation with Vivek Shanbhag
S.L. Bhyrappa is the prolific and popular writer of 24 novels in a career that spans five decades. In conversation with writer and translator Vivek Shanbhag, he speaks of his extraordinary journey as a railway porter, a religious monk and a professor of literature, and the acclaim and controversies that have followed his literary career.
About Vivek Shanbhag: He writes in Kannada. He has published five short-story collections, three novels and two plays, and edited two anthologies, one of which is in English. Srinath Perur writes on a variety of subjects, especially travel or science. He is the author of the travelogue If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai (Penguin India, 2013). His latest translation Ghachar Ghochar has been published by HarperCollins India.
1.40-2.20 p.m. | Front Lawn | Eternal Cities: Encounters and Inspirations | Abhay K., Amruta Patil and Marcos Giralt Torrente in conversation with Rob Schmitz
Human settlements and urban organisation have been key to the social development of mankind. The city is the source of civilization, culture and memory. Writers and poets speak of the great cities they have known and loved and that have shaped their creative imagination and are celebrated in their works.
5.15-6.15 p.m. | Baithak | Blood and Flowers | Amruta Patil introduced by Namita Gokhale
Writer and artist Amruta Patil is a ground-breaking graphic novelist with a distinct visual style. Her recent work, Sauptik: Blood and Flowers, the second part of her Mahabharata duology, is a vividly illustrated retelling from the perspective of an unlikely narrator, the wounded immortal Ashwatthama. In a freewheeling solo session, she speaks of the subversive and transformative potential of the ancient myths and epics she retells.
About Amruta Patil: A writer and painter, she is the author of Kari (2008) and Adi Parva (2012) and her visual stories have appeared in various anthologies and magazines. Her latest book Sauptik was launched in 2016.