The second day of the 14thApeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF)hosted Pulitzer-winning American author Alice Walker at the majestic Park Mansions. The author participated in an engaging discussion in hybrid mode.
The hybrid session named ‘Linking Worlds’ hosted Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, and iconic writerwho was in conversation with Anjum Katyal,Director, AKLF and author-publisherUrvashi Butalia.
“This is Alice Walker writing to you from Mexico, another beautiful, lively, deep, colorful and fiercely original country! This will be my second “trip” to India and I very much wish it were to be in person. But even on a screen, I will be happy to be with you……..I wanted very much (wanted) to also visit your great city, but, alas, it wasn’t possible at the time. To be with you today, even in this odd fashion, on a screen (!) Still fills my heart with joy. I believe strongly in the possibility of one world of humans existing in warm and respectful relationship with each other. However, that is achieved lightens the heart. May we enjoy and learn from each other today, and always. Bowing deeply, in peace and happiness,” Pulitzer prize-winning novelistAlice walker said in her message.
Anjum Katyal, Director, AKLF who was cohosting the Alice Walker session said, “One of the highpoints of the festival was the session with Alice Walker where she linked in virtually from her home in Mexico. A conversation with Urvashi Butalia and myself covered issues of black writing and the coloured women’s voice in literature over the decades with her own experience adding layers to the discussion. This is Alice Walker’s first ever Calcutta festival appearance and we are very proud to have hosted her.”
In the session “Trans-formation”, Akkai Padmashali, a transgender activist, discussed her memoir A Small Step in a Long Journey with Anindya Hajra. The session was introduced by Urvashi Butalia, the publisher of Zubaan.
‘Mother Tongues’: The session was on translating from Sanskrit and Urdu. Two experienced translators, Arshia Sattar and Syeda Hameed discussed how they bring those classic languages of the subcontinent into contemporary times, with the moderator, experienced translator Arunava Sinha.
The session ‘Yesterday Once More’ had a presence of Actor and poet Deepti Naval who was in conversation with Supriya Newar on her memoir which was A Country Called Childhood.
The session ‘Oh Calcutta’! Vir Sanghvi had talked about food with his favourite Kolkata chefs: Doma Wang (Blue Poppy/Thakali), AuroniMookerjee (Sienna Café) and Shaun Kenworthy (Glenburn Penthouse/ Café) in the presence of moderator Debanjan Chakrabarti.
‘Be Positive’: In the session, Nutritionist Nandita Iyer (This Handmade Life) and IP-lawyer-turned-author Dahlia Sen-Oberoi (Ashramed) had discussed how to stay positive under stress along with journalist Seema Goswami and the moderator Shubha (Pinky) Kenworthy.
‘Shades of Grey’: Australian History writer John Zubrzycki (The Shortest History of India) was in conversation with popular history writer Shrabani Basuon How does one balance fact and fiction while writing about historical personalities for the lay reader? which was Supported by the Australian High Commission and Australian Consulate-General Kolkata.
In the session ‘Time Travel’, Tilottama Shome (The Kailash Temple at Ellora) and Nandini Sengupta(Rani Durgawati: The Forgotten Life of a Warrior Queen)discussed their approach on how each of them brings the past alive in a distinct way.
‘Murder, She Wrote’: The session had a presence of popular fiction writers Anuja Chauhan (Club You to Death) and Nilanjana Roy (Black River) who had discussed on their new whodunits. The Moderator of the session was Radhika Singh of British Council.
In the session on ‘What Women Want’ regarding Women’s agency in ancient texts had a presence of an art historian and curator Alka Pande (Kama quartet), poet and translator Mani Rao (Saundarya Lahari), and graphic artist Amruta Patil (Aranyaka). The moderator of the session was MinuTharoor.
‘Zikr: A Memoir’. In thissession Film-maker, fashion designer, poet, artist and music lover, Muzaffar Ali along with Meera Ali of the House of Kotwara takes a trip down memory lane in the presence of Moderator Sathya Saran.