The Bangalore Literature Festival [BLF] fêtes reading and writing. Bookworms and bibliophiles are invited to bask in the winter sun in the Garden City of India and meet writers from everywhere — local, national and international — as this festival brings the world to ‘Namma Bengaluru’. BLF celebrates this creative spirit of the city popular as the Garden City of India and commemorates the literary diversity it offers, bringing it in conversation with the best minds in the world of literature within and outside India.
Author, journalist and politician Arun Shourie has received several national and international awards, including the Padma Bhushan, the Magsaysay Award, the Dadabhai Naoroji Award, the Astor Award and the International Editor of the Year Award. Acclaimed as one of ‘World Press Freedom Heroes’ by the International Press Institute, a “Star of Asia” by Business Week and “Business Leader of the Year” by the Economic Times jury, he was a minister in the government of India 1998–2004. His books include Does He Know a Mother’s Heart? How Suffering Refutes Religions, We Must Have No Price, Worshipping False Gods, Falling Over Backwards: An essay against Reservations and against Judicial populism, The World of Fatwas or the Sharia in Action, Harvesting Our Souls and Hinduism: Essence and Consequence.
Chetan Bhagat is the best-selling author of six books – Five Point Someone, One Night @ the Call Center, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, 2 States, Revolution 2020 and What Young India Wants. His new novel Half Girlfriendis ready for release. Some of his novels have been adapted into successful Bollywood films. The New York Times called him the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. A columnist with leading dailies, a sought-after motivational speaker and a screenplay writer, Chetan quit his international investment banking career in 2009 to pursue writing.
Born in 1938, Girish Karnad obtained his bachelor’s degree from the Karnatak University in 1958 and then proceeded on a fellowship to study at Oxford where he secured his M.A. degree in 1963. Karnad is internationally known as a playwright, but is also a highly talented film-maker, a versatile actor, an able cultural administrator, a noted communicator and a person of wide accomplishments and interests. Based on his serious explorations of folklore, mythology and history, the subject of his plays reflect the problems and challenges of contemporary life, and endeavour to forge a link between the past and the present. The creative intellectual that he is, he obviously views the subjects of his plays from his own perspective, develops them in the crucible of his own imagination and personal experiences, and employs them as a medium to communicate his own-independent and original-feelings, thoughts and interpretations.
Honours and awards: 1. Central Sangeeth Natak Akademi award for his play Hayavadana 2. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya award in 1978. 3. His play “Nagamandala” was premiered in Minneapolis in the USA. 4. Staged all over the world 5. Samskara won the best film award 6. Vamsha Vriksha got national and state awards 7. Visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 1987-88 8. Director of the Film and Television Institute of India 9. Chairman of the Central Sangeeth Natak Akademi 10. Jnanpith award
Works: 1. Hayavadana 2. Yayati 3. Tughalak 4. Anjumallige 5. Hittina Hunja Taledanda 6. Agni mathu Male 7. Tippuvina Kannasugalu 8. Translated his plays from Kannada into English 9. Translated his play Tughalak into German and Hungarian. 10. Director, actor and screenplay writer for many Kannada movies such as Samskara, Vamsha Vriksha, Kadu, Kanooru Heggadithi.
Kunwar Natwar Singh is a diplomat and politician, who served as India’s External Affairs Minister in the UPA government from 2004-05. He received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 1984. His book One Life Is Not Enough is a searing, honest account of the life of a veteran politician that provides an insider’s view of the theatre of Indian politics, even as it exposes uncomfortable truths and sets records straight.
He has written E.M. Forster : A tribute, New York, 1964, The Legacy of Nehru, New York, 1965, Tales from Modern India, New York, Stories from India, London, Maharaja Suraj Mal, London, 1981, Curtain Raisers, Delhi, 1984, Profile and Letters, Delhi, 1997, The Magnificent Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Delhi, 1997, Heart to Heart, Delhi, 2008. He also reviews books for national and international newspapers and magazines; his writings and review have appeared in the New York Times, Saturday Review, Sunday Times, New Statesman and Financial Times (London), India Today, Frontline, Outlook, Sunday, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, Telegraph and many Hindi papers and Magazines.
1984- Awarded Padma Bhushan; 1989- E.M. Forster Literary Award; 2004- Honorary Degree of Doctor of Political Science, University of Kyung Hee, South Korea. 2005- Elected Hon. Fellow, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
Sports, Clubs, Favorite Pastimes and Recreation : Delhi State Junior Tennis, 1949 and (ii) Delhi University Tennis, 1950-51;
College Colours in tennis, hockey, football, cricket and athletics: President- Delhi Gymkhana Club, 1984-85, President- All India Tennis Association, 1988-92; Member (i) The Garrick Club, London (ii) The Royal Overseas League, Delhi Gymkhana Club.
Widely traveled (over 100 countries) in connection with the diplomatic and other official assignments
Joined the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1953; during 31 years in the IFS, served in Peking, 1956-58, New York- with the Permanent Mission of India, 1961-66; India’s representative to Executive Board of UNICEF, 1962-66; Rapporteur, (i) United Nation as Committee of 24, 1963-66 and (ii) Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, 1965; Member (i) Prime Minister’s Secretariat (Smt. Indira Gandhi) 1966-71 (ii) Indian delegate to the Heads of Commonwealth Meeting, Kingston, Jamaica, 1975 and (iii) Congress (I) since 1984; Indian delegation to (i) 30the session of United General Assembly, New York, (ii) Heads of Commonwealth Meeting, Lusaka, Zambia, 1979 and (iii) 35th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York; and State visit of the late Prime Minister (Smt. Indira Gandhi) to USA, 1982; Executive Trustee, United Nations Institute of Training and Research (U.N.I.T.A.R) appointed by the Secretary General, United Nations, for six years (1981-86); served on Expert Group appointed by the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, London, 1982; Secretary General Seventh Non-aligned summit, New Delhi, 1983; Chief Coordinator, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), New Delhi, 1983; Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, March 1982- November 1984; elected President, UN Conference on Disarmament and Development, New York, 1987; Leader Indian Delegation to the 42nd Session of UN General Assembly; Jan 1989- Leader of Delegation to the conference on Chemical weapons, Paris. July-august 1989-Conference on Cambodia, Paris. September 1989- Attended NAM Summit, Belgrade. Ambassador to Poland- 1971-73; Ambassador to Pakistan- 1980-82; 2004-2005, Had discussions with many Heads of State including President Putin, President Bush, President Hu Chin Tao of China, President Musharaf of Pakistan, President Chandrika Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka, President of South Korea and Vietnam. 2004- Leader of Delegation to Tsunami world conference, Jakarta. 2005- Leader of Delegation to Shanghai Group Meeting Alma Ata, Kazakhstan. 2004-2005- Held discussion with over thirty Foreign Ministers and U.N. Secretary General.
Rani Mukerji is an award-winning actor with a firm place in the Bollywood firmament. The leading lady of several films, she is known both for her blockbuster films as well as critically acclaimed ones. Her films include Mardaani, No One Killed Jessica, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Bunty Aur Babli, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Veer-Zaara and Talaash to name a few. For her roles in the films Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Yuva (2004), and No One Killed Jessica (2011), Mukerji won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for her roles in Saathiya (2002) and Black (2005), and received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her roles in Hum Tum (2004) and Black (2005).
With over three decades of seminal reporting from the political and social frontlines of a changing India, Shekhar Gupta’s byline is today synonymous with unparalleled credibility, independence and influence. His work includes some of the most significant investigations in contemporary journalism in the region: from Indira Gandhi’s Operation Blue Star to the disastrous Indian intervention in Sri Lanka, from tracking Pakistan’s politics and military to the first Afghan jihad and its effect in Kashmir.
A recipient of the Padma Bhushan in 2009, India’s third highest civilian honour, Gupta is Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express newspaper. Under his leadership, The Indian Express has thrice won the Vienna-based International Press Institute’s Award for Excellence in Journalism. He joined the newspaper as a reporter in 1977 and then spent a decade in India Today as a reporter and editor.
A regular speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos and its India summits, Gupta is the author of Assam: A Valley Divided (1984) and a monograph, ‘India Redefines Its Role’ (1995), for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, where he is a member of the Council. He also anchors Walk the Talk, a weekly conversation on NDTV with newsmakers from across the world. A collection of these interviews will be published soon.
A proud father of a pastry chef in Delhi and a mathematical economist in London, Gupta lives in New Delhi with his wife—and the company of an adorable family of dogs and cats whom you would call stray at your own peril.
Shobhaa De’s 17 books have all been runaway bestsellers. Her latest, Sethji, was declared this season’s hottest seller by the book trade. A widely read columnist in leading publications, she is known for her outspoken views, making her one of India’s most respected opinion shapers. She lives in Mumbai with her family.
Sidin Vadukut is the author of four books. His bestselling Dork trilogy of office culture humour novels told the story of Robin Einstein Varghese–unlikely corporate titan, strategy guru and international Malayali man of mystery. His fourth book is The Sceptical Patriot, a bestselling collection of investigations into the veracity of oft-quoted glories and achievement in Indian history. Vadukut is an editor and columnist with the Mint newspaper, and a contributor to Cricinfo, Quartz, the Khaleej Times, and several other unsuspecting publications. He lives, and tweets, in London with his wife, daughter and a painfully slow metabolism