Aakar Patel is the Executive Director of Amnesty International India. A columnist and writer, he has edited newspapers since 1996. And has translated the writings of Saadat Hasan Manto from Urdu and the writings of Narendra Modi from Gujarati.
A Film Institute graduate, Adoor Gopalakrishnan has written and directed twelve feature films and more than two dozen non-fiction films, many of which have been screened at and received critical acclaim at major film festivals around the world. The International Film Critics’ Prize has gone to him six times successively. He received the British Film Institute (BFI) award for the Most Original and Imaginative film of 1982 for In 2004 the French Govt. honoured him with the title, Commander of the Order of Arts & Letters. He was given the Dada Phalke Award, India’s highest national honour for cinema, in 2005. India’s top civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, went to him in 2006 and he has bagged lifetime achievement awards from Cairo, Denver and New Jersey, Colombo and MAMI (Bombay) festivals. He has published four books on theory and aesthetics of cinema.
Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush
Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush is a film director and a start-up entrepreneur. Daughter of the legendary actor Rajinikanth and married to Dhanush, also one of India’s best-known actors, Aishwaryaa is the mother of two boys. She lives in Chennai. She is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer (recognized by the state government for the same in 2009), a voracious reader and a passionate writer. In August 2016, she was appointed as UN Women’s Advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment in India. Standing On An Apple Box is her first book.
Armed with an MBA from UCLA, and a home-grown flair for the book trade, Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books International (OBI), started the publishing arm of the 58-year-old book distribution outfit, Om Book Shop. He implemented a strategically planned expansion on the retail front as well. He was instrumental in shaping OBI—its fiction and non-fiction lists; Spotlight, its cinema imprint and OmKidz, its children’s imprint. He is also a consultant with a European publishing house.Today OBI counts amongst its authors Rohit Bal, Maria Goretti, Kris Gethin, Rauf Ahmed, Mushtaq Shiekh, Anupama Chopra, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Bikram Grewal, Khalid Mohamed, Raghu Rai, Vir Sanghvi and William Dalrymple.
Ajitha G.S. has been an editor in various media and formats for the past 17 years. She is currently senior commissioning editor, HarperCollins Publishers India.
Alan Johnson is a Professor of English at Idaho State University.
His expertise is in postcolonial literature and theory, with an emphasis on South Asia, especially India, where he was born. He teaches a variety of other courses besides his speciality area, such as the novel, major figures (e.g., Rushdie and Naipaul), literary theory, postcolonial ecocriticism, comparative literature, South Asian literature and popular culture, writing about literature, and honors humanities. In 2010, he was a Fulbright lecturer in India, focusing on globalization and the place of literature, and he’s traveled throughout India for research, conferences, and talks. His current project is an interdisciplinary study of literary and popular depictions of the jungle in Indian literature, which draws on, among other fields, postcolonial critique and ecocriticism. Other projects: Hindi (Bollywood) film studies; religion and literature in India. He has written two books, Postcolonial Literature Today, co-edited with Jagdish Batra (New Delhi: Prestige, 2015) and Out of Bounds: Anglo-Indian Literature and the Geography of Displacement. (Univ. of Hawai’i, 2011).
He is currently a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar based in Chennai.
A storyteller, story coach and consultant, Ameen Haque is also the founder of Storywallahs – a company that trains people in the art of storytelling. No matter what you do, today’s world revolves around stories and Ameen has coached leaders, teachers and children alike to be powerful storytellers.
Described as ‘India’s first literary popstar’ by world-renowned film director Shekhar Kapur, Amish’s unique combination of crackling story-telling, religious symbolism and profound philosophies have made him an overnight publishing phenomenon, with spiritual guru Deepak Chopra hailing his books as ‘archetypal and stirring’.
His 4 books till now — The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayuputras, which collectively comprise the Shiva Trilogy, and Scion of Ikshvaku (Part 1 of the Ram Chandra Series) — have over 3.5 million copies in print with gross retail sales of over Rs 100 crores. The Shiva Trilogy is the fastest selling book series in Indian history. The Indian language translations of his books have sold 5 lakh copies, breaking records in this space.
Forbes Magazine has listed Amish amongst the 100 most influential celebrities in India, four years in a row. He was Man of the Year by Radio City, GQ 50 Most Influential Young Indian and selected as an Eisenhower Fellow.
A graduate of IIM-Calcutta, he worked for 14 years in the financial services industry before turning to full-time writing. He lives in Mumbai.
Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based author, curator, film theoretician and historian. He has authored books on cinema in English and Gujarati, besides having edited and co-edited a number of books. His book Cinema Vimarsh has been awarded by the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi. For the past decade he has been engaged with his theoretical concept of Cinema Prayoga and has presented it at various venues in India and abroad. He has been on juries of numerous film festivals and is on the international advisory board of the Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ) published from London. He is Consultant Curator for the National Museum of India Cinema being set up in Mumbai by Government of India. He was curator for the film section of Mumbai’s Kala Ghoda Artfest in its initial years, as also of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale’s Artists’ Cinema section, 2015 and 2016.
Anand Neelakantan invented a new genre in literature: the counter-telling of mythology.
He debuted in early 2012 with the block-buster hit Asura – Tale of the Vanquished, which told the story of Ramayana from the point of view of Ravana and a common Asura called Bhadra. The novel was shortlisted for 2013 Crossword Popular Award and still remains on the best-seller charts. The novel has been translated into all major Indian languages and Indonesian Bahasa and has gone for multiple reprints in almost all the languages it got published. This was followed by Ajaya series, Ajaya Book I – Roll of the Dice and Ajaya Book II – Rise of Kali, which told the Mahabharata from Duryodhana’s perspective. The Manava Gita or counter-argument for Bhagwad Gita is a highlight of this work. Both the books remained in best-seller charts for almost a year, with former in #1 position of the Financial Express best-seller list for 16 continuous weeks and latter for 3 months. They also have been translated into 9 Indian languages so far. Roll of the Dice was shortlisted for 2014 Crossword popular award.
Anand has written story/screenplay for various TV series. Star TV’s mega series Siya Ke Ram, Sony TV’s Mahabali Hanuman, Colours TV’s Chakravarthi Samrat Ashoka are prominent examples. He has also written story/screenplay for the thriller Adaalat. The producers of Baahubali, the biggest grosser in Indian film history, have announced that he is writing a three book novel series based on Bahubali. The novels will be a prequel to the story of the film. He has also scripted a Malayalam film which will be released in 2017.
He has written columns in major newspapers inclding Washington Post, The Hindu, The Pioneer, Deccan Chronicle, Deccan Herald, The Telegraph, The Indian Express, The Speaking Tree, Times of India, The Guardian etc. He has also published cartoons and short stories in leading Malayalam magazines.
Anand lives in Mumbai.
Ananth Padmanabhan is dog lover, bibliophile, novelist, photographer and CEO at HarperCollins India. He began his career in publishing in 1992 as a bookseller with Landmark and then joined Penguin where he went on to become senior vice president in the management team at Penguin Random House. He is a photographer and has completed many personal and professional projects, one of which, on publishing, called Calcutta: Walking in the City. Play With Me, an erotic novel, is his first work of fiction.
Andaleeb Wajid is the author of several novels in the past 7 years. Her Young Adult novel When She Went Away has been shortlisted for The Hindu Young World GoodBooks Award 2017. She has recently published a romance novel, Will the Oven Explode. A fulltime writer, she is a creative writing facilitator at Nutcracker Workshops.
Anita Raghavan was born in Malaysia but came to the United States in 1970. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she spent eighteen years at the Wall Street Journal where she won the Overseas Press Club award for her coverage of the mergers and acquisition boom in Europe, and the New York Press Club award for her reporting on the the near death of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital. In 2008, she became the London Bureau Chief for Forbes. Currently she is a contributor to New York Times Dealbook and Forbes.
Anita is the author of The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of The Indian-American Elite and The Fall of The Galleon Hedge Fund.
Antoine Lewis lives to eat and writes to live. As a journalist, he’s spent the last twenty years digging through culinary histories, sniffing out emerging food trends and eating his way through India’s best, and worst, restaurants. Every week millions of listeners tune in to 94.3 Radio One’s Good Morning Mumbai to listen to him talking about food and books. He is also one of the Directors of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai International Literature Festival.
Anuja Chandramouli is a bestselling Indian author and new age Indian Classicist. Her acclaimed debut novel, Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince, was named by Amazon India as one of the top 5 books in the Indian Writing category for the year 2013. Kamadeva: The God of Desire and Shakti: The Divine Feminine are her other bestsellers. Currently all three books are being translated into Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali. Her latest book is Yama’s Lieutenant. Her articles, short stories and book reviews have appeared in various publications like Femina, Women’s Era, Lonely Planet, The Hindu and The New Indian Express.
Aparna Chandar’s work as a composer and music director for “Dancing Tales”, a dance, music and storytelling performance for children has won acclaim across India.
Aparna is the CEO of Twaang, the popular Indian classical music app. Twaang brings the largest collection of eclectic (non-film) Indian music to music lovers across the world. Her focus with Twaang has been to bring Indian music to the youngsters, with the aim of making it a an everlasting fad. Aparna is a Carnatic vocalist, teacher and music aficionado. Her brainchild, the Dhvani School of music, has for a decade trained the younger generation in Carnatic music, nurturing young talents.
Arup Kumar Dutta
Arup Kumar Dutta is an author and freelance journalist based in Guwahati, Assam. He writes short-fiction, long-fiction, non-fiction, newspaper articles and columns, satirical pieces as well as novels for young adults. His longer works of fiction like The Anagarika’s Swansong, Red – Camellia Green, The Ahoms (an imaginative depiction of a dynasty which ruled the Brahmaputra Valley), have received critical acclaim, as have his meticulously researched 15 non-fiction books like The Brahmaputra, Unicornis – The Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros, Cha-Garam – The Tea Story, The Final Frontier, Hammer Blow, The Roving Minstrel. His 17 juvenile adventure novels include The Kaziranga Trail, Blind Witness, Smack, Lure of Zangrila, Revenge, Save the Pool, Oh Deer, Footprints in the Sand, The Counterfeit Treasure, A Story About Tea, The Crystal Cave, The Boy who became King etc. Among his awards are Shankar’s Award, Journalist Welfare Foundation Award, Kamal Kumari National Award and Lifetime Achievement Honour by AWIC, the Indian Chapter of International Board for Books for Young People. Between 2004-2008 the Government of India appointed him Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre, Jakarta, and Indian Cultural Centre, Bali, with the rank of a Counselor in the Indian Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Ashish Vidyarthi is a national award winning actor. Trained at the National School of Drama, he has worked in more than 200 films across eleven languages and received the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Drohkaak in 1995. Passionate about acting, travelling, photography, writing and meeting people while engaging in conversations about life, he sees “The journey as the destination”. His travels across varied cultures, work conditions, peer relationships, success, failures and the insights he has mined, from each unique day have found expression in Avid Miner – Out of the Box Leadership Conversations. These unique conversations are borne out of real life experiences of his career and interaction with people.
Ashok Chopra, author-publisher, has occupied some of the hottest seats in the Indian book trade – executive editor of Vikas Publishing House, vice-president of Macmillan India, publishing director of UBS Publishers, executive director and publisher of the India Today Book Club and Books Today as well as chief executive and publisher of HarperCollins Publishers India. Currently, he is the Chief Executive of Hay House Publishers India. He is the author of the bestseller – A Scrapbook of Memories and his latest book – Of Love and Other Sorrows – has just been published by Penguin India. He lives in Gurgaon.
Bezwada Wilson is an activist and one of the founders and National Convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), an Indian human rights organization that has been campaigning for the eradication of manual scavenging. He has been leading this movement for over a decade and is well known as one of the leading figures of the Dalit movement in India. His work at SKA, a community-driven movement, has been recognized by the Ashoka Foundation which has nominated him a Senior Fellow. In July 2016, he was honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Bezwada and his organization have served as a watchdog, pushing for legal action to demolish dry toilets across India and preparing manual scavengers to achieve new sources of income. His goal is to detach manual scavenging and sanitary work from Dalits, in the larger context of reforming the caste system, by pushing government agencies to replace manual scavenging with mechanization.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Mumbai-based author, columnist and critic Bharathi S Pradhan’s latest book, Anything But Khamosh, is a biography of actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha. She has written fiction and non-fiction books and has also edited and contributed to diverse publications such as Star & Style, Lehren, Movie, Savvy, Reader’s Digest, Mid-day and Femina. She continues to be a Sunday columnist with The Telegraph, reviews English and Hindi films for LehrenTV and several other digital platforms every Friday, and hosts Show Business, an analytical show on Lehren TV and YouTube. She has been on the jury of many prestigious awards like ITA, ICE Awards and GIFA. She was Chairperson of the National Awards for Best Writing on Cinema and a jury member of the Indian Panorama at IFFI 2015. Her books incude Mr Bidi, Heartfelt: A real life inspirational story and Colas Cars & Communal Harmony.
Carlo Pizzati has published two novels, a collection of short stories and a non-fiction book. He writes about culture and politics for the Italian national newspaper La Stampa and teaches post-graduate level communication theory courses in different continents. His works appear in Italian, English and Spanish. Born in Switzerland, he grew up near the Dolomites Mountains north of Venice, Italy, then in Florida, Washington D.C. and New York City where, in 1987, he started to work as a foreign correspondent, which brought him to Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Madrid and since 2010 across Asia, based in a fishermen village in Tamil Nadu.
Chandan Gowda teaches at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. He has translated UR Ananthamurthy’s story, Bara (Oxford Univ Press, 2016). He has recently edited, The Way I See It: A Gauri Lankesh Reader (Navayana and DC Books, forthcoming). A Life in the World, a book of autobiographical interviews he did with UR Ananthamurthy will be published early next year (HarperCollins, 2018). He has also edited Theatres of Democracy: Selected Essays of Shiv Visvanathan (HarperCollins, 2016) and is presently completing a book on the cultural politics of development in old Mysore state. He writes a weekly column on culture and politics in Bangalore Mirror.
Chandini is a Bengaluru based LGBT activist and poet. She has worked for many years with Sangama, the leading resource centre on Sexuality and is now with the social enterprise Three Wheels United. Chandini regularly conducts workshops on gender, human rights and other themes. She has represented the community at conferences and seminars across the globe including the World Social Forum in Kenya and the recent UNAIDS Conference in Johannesburg.
Chandini is a published poet. Her first compilation is titled ‘Manada Kannu’ and in the works are another anthology and her autobiography.
Chetan Bhagat is the author of nine books. These include seven novels—Five Point Someone, One Night @ A Call Center, The 3 Mistakes of My Life, 2 States, Revolution 2020, Half Girlfriend and One Indian Girl, and two non-fiction titles—What Young India Wants and Making India Awesome. His books have remained bestsellers since their release. Four out his five novels have been already adapted into successful Bollywood films and the others are in the process of being adapted. The New York Times called him the ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’. Time magazine named him among the ‘100 most influential people in the world’ and Fast Company, USA, listed him as one of the world’s ‘100 most creative people in business’. He writes columns for leading English and Hindi newspapers, focusing on youth and national development issues. He is also a motivational speaker and screenplay writer. He quit his international investment banking career in 2009 to devote himself to writing and make change happen in the country. He lives in Mumbai.
Dr. Claus Heimes is the director of Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan in Bangalore/India.
Until recently, he was consul and director of the Department for Culture and Education in the German Consulate General in Shanghai. He has been an advisor to the secretary general of the Goethe-Institut and a business consultant. He has studied history, law, philosophy, international relations and political sciences in Göttingen, Amsterdam and Berlin and has a Ph.D. in political philosophy. Claus was born in Mönchengladbach, West Germany.
Deepthi Talwar has worked in publishing for more than fifteen years and is currently Chief Editor with Westland Publications. She has worked with several bestselling fiction and non-fiction writers, including Rujuta Diwekar, Amish, Devdutt Pattanaik, Hussain Zaidi, Anuja Chauhan and Preeti Shenoy, and has edited a variety of books over the years: from travel writing to literary fiction, from mythology to thrillers. In 2008, she was part of the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair Fellowship program, which focuses on information exchange, professional dialogue and the creation of networks between international publishers.
G Sampath is a writer and journalist based in Delhi. He is currently the social affairs editor at The Hindu. He was previously a columnist for Livemint. He was part of the launch team of Daily News and Analysis (DNA) in Mumbai and served as its books editor from 2005 to 2012. He is the author of How to Make Enemies and Offend People, a work of satirical non-fiction, and the editor of The Pleasure Principle, an anthology of erotic fiction. His collection of short stories, Autoplay, is forthcoming in 2017.
Ganeshram is a naturalist by profession, the founder of TerraTaala, an organisation that seeks to enable people to celebrate nature in their everyday lives. Music has been his childhood passion and he has taught himself to play several instruments over the years. He looks forward to using his skills at music, to engage communities in moving towards a more sustainable way of life.
Karthik Sundar Gubbi – better known by his stage name Gubbi – is a multilingual rapper from the city of Bengaluru. He raps predominantly in his mother tongue Kannada but also in English, Hindi and German. Gubbi’s approach is experimental and involves projects which blend rap with other musical genres. His musical background is to be found in battle rap and he is the first rapper using lyrical Kannada language.
Gurcharan Das’ latest book, India Grows at Night: A liberal case for a strong state, was on the FT’s best books for 2013. His much-acclaimed The Difficulty of Being Good is ‘a riveting examination of governance and corruption in the modern world,’ said Newsweek and his international bestseller, India Unbound ‘is a quiet earthquake’ said the Guardian. It is published in 19 languages and filmed by BBC. His other literary works include a novel, A Fine Family, book of essays, The Elephant Paradigm, and an anthology, Three Plays. He studied philosophy at Harvard University. He was CEO of Procter & Gamble India and later Managing Director, Procter & Gamble Worldwide (Strategic Planning). At 50, he took early retirement to become a full time writer. He writes a regular column for the Times of India and five Indian language papers, and periodic articles for The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs and Wall Street Journal. He is editing for Penguin The Story of Indian Business in 15 volumes, of which nine have appeared. He lives in Delhi.
Harish Bijoor is a Brand-thinker and practitioner operating out of Bengaluru, India. He runs a unique boutique-consulting outfit branded “Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.”, a brand name that has a consulting presence across the markets of Hong Kong, Seattle, London, Istanbul, Dubai and the Indian sub-continent. Harish has spent his career across the aggressive realms of FMCG, Telecom and Consumer Durables. He is considered a marketing practitioner and thinker who is ahead of the consumer thinking curve, year on year. Harish is a public speaker who speaks to corporate audiences across the globe in the realm of motivation, people-management issues, brands, marketing and business at large. He has spoken to corporate audiences across the world for 12,100 hours to date. Harish teaches at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad & Mohali, in addition to semesters at overseas Business schools in the US and Europe. He has been teaching at the Indian School of Business for the past 15 years. Harish has recently published a book titled, “Marketing Trends – Smart Insights into the world of Indian Business”, a serious book written in a style that is distinctly young and ‘MTV-ish’! He is currently involved in his second book on core branding. The book is titled ”Brand Irrationals: a fundamental journey into brand- think”. Harish has simultaneously been commissioned to write a book on “Customer Service mechanisms” at play in contemporary marketing contexts. Harish is actively involved in research relating to Rural Consumer Behavior, Rural Retail Networks and Trade mechanisms at play. The current research exercise he is involved in spans a 6-year period covering 84,850 consumers across India. Harish has published papers extensively on the subjects relating to Strategic Marketing, Branding, Consumer Behavior, Retail networks, Rural marketing, Marketing research and Trend-analysis. Harish Bijoor contributes regularly to Business publications on Branding, sales, distribution and related topics.
Jahnavi Barua is a writer based in Bangalore. Her first book, Next Door, a collection of short stories was published by Penguin India in 2008 to wide critical acclaim. Her second book and first novel, Rebirth, was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Award and the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize.
Jane De Suza
Jane De Suza’s latest novel Happily Never After is a hilariously honest love story. Earlier books include the detective-comedy The Spy who Lost her Head and the best-selling SuperZero series for children, among others. She is a management grad and an advertising consultant, and writes for magazines and anthologies across the world.
Jeeva started telling stories first to the toddlers as a teacher for 12 long years. She moved on to teach French for the high schoolers using her creative teaching techniques. Destiny turned to her favour when she met her schoolmate Radhika Menon, of Tulika publishers, and she turned to marketing children’s books.This led her to translate
Cathy Spagnoli’s Priya’s Day. 15 years ago she was christened “Professional storyteller” at the launch of the same book. Lady luck, hard work and her passion for story telling has grown bounds and leap and today she has to her credit pioneered the storytelling movement in Tamil Nadu, trained over 25,000 children and adults all over the world, given over 500 performances and authored 8 children’s books both nationally and internationally.
Jeeva’s storytelling style leaves her audience spell-bound. She believes that she herself is the best prop for her storytelling. Her repertoire of stories includes a wide range of Indian and Asian folk-tales, European tales, Family stories, True-life incidents, Cross-culture and modern Stories.
Jeeva’s Workshops are highly interactive and based on time-tested storytelling ideas. They have also proven effective for varied groups and ages. Topics include storytelling techniques, story development, communication skills through stories, exploring India and developing language skills through stories.
Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao, is an Indian businessman, entrepreneur, columnist and author. He is currently the Executive Chairman of Value and Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC), an affordable housing venture which he founded in 2010. He is also a founder and director of Homefirst Finance Corporation, a housing finance company focused on providing housing finance to first time home buyers.
Jerry Rao holds Master’s degrees in Business Administration from the IIM-Ahmedabad as well as the University of Chicago, US. He is a visiting faculty at both the institutions.
Rao is a regular writer and speaker. He has published a volume of poetry – Gemini II published by Penguin India, and a book of essays – Notes from an Indian Conservative published by Rupa. He writes a regular opinion column for the Indian Express and occasional columns for Economic Times, India International Centre Quarterly and Mint.
Josy Joseph is the author of the recently released book, A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India. He is an award-winning investigative journalist based in New Delhi and presently the National Security Editor of The Hindu. He holds a Master’s in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Kerala University. He lives in New Delhi.
Kalyanaraman loves to span generations. It all started when he got his hands on a manuscript of a Sanskrit work written by his great grandfather, comprising of some 200 verses in Sanskrit. He translated Ganesatatwasudhalah
He lives and writes in Bangalore with his wife.
After writing for various publications, PR firms and companies for nearly two decades, Kanchana Banerjee pursued her long cherished dream – to write a novel. She holds a Masters degree in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and has also a done a story writing course from London School of Journalism. Her debut novel A Forgotten Affair is a marital drama that deals with the themes of love, friendship and delves into the sensitive issue of emotional abuse that happens in affluent homes.
Kanhaiya Kumar is a former President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union. He is also a leader of the All India Student Federation, the student wing of the Communist Party of India. Kumar graduated with a degree in geography from the College of Commerce, where he began his involvement in student politics. After completing his Masters in Sociology, Kumar moved to Delhi and after topping the Jawaharlal Nehru University entrance exam he joined the University where he is currently pursuing a PhD in African studies at the School of International Studies.
Bihar to Tihar: My Political Journey (Juggernaut) is his story from his childhood in rural Bihar, college days in Patna, to his political coming of age and fame in Delhi.
Kanishk Tharoor ‘s first book, Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories, was published by Aleph in 2016, and will be published in the US and UK in spring 2017. The book received the Tata Lit Live First Book Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. He is the presenter of “Museum of Lost Objects,” a BBC radio series on the destruction of cultural heritage in West Asia. His pieces on politics and culture have appeared widely, including in the New York Times, Guardian, and The National. He is a columnist for the Hindustan Times and The Hindu Business Line.
Karan Pinto Started playing the guitar and singing in choirs from Age 8. Has performed with the boy rock band Shock Democracy as rhythm guitarist, bassy and backing vocalist. Now sings and plays acoustic guitar with his childhood friend and classmate of 10 years, Arjun Barua.
Kiran Manral worked as a journalist with The Times of India and The Asian Age and was among the top bloggers in India. Her books include The Reluctant Detective, Once Upon A Crush, All Aboard, Karmic Kids – The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You, The Face at the Window and A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up. She currently writes a column on sexuality in DNA and has previously been a columnist-blogger on gender issues with Tehelka. She was part of the core founding team of Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and Violence Against Women Awareness Month, two social media initiatives that ran for four years. She is also on the planning board of the Kumaon Literary Festival, Chair of the Women Unlimited Series of the Taj Colloquium, a mentor with Sheroes, Qween and Back 2 The Front, and is an advisor on the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi. She lives in Mumbai.
K.R. Meera is a multi-award-winning writer and journalist who has published more than a dozen books, including short stories, novels and essays, and won some of the most prestigious literary prizes, including the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for short story and novel, the Vayalar Award and the Odakkuzhal Award. Last year, she won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award for Aarachar, widely hailed as a contemporary classic and a bestseller in Malayalam with more than 120,000 copies in less than three years. It was published in English as Hangwoman and was short-listed for the DSC Literary Prize. Her other translated works include Yellow Is The Colour Of Longing, The Gospel of Yudas and And Slowly Forgetting That Tree. She lives in Kottayam.
Lakshmi Karunakaran is an art based educator and communication professional. She started her career as a telecom engineer but soon shifted gears to work first as a communication specialist and later as an educator. In 2013, when she decided to move to the social sector and work with children and arts, Lakshmi relocated to Kolar Gold Fields where she lived and worked with five government run primary schools for over a year. This inspired her to use art as a medium of education and she now works with Government schools in urban/rural areas, and in alternate and remedial schools with a diverse population of children and educators.
She has been selected as a resident artist at the AIR Laboratory Program 2017, Warsaw for a project on children from post industrial areas. She currently works as a consultant at Radio Active 90.4 MHz, Bangalore’s first community radio station, where she produces shows on arts, education and inclusivity. She also works with Rangashanka Theatre Group as a facilitator for a Theatre in Education Program.
Madhavi Mahadevan is a fiction writer. She has written two books for children and two collections of short stories. Her latest is a novel, The Kaunteyas.
Maitreyee B Chowdhury is a Bangalore-based poet and writer. She has two books to her credit- Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen: Bengali Cinema’s First Couple and Where Even the Present is Ancient: Benaras. The former was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Awards, 2013 (non-fiction category). One of the organisers of Bengaluru Poetry Festival, she is also poetry and fiction editor of The Bangalore Review, a literary journal.
Mani Rao is the author of nine poetry books and two books in translation– of the Bhagavad Gita as a poem, and Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader, which was a finalist for the Lucien Stryk Translation Prize. Her poems and essays are published in journals, including Tinfish, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Washington Square, Fulcrum, West Coast Line, and Interim, and in anthologies including Zoland Poetry, W.W.Norton’s Language for a New Century, Penguin’s 60 Indian Poets, and the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. She has performed at literary festivals including The Age Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Vancouver Asian Heritage Month, Chicago Humanities Festival, New York PEN World Voices, Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, and Singapore International Poetry Festival. Translations of her poems have been published in Latin, Italian, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, French and German. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Iowa International Writing Program in 2005 and 2009, and the 2006 University of Iowa International Programs writer-in-residence. She worked in advertising and marketing for nearly 20 years, in India, Hong Kong and New Zealand. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNLV, USA, and a PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University, USA.
Manjiri Prabhu holds a doctorate in Communication Science and is an independent film-maker for television, a writer/ novelist in English and also the founder/director of a literary festival. She has directed over 200 children’s TV programmes, more than 50 short fiction and travel films and has authored 9 books. Her unpublished psychological thriller novel was adapted into a Hindi feature film by NFDC, titled Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha. Her thesis, converted into a book, titled Roles: Reel and Real, has become a rare reference book for students of Hindi cinema. She has been acknowledged as a pioneer in India among women writers of mystery fiction and is the first female mystery author to be published outside India and has been labelled as the ‘Desi Agatha Christie’. Her novel ‘The Cosmic Clues’ was selected as a Killer Book, by Independent Mystery Booksellers of America, and ‘The Astral Alibi’ was honoured as a ‘Notable Book’ in the Kiriyama Prize. She is the founder/director of the Pune International Literary Festival.
Chef Manu’s passion for food surfaced at a young age, thanks to his family’s deep culinary traditions. At St. Stephen’s College, he wrote, designed and helped photograph a book on fusion cuisine. Manu then enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Hyde Park, New York, where he apprenticed with some of the city’s most celebrated kitchens, including Restaurant Daniel, Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern, Café Centro, Jean Georges and Town and also opened the now legendary Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan.
Late 2004 saw Manu returning to India, where he joined Olive Beach Bangalore as Chef de Cuisine. Under Chef Chandra, Olive Beach, Bengaluru, has won several accolades including Outlook magazine’s Top 10 Restaurants, featured in renowned food critic Marryam Reshi’s book “100 iconic Restaurants in India” and more. He was recently featured in AmarOne, a book featuring 10 Chefs from around the world, released by Italian wine maker Allegrini to celebrate 60 years of their famed wine.
Manu S. Pillai
Manu S Pillai is the author of the award winning The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore, which tells a social and political history of Kerala, from the dawn of colonialism in the sixteenth century till the rise of communism in the twentieth. Written over six years and researched in three continents, The Ivory Throneis his first book, which weaves themes of religious nationalism, matriliny, political economy, and feminism through the life and times of the last female Maharajah of Travancore. He is Chief of Staff to Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, and has worked at the House of Lords in Britain and with Sunil Khilnani and the BBC on their Incarnations Indian history series. He is also text contributor to Serena Chopra’s Bhutan Echoes (Tasveer, 2016), and is a columnist for Mint Lounge, as well as a contributor on history, politics, and culture to The Hindu, Open Magazine, and other major publications. He lives and works out of New Delhi.
Dr. Manvir Bhatia is a senior neurologist, electro physiologist and sleep specialist. She is director of the Department of Sleep Medicine and Senior Consultant, Neurology at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Neurology Sleep Centre, New Delhi. She is a co-director of the Ace School of Sleep Medicine for training physicians and paramedicals in field of sleep medicine. A pioneer in developing the specialty of neurophysiology and sleep medicine in the country, she has more than 25 years of experience in these fields. She was in charge of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at AIIMS and developed the ‘state of art’ Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory and started the first sleep disorders clinic under Neurology in the country. She initiated and was the coordinator of the epilepsy surgery program at AIIMS. She has been trained in USA and UK in Electrophysiology, Epilepsy and Sleep Medicine. She has published more than 80 papers in leading journals and several chapter in books. She organizes workshops and conferences on Epilepsy and Sleep Disorders.
Her first book, The Sleep Solution – Secrets For A Good Night’s Sleep (Penguin), is the first book on sleep in India.
Born in 1942 in Mangalore, Margaret Alva was educated at Mangalore, Coimbatore and Bangalore, securing her BA degree from Mount Carmel College and her Law Degree from the Government Law College. She was later conferred an Hon. Degree of D.Lit by the University of Mysore. In her life spanning 73 years, she has traversed a wide canvas with many achievements to her credit. As one of India’s youngest Rajya Sabha MPs at the age of thirty-two and a Minister of State in Rajiv Gandhi’s Cabinet at forty-two, Margaret Alva is among India’s longest serving Parliamentarians. She has held several important positions in the Government of India and the Congress party and served as Governor of four states. Over the years, she has been witness to several events that have played an important part in the political narrative of our times—among them the ‘Emergency’, Indira Gandhi’s Chikmagalur election, Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination and Sonia Gandhi’s entry into politics. She is recipient of several awards in India and abroad, including the First Nelson Mandela Award for Minority Empowerment in New York and the Global Leadership Award from Vital Voices, Washington. Margaret Alva now lives in Bangalore with her husband.
Courage & Commitment – Margaret Alva’s autobiography—details her forty-year career under four Prime Ministers—Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, and her eventual transition from politician to Governor.
Melodee is a radio host and event anchor. She’s currently with Radio Indigo where she hosts a specialized Sunday show ‘Offsite’. In the past Melodee has been with All India Radio and Fever FM.
Mihir S Sharma is the India columnist for Bloomberg View and former Opinion Editor for Business Standard and has been with The Indian Express. Sharma is an economist and has written a book called Restart:The Last Chance for the Indian Economy. He is presently a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.
Milee Ashwarya is the Editor in Chief for Commercial and Business books at Penguin Radom House India. She graduated in English Literature from Hindu College and completed her Masters in English from Delhi University. In her decade long career in publishing, she has been responsible for establishing and spearheading the local publishing list first at Random House India and now at Penguin Random House India, setting new trends and exploring new genres. Her focus has been on promoting the best Indian voices while publishing a range of bestsellers across segments during her career. Her authors include Piyush Pandey, Hussain S. Zaidi, Shobhaa De, Karan Johar, Ravi Subramaniam, Twinkle Khanna, Navi Radjou, Shilpa Shetty, Suhel Seth, Emraan Hashmi, L K Advani, Preeti Shenoy, Sonali Bendre, Sudeep Nagarkar, and Payal Gidwani Tiwari to name a few.
Mini Menon is the co-founder and editor of Indy Network, a first of its kind digital content company that focuses on innovative formats, niches and platforms. An award winning journalist and author, she has spent the last 18 years reporting on the changing face of politics and business in India. She has worked with some of the leading news networks in the country, like Bloomberg TV, Times Now and CNBC TV18 and her programs have won awards and accolades.
In 2013 her book, Riding the Wave, was published. The first of a three-part series on Indian business, it chronicled the story of the opening up of India’s economy, through the eyes of seven businessmen who made a mark in post-liberalisation India. She has been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Award for Excellence as a young achiever, the Zee Astitva Award for Journalism and in 2009 she was adjudged the Best Business News Anchor by the Indian Broadcasting Federation.
Mini has also worked closely with India’s premier industry associations like CII – Confederation of Indian Industry, FICCI and NASSCOM, where she has been part of debates and discussions on policy and regulations. Between 2014-16 she was the Regional Chairperson of the CII’s Indian Women Network.
Professor M S Sriram is currently Visiting Faculty at IIM Bangalore. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Development of Research in Banking Technology – an institute set up by the Reserve Bank of India. Prior to this he was the ICICI Bank Lalita D Gupte Chair professor in Microfinance at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He has been Visiting Faculty at SPJain Center for Management Dubai-Singapore, and is a Visiting Professor, at Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Brussels, Belgium. He is a graduate from Institute of Rural Management Anand and completed his doctoral studies at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
Sriram has served as an expert on several expert committees: Task Force on revival of Rural Cooperative Credit Institutions [Vaidyanathan Committee]; Chaired the Expert Committee on Kerala Cooperative Bank; External Advisory Committee of the RBI for Small Finance Banks; and on the Financial Inclusion Advisory Committee. Sriram had just completed a book titled “Talking Financial Inclusion in Liberalised India: Conversations with Governors of RBI” a book based on detailed conversations with RBI Governors to understand the evolution of policies on Financial Inclusion. He is also translating the autobiography of Dr. Reddy from Telugu to Kannada.
In addition to the above, Sriram has been a writer in Kannada. He has five books of fiction and four books of essays to his credit. He won the Masti Kannada Seva Nidhi Award for his first manuscript Mayadarpana and the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award for 2014 for his work of fiction Salman Khanana DifficultiesU and in 2015 for his collection of essays Arthartha.
Murzban F. Shroff is a Mumbai-based writer. He has published his fiction with over 50 journals in the U.S. and UK. He has won six Pushcart Prize nominations, the highest award for the short story in the U.S, and is the recipient of the John Gilgun Fiction Award. His debut short story collection, Breathless In Bombay, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the best debut category from Europe and South Asia. It was rated by the Guardian as among the ten best Mumbai books. His recent novel, Waiting For Jonathan Koshy, was a finalist for the Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize and received high praise from two renowned American authors, one a Pulitzer Prize winner, the other a National Book Award Finalist and New York Times book reviewer. He has represented Mumbai at the London Short Story Festival and been invited to speak about his work at UCLA, California State University Monterey Bay, and Berkeley. He is currently at work on a larger-than-life India collection, and the third part in his Mumbai trilogy.
Nandita Bose explores relationships and social biases through her works of fiction. Her published works include: Tread Softly, The Perfume of Promise, If Walls could Weep and Shadow & Soul.
Dr Narendar Pani is a professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, India. He is also Adjunct Faculty at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru. An economist by training, he has worked in both academic and media institutions, including Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and The Economic Times. He has, over the last four decades, written extensively on a variety of subjects. His books include ‘Inclusive Economics: Gandhian Method and Contemporary Policy’. He is also the author of an explainer on the WTO, several academic articles, two novels, a monograph on theatre and several hundred articles on the editorial pages of newspapers.
Naresh V Narasimhan is well known for his long-term association with Venkataramanan Associates (VA), an award winning architectural firm. He is an urbanist, activist, and creative entrepreneur in Bangalore. Some of Naresh’s most recent initiatives include Cobalt, a vibrant co-working space in central Bangalore that uses spatial and social strategies to trigger serendipity at work. Through Metaform, a multidisciplinary conceptual design firm, he’s worked with municipal agencies to renew valuable markets and neighbourhoods. As a co-founder of MOD Institute, an international collective of urban designers, researchers and curators, Naresh has also been responsible in making cities like Bangalore and the urban processes that drive them: visible and participatory. As part of the erstwhile Bangalore Agenda Task Force; a founder and trustee of Imagine Bangalore, and regular advisor to government bodies, Naresh has fueled many progressive causes for the city. He maintains a healthy and eclectic work‐style, with interests that range from social innovation, knowledge-sharing and communication strategies to cinema, art and popular culture.
A journalist for thirty-seven years, Neena Gopal began her career in a Bangalore that was the hotbed of post-Emergency politics. Moving to the UAE in the 1980s, she worked for the Dubai-based daily Gulf News where, as foreign editor, she travelled the Middle East during and after Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War in 1990, covering war-torn Iraq and its neighbours through the Second Gulf War in 2003. Neena’s other news-hunting ground has been India and its immediate neighbourhood, both as a foreign affairs journalist and as a close observer of the life and times of many leaders in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. She currently edits the Bangalore edition of Deccan Chronicle.
Neena’s 2016 book, The Assassination Of Rajiv Gandhi, reconstructs the chain of events in India and at the LTTE’s headquarters in Sri Lanka where the assassination plot was hatched, and follows the trail of investigation that led to the assassins being brought to justice.
Niret Alva is an Indian television producer and co-founder and chairman of television production company Miditech.
Niret is a graduate in history from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, has a post graduate diploma in journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Delhi, and earned a law degree (LLB) from Mumbai University. Alva joined the Press Trust of India, television, as a trainee reporter/scriptwriter in January 1988. Beginning his career when television was still government-controlled in the late 1980s, he moved on to become a correspondent with Eyewitness, a monthly independent video news magazine, owned by Hindustan Times Television in 1990. He covered subjects such as Indian attitudes toward sex, caste violence, the dangers of the civilian use of the army and the capture of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin.
In 1992, he co-founded Miditech, a television software production company, along with his brother Nikhil. Miditech’s productions include Living on the Edge for Doordarshan, documentaries for the BBC, Discovery and National Geographic, Indian Idol (2004–2009), Galli Galli Sim Sim (Sesame Street) and Wheels.
Alva has scripted, directed and been associated with several international, award winning documentaries, including The Great Descent – a river rafting journey down the Brahmaputra after the massive flood of 2000, and Operation Hot Pursuit – an undercover documentary on the illegal ivory trade between India and Japan. He is married to Indian author and advertising executive Anuja Chauhan, author of The Zoya Factor.
An economist, Omkar Goswami secured his D.Phil (Ph.D) from Oxford in 1982. From then to 1996, he researched and taught at the Delhi School of Economics, Tufts, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Rutgers and the Indian Statistical Institute, and was a consultant to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the OECD. After a period as the Editor of Business India, Omkar was Chief Economist at the Confederation of Indian Industry. Since 2004, he runs a corporate and economic consulting firm called CERG Advisory, and serves on the boards of some major listed companies. His passions are music, mountain walks, incessant reading, theatre and films.
Paul Affeld is a puppeteer and musician from Berlin, Germany and one of the founding members of the hip-hop project Puppetmastaz, a band with rapping hand puppets. Apart from touring, making albums and creating figurines, he tries to fill in the gap between ordinary theatre, dance and puppet theatre. From March to July 2016 he was part of Max Mueller Bhavan’s bangaloREsidency program and was hosted by Jagriti Theatre in Whitefield. In this context he developed the play Back From the Dark Side of the Moon together with four Bangalore actors, picking up the subject of mental illness and how our society deals with it.
Prakash Belawadi is a theatre, film, television and media personality. He is an actor, writer, director and instructor working for the stage and screen. His debut film feature Stumble won the National Award in 2003 for Best Film in the regional language (English) and has now been included in the national telecaster Doordarshan’s Best of Indian Cinema series. Some of films as an actor include Airlift, Kendasampige and Madras Cafe. As co-founder of Centre for Film and Drama, an integrated performing arts, cinema and media training and production organization, now under the Suchitra Cinema and Cultural Academy in Bangalore.
Prasanna Viswanathan is Co-founder and CEO, Swarajya one of India’s leading print and digital media platform. He is deeply interested in conservative politics, religion, philosophy, technology, psephology and history.
At Swarajya, Prasanna drives sales, technology and strategic initiatives. Before embarking on his media entrepreneurship journey in 2014, Prasanna worked for over 15 years in technology companies including Oracle, Honeywell and Cognizant.
Prashant Keshavmurthy is Associate Professor of Persian-Iranian Studies in McGill University’s Institute of Islamic Studies. His interests include early modern Persian and Urdu literature and Sufism. He is the author of Persian Authorship and Canonicity in Late Mughal Delhi: Building an Ark (Routledge, 2016).
Prathibha Nandakumar is a poet, journalist and filmmaker. She has 21 books to her credit. She has travelled extensively to present her poems in several national and international literary festivals. Her poems are included in major international anthologies. She has been honored with several prestigious literary awards and is the recipient of the Bangalore Literary Festival award 2015.
Preeti Shenoy, among the top five highest selling authors in India, is also on the Forbes longlist of the most influential celebrities in India. She is the highest selling woman writer in India. India Today has named her as being unique for being the only woman in the best-selling league. Her second book, Life is what you make it, continues to top the best-selling charts and has been translated to several languages, ncluding Turkish. Her third, Tea for two and a piece of cake, made it to the top five best-selling Indian fiction of 2012. Her fourth, The Secret Wish List, was among the top ten fiction of 2013. Her fifth, The One You Cannot Have, debuted at No.2 on the Nielsen list. The sixth, It happens for a Reason, was out in December 2014 and has been on the Nielsen top ten, every week, since its release. Her seventh book, Why We love The Way We Do, was among the top five best selling non-fiction books of 2015. Her latest, It’s all In the Planets, is at No.3 on the Nielsen list. She has been awarded the Academia award for Business Excellence by the New Delhi Institute of Management, which is given to distinguished professionals for innovative best practices for their contribution to their field that adds to India’s international and national reputation. She has also received the ‘100 Young Indian women achievers award’ in the Powerful leader category, given to the top professionals their field, chosen by consumers and Industry. She is also an artist specialising in portraiture. With a very popular blog, she also writes a weekly column in The Financial Chronicle.
Dr. Premila Paul is Associate Director of the Study Centre for Indian Literature in English and Translation (SCILET) at The American College, Madurai and has served as Associate Professor of English at the same college for the past three decades. As a visiting Professor of English in USA for three years, she taught courses on Indian Literature and Gender Studies. Premila has also been a Guest Professor of English at Ginling College, Nanjing University, China for two years. She has published a book on Mulk Raj Anand and written articles on Post-colonial Literature and Women’s Literature.
Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi
Prithvi Datta Chandra Shobhi works on the social history of medieval south India, with a specific focus on dissenting cultures. He studied history and literature at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and at the University of Chicago. Prithvi taught Humanities at San Francisco State University, before returning to India to take up a position at the Karnataka State Open University, Mysore. He is the editor of three books, including the translation of A.K. Ramanujan’s Kannada poetry and fiction, which was published by OUO in 2005 as ‘Poems and a Novella’. Prithvi’s doctoral work on the relationship between vacana poetry and Virashaiva-Lingayat community is forthcoming. He has published extensively on the literature, culture and politics of Karnataka, both in scholarly forums and in popular media. At present, he writes a weekly column for Prajavani.
Prof. K. E Radhakrishna
An Educationist of repute, Prof. K. E Radhakrishna was Principal of Sheshadripuram College. Presently he is the Honorary Secretary of Bangalore North Education Society. He was the President of Indian Colleges Forum. Prof. Radhakrishna is a Yakshagana and theatre artist. His work Gopikonmada has been adopted as a Dance Ballet and into Yakshagana format. He is also a poet and writer in Kannada, Tulu and English. He recently published a Novel Pretham Bhattara Ninthillaru.
Prof. K. V. Tirumalesh
Prof. KV Tirumalesh is a well-known Kannada writer and a recepient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for 2015 for his poetry collection Akshaya Kavya. Formerly a professor at the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, he has written on a variety of themes, ranging from history, mathematics, psychology, philosophy, and science, besides literature and translations. He has over 20 publications to his credit, including Avadha, Papiyu, Vathara and Mukhavadagalu. His many published essays deal with topics in linguistics, literary theory, translation, and the teaching of English. Also a well-known Kannada poet, he has published several collections of poetry and translated the works of poets such as Ezra Pound and Wallace Stevens into Kannada.
Rachna Singh is a Bangalore-based humour writer who has published five books, including Dating, Diapers and Denial and That Autumn in Awadh. Frequent contributor to The Deccan Herald, her latest release is Band, Baaja, Boys! – a hilarious story about a girl with a string of suitors.
Raghu Karnad is a journalist and the author of Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War. The book won the 2016 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar and was shortlisted for the English PEN Prize for historical non-fiction. He is an editor-at- large at theWire.in.
Rajiv Malhotra is an internationally known researcher, writer, speaker and public intellectual on current affairs as they relate to civilizations, cross-cultural encounters, religion and science. He studied physics and computer science, and served in multiple careers including: software development executive, Fortune 100 senior corporate executive, strategic consultant, and successful entrepreneur in the information technology and media industries. At the peak of his career when he owned 20 companies in several countries, he took early retirement at age 44 to pursue philanthropy, research and public service.
He established Infinity Foundation for this purpose in 1994. He has conducted original research in a variety of fields and has influenced many thinkers in India and the West. He has disrupted the mainstream thought process among academic and non-academic intellectuals alike, by providing fresh provocative positions on Dharma and on India. Some of the focal points of his work are: interpretation of Dharma for the current times; comparative religion, globalization, and India’s contributions to the world. He has authored hundreds of articles, provided strategic guidance to numerous organizations and has over 400 video lectures available online.
Some of his books, that are a good resource to understand his game changing work, include, Academic Hinduphobia, The Battle For Sanskrit: “Is Sanskrit political or sacred, oppressive or liberating, dead or alive?”, Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism, Breaking India: Western Interventions in Dravidian and Dalit Faultlines, Indra’s Net: Defending Hinduism’s Philosophical Unity.
Besides these, his writings became the center of discussion in the book, Invading the Sacred. Currently, he is the full-time founder-director of Infinity Foundation in Princeton, NJ. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Center for Indic Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and is adviser to various organizations. He is the primary advisor for Infinity Foundation India that has been formed recently, engaged in various activities intended to disrupt the prevailing discourse regarding the Indian civilization while also building the alternative narrative for the same.
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bangalore. He has taught at the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo, and been the Indo-American Community Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. In the academic year 2011-2 he served as the Philippe Roman Professor of History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics.
Guha’s books include a pioneering environmental history, The Unquiet Woods (University of California Press, 1989), and an award-winning social history of cricket, A Corner of a Foreign Field (Picador, 2002). India after Gandhi (Macmillan/Ecco Press, 2007) was chosen as a book of the year by the Economist, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out, and Outlook, and as a book of the decade in the Times of India, the Times of London, and The Hindu. His most recent book is Gandhi Before India (Knopf, 2014), which was chosen as a notable book of the year by the New York Times.
Apart from his books, Guha also writes a syndicated column, that appears in six languages in newspapers with a combined readership of some twenty mllion. Guha’s books and essays have been translated into more than twenty languages. The New York Times has referred to him as ‘perhaps the best among India’s non fiction writers’; Time Magazine has called him ‘Indian democracy’s pre-eminent chronicler’.
Ramachandra Guha’s awards include the Leopold-Hidy Prize of the American Society of Environmental History, the Daily Telegraph/Cricket Society prize, the Malcolm Adideshiah Award for excellence in social science research, the Ramnath Goenka Prize for excellence in journalism, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the R. K. Narayan Prize. In 2009, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the Republic of India’s third highest civilian honour. In 2008, and again in 2013, Prospect magazine nominated Guha as one of the world’s most influential intellectuals. In 2014, he was awarded a honorary doctorate in the humanities by Yale University. In 2015, he was awarded the Fukuoka Prize for contributions to Asian studies.
Divya Spandana, stage name Ramya, is a film actor and politician. She acts in Kannada, Tamil and Telugu films. She became the youngest Member of Parliament from Mandya, Karnataka, in 2013. She has acted in many films, including Aryan, Crazy Loka, Thoondi, Lucky, Sidiingu, Bombaat and Sanju Weds Geetha, for which she won the Karnataka State Film Award for Best Actress.
Rashmi Menon has been a part of the Indian publishing industry for nearly a decade. She is currently the commissioning editor at Amaryllis. She enjoys helping new authors develop a book idea to really make it their own, gets a kick from seeing her projects realised in print.
Rashmi Terdal is a journalist presently working with the Times of India, Bengaluru. Born and raised in Dharwad, she has a passion for Kannada poetry and fiction. Some of her poems have been published by leading Kannada dailies and magazines and the Kannada Sahitya Academy.
Rohini Nilekani is Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, a foundation she has personally endowed to fund initiatives in ‘Safe, Sustainable water for All’. Since 2005, Arghyam has supported work in water and sanitation all around India. Arghyam also facilitates the India Water Portal, which has become a singular resource for the sector.
In 2014, together with her husband Nandan Nilekani, she co-founded and is a Director of EkStep, an education non-profit that has created a technology platform for early learning.
In 2004, she co-founded and funded Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s publisher, which aims to democratize the joy of reading with ‘A book in every child’s hands’. By the time she retired as Chairperson on December 31 st , 2013, Pratham Books had reached millions of children with indigenous, attractive books in multiple languages.
Rohini sits on the Board of ATREE- Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, an environmental think tank. She is on the Eminent Persons Advisory Group of the Competition Commission of India. Between 2010 and 2012, she was a member of the Audit Advisory Board of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Earlier, she spent several years as a journalist, and has worked or written for many leading publications such as Bombay Magazine, India Today, MINT and the Times of India. Her first novel, Stillborn, a medical thriller, was published by Penguin Books. In 2008, she anchored a television show called Uncommon Ground for NDTV, which created a rare dialogue between top leaders of the corporate and social sectors. A book based on the show was published by Penguin Books India in 2011. Under the pseudo name ‘Noni’, she has also authored several books for young children, including the popular Sringeri Srinivas series, published by Pratham Books.
As a committed philanthropist, she continues to fund work in areas such as governance and accountability, independent media, education and research and environmental sustainability.
Rohini Nilekani is an active advocate for Indian philanthropy.
L Romal M Singh aka Rōmal Lāisram is a 30-year-old, out-and-proud writer from Bangalore who also dabbles in theatre, dance and music. Currently a consultant editor with Arvind Limited in Ahmedabad and Bangalore; and an editor with Human Rights Law Network in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi – he is also well-known (much to his annoyance) as an LGBTQIA+ activist. He is the founder of QAM(I) – The Queer Arts Movement, India and Rainbow Kitty – a public funding initiative for the LGBTQIA+ community; while he volunteers actively with Solidarity Foundation – an LGBTQIA+ foundation that focuses on marginalized trans-communities and CSMR – The Coalition for Sex Workers’ Sexual and Sexuality Minorities’ Rights, Bangalore. He also has been a lifestyle journalist with 10+ years of experience in the fields of lifestyle reportage and publishing and continues to write for DNA Mumbai.
Roopa Pai is a computer engineer who always knew she was going to write for children. She is the author of over 20 books for children, including Taranauts, India’s first fantasy-adventure series, and the pop-science book ‘What if the Earth Stopped Spinning?’. A book on Economics for Children is due out early next year. Roopa brings together three other loves – history, working with young people, and her hometown Bangalore – in her day job as a guide with BangaloreWalks, a history and heritage walks and tours company.
Rosalyn D’Mello is a widely published freelance art writer based in New Delhi and was the Editor-in-chief of Blouin Artinfo India. She is a regular contributor to Vogue, Open, Mint Lounge, Art Review and Art Review Asia. nominated for the Forbes’ Best Emerging Art Writer Award in 2014, she was also shortlisted for the inaugural Prudential Eye Art Award for Best Writing on Asian Contemporary Art in 2014. She was Associate Editor of The Art Critic, a 600-plus-page selection of the art writings of Richard Bartholomew from the 1950s to the early 1980s and was a member of the jury of the Prudential Eye Art Award 2015.
A Handbook For My Lover is her first book.
Roswitha Joshi was born in Hamburg, Germany, and acquired a translator’s diploma for English in 1989. She is the author of Life is Peculiar, On the Rocks and Other Stories, Once More!, Fool’s Paradise, Indian Dreams and Trapped in Want and Wonder.
Ryan Lobo is an award winning filmmaker and photographer, and the author of Mr Iyer Goes to War (fiction).
A TED speaker on storytelling with photography, Ryan founded Mad Monitor Productions, a film and photo production company based in Bangalore. He has worked as a producer and cinematographer for more than 80 film projects, for National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, OWN and other clients, including shooting undercover for the Emmy-nominated film Child Slaves of India, producing several films for Oprah Winfrey and several film projects in conflict zones like Iraq, Liberia and Afghanistan.
He co-produced the critically acclaimed 2011 Sundance film festival award winning film, The Redemption of General Butt Naked, the story of General Butt Naked, a former African warlord who terrorized Liberia with his child soldiers. He has produced episodes for the OWN series ‘Belief’ on the Kumbh Mela, Jain initiation and Holi. He currently shoots various film and photography projects for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and for the C&A foundation. His photographs and writing have been featured in numerous magazines like GEO, Tehelka, Bidoun, The Caravan, National Geographic, Boston Review, Chimurega, Onzeweruld and The Wall Street Journal.
As an artist, his limited edition photographs have been exhibited all over the world and are present in many collections. He is the founder trustee of The Sunbird Trust which works towards ensuring education for children in insurgency affected areas of North Eastern India with the intention of bringing peace to conflict areas through education.
Diwakar has published over 30 books of short fiction, poetry, essays, translations and literary criticism. As a journalist he has served as reporter, assistant editor and editor in such newspapers and journals like Samyukta Karnataka, Mallige, Sudha, Prajavani and The Times of India. He was a Karnataka Specialist at the American Consulate General in Chennai for nearly two decades. Presindly he is a literary advisor for the leading Kannada publishing house, Vasantha Prakashana, Bangalore. A highly acclaimed short fiction writer, he occupies a unique position for the way in which he weaves in and out of different perspectives, time periods and characters, to explore grief, hope, passion and alienation.
Sabah Carrim has authored two novels: Humeirah and Semi-Apes. Both stories are set in Mauritius where she was born. She is a regular contributor to The Bangalore Review and has academic and fiction publications in various magazines and journals. She is currently writing a doctoral thesis on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal. Her first novel Humeirah, was the subject of a thesis by Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Her next book, a collection of short stories on Malaysian education, will be launched in 2017. She is a law lecturer and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur.
Sabitha Koraga has inspired the Koraga and tribal communities by her achievements and currently researching ‘Policies and Programmes of Tribal Development’ in Karnataka state. She has worked as a community field organiser, published research papers in reputed journals and delivered special lectures. She is presently an Assistant Professor at Mangalore University.
Saikat Majumdar is a novelist and critic. He is the author of three books, most recently, the novel The Firebird, one of The Telegraph’s Best Books and a finalist for the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Fiction Prize for 2015. The novel is forthcoming in the US in April 2017 as Play House. He is also the author of Prose of the World, which received Honorable Mention in the Modernist Studies Association’s Annual Book Prize, 2014, and an earlier novel, Silverfish. His work appears in The Hindu, Caravan, The Times Higher Education, The Times Literary Supplement, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Times of India, Public Books, The Indian Express, American Book Review, The Telegraph, Scroll, Mint, The Hindu Business Line, and in various collections and anthologies. He is currently at work on a new novel, a book of criticism titled The Amateur, and a nonfiction book on higher education in India, forthcoming in 2017. He is Professor of English and Creative Writing at Ashoka University. His work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Humanities Center at Stanford University, where he taught for several years before joining Ashoka in August 2016.
Sajita Nair is the author of ‘She’s a Jolly Good Fellow’. A former Captain in Indian Army, and one of the pioneer women officers, the book she has some of her experiences while in the Army. Her short stories, articles and travelogues have gained popularity.
She lives in Vizag with her husband, a Submariner in the Indian Navy and their son, a chess champion.
Sally Breen is a writer of fiction and non-fiction. She currently lectures in creative writing at Griffith University and is fiction editor of the Griffith REVIEW. Sally was the winner of the Varuna Harper Collins manuscript award for her memoir The Casuals released in 2011. Her debut novel Atomic City was shortlisted for the QLD Premier’s Literary Awards in 2005 and released by Harper Collins in 2013.
Salma has written two volumes of poetry – One Evening, Another Evening and Green Angel – and the novel The Hour Past Midnight, all of which have been translated into several languages. Lakshmi Holmstrom’s English translation of her novel was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Prize and long-listed for the Man Asian Booker Prize. Her poetry and fiction are well-known in contemporary Tamil literature for the articulation of desire and sexuality as well as the emotions that animate the domestic space every day, subjects that are often considered beneath literary consideration. The recipient of several awards and honours, she runs an NGO called Your Hope Is Remaining. British filmmaker Kim Longinotto made a documentary film about Salma for British television Channel 4; it screened in 100 international film festivals and won 14 international awards.
Sangeeth Varghese is a globally acknowledged leadership thinker, ranked among the top 10 in 2011, from the Harvard and London School of Economics. Varghese is the author of bestsellers ‘Open Source Leader’ and ‘Decide to Lead’. He is also a co-founder of Bangalore Biz Lit Fest and Future 2050.
Sanjana Kapur enjoys interacting with children. She has conducted various workshops and story-telling sessions in different schools across India. She is fascinated by Indian mythology and folklore, constantly looking for new stories to tell. She is the Assistant Editor at Amar Chitra Katha and never tires of telling people that she writes comics for a living!
Unarguably, one of the most recognized faces of Indian television, Sanjeev Kapoor was in people’s living rooms for almost two decades introducing them to the delights of Indian and international cuisine in his inimitable easy going and cheery manner. The show Khana Khazana was one of those trailblazing cookery shows on Zee. Little wonder then that he has a massive fan following across all age groups, genders and countries! He has the proud distinction of being the only chef in the world to have his own channel – FoodFood. He has been conferred the ‘Best Chef of India’ award by the Government of India and has represented India as a Food ambassador in Spain under the Spanish Government’s Indian Future Leaders Programme (IFLP).
Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe books are bestsellers, with more than 200 titles in 7 languages and bagged Indian and international awards. His restaurants Sanjeev Kapoor’s Khazana, The Yellow Chilli, Signature, Hong Kong and Options are considered the best in their categories not only in India but abroad as well. His Khazana brand of blended spices, ready to cook mixes, pickles and gourmet chutneys are super popular in US, Europe and Middle East, in addition to India. His business of world class kitchen gadgets, Wonderchef has enabled and continues to empower women, a cause close to his heart.
Sanjeev Sanyal is an internationally acclaimed economist and best-selling author. He was named Young Global Leader 2010 by the World Economic Forum and was Deutsche Bank’s Global Strategist and a Managing Director till 2015. He is also a well-known environmentalist and urban theorist. In 2007, he was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship for his work on urban dynamics and was honored by the Singapore government at the World Cities Summit 2014. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University, Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore, and a Senior Fellow of the World Wide Fund for Nature. Currently he serves in the Future City Committee of the Singapore government, tasked with writing a long-term vision for the city-state. He attended Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi, and Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar (1992-95). His best-selling books include Land of the Seven Rivers, The Indian Renaissance and The Ocean of Churn. In addition, he had published around 200 articles, columns and reports in leading national/international publications. He was given the inaugural International Indian Achievers Award for contributions to Literature in 2014. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London and a Visiting Fellow of IDFC Institute, Mumbai.
Shankar Ramaswami is a Lecturer on South Asian Studies at the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University, where he teaches courses on anthropology, literature, cinema, and religion. He completed a B.A. in Economics at Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He is currently working on a book entitled, Souls in the Kalyug: The Politics and Cosmologies of Migrant Workers in Delhi.
Novelist and short story writer Shashi Deshpande has ten novels, two novellas, a number of short story collections, a book of non-fiction, Writing from the Margin, and four children’s books to her credit. Her novels include Small Remedies, Moving On, In the Country of Deceit and Shadow Play. Her latest novel Strangers to Ourselves, was longlisted for the Bangalore Literature Festival – Atta Galatta fiction award. A number of her short stories and novels have been translated into various Indian as well as many European languages. She has translated two plays by Adya Rangacharya, eminent Kannada writer, as well as his memoirs from Kannada into English, as also a novel by Gauri Deshpande from Marathi into English. She has been invited to participate in various literary conferences and festivals, as well as to lecture in universities both India and abroad. She was awarded the Padmi Shri in 2008.
An author, politician, and former international civil servant, Dr. Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. Currently a second-term Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, he has previously served as Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India. During his nearly three-decade long prior career at the United Nations, he served as a peacekeeper, refugee worker, and administrator at the highest levels, serving as Under-Secretary General during Kofi Annan’s leadership of the organisation. Dr. Tharoor is also an award-winning author of sixteen books of both fiction as well as non-fiction.
A well-known actor and politician, Shatrughan Sinha has acted in many iconic films such as Kalicharan, Dostana, Kaala Pathar, Paras, Dost and Blackmail. He was Union Cabinet Minister of Health and Family Welfare (2003-2004) and Shipping (2004). His biography Anything But Khamosh is out in 2016.
Shilok Mukkati is Radio Jockey and script writer with Radioactive CR 90.4 Mhz where she hosts her award winning show Colourful Kamanabillu focused on the LGBTQIA Community.
Shilok is also a Kannada poet and short story writer and writes actively on her blog Abhuthapurna Aksharamalike and actively participates in Open Sky Slam, Poetry in the Park and Queer Poetry Slams. Her writing focuses on trans-identity, homosexuality and challenges hetero normative stereotypes.
Shilok took to writing as a result of her gender confusion, which eventually led her to the conclusion of who she is – she identifies herself as a transgender women.
Shiv Visvanathan is an Indian public intellectual and social scientist best known for his contributions to Science and Technology Studies, and for the concept of cognitive justice, a term he coined. He is a Professor at O P Jindal Global University, Sonipat and Director, Centre for the Study of Knowledge Systems, O.P Jindal Global University. He also holds the SAARCHI chair at UNISA, South Africa, and an Adjunct Professorship at Raman Research Institute, Bangalore.
Previously, he was Professor, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), Gandhinagar, India, Henry Luce Professor at Smith College Massachusetts, and also Visiting Professor at Stanford University and Center for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London; Center for Science Policy, Arizona State University; University of Maastricht, Holland; National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA), Ahmedabad.
He has also taught at the Delhi School of Economics and was Senior Fellow at Centre for Study of Developing Societies. He is author of Organizing for Science, A Carnival for Science, Theatres of Democracy and has co-edited Foulplay: Chronicles of Corruption. He is a regular columnist at Hindu, Asian Age, Sunday Mail, Daily O, Scroll.in, BBC and Open. He also serves as a frequent commentator on TV programmes.
Shradha Sharma is Founder and CEO of YourStory. As India’s biggest media tech platform, YourStory has had far-reaching impact by having published 42,000 stories of entrepreneurs and providing business opportunities to many more. It has served as a catalyst in the growth of India’s startup ecosystem and is now available in 12 Indian languages.
Shradha has worked as Brand Advisor with the Times of India group, after which she moved to CNBC-TV18 where she became the youngest-ever AVP. She has won many awards as an entrepreneur including CNBC-TV18’s Young Women Business Leaders Award and the ET award for Promising Entrepreneurs of India.
In February 2016, she was featured in Fortune magazine’s ‘40 under 40’ list of powerful Indians, is LinkedIn’s top digital influencer in India, and among the top 500 in the world.
Shweta Taneja is a writer who lives in the worlds of monsters, aliens and ghosts. She collects real life ghost stories, folk tales and legends on her travels and is busy questioning aliens on whether they want to destroy us or simply have tea with us. Other questions she likes to ask: Why are ghosts always wearing white nighties? Who said the monster says ‘arrgh’? And why do they always have long tusks and claws? Are monsters black or white?
She’s written seven books and more than two hundred articles and continues to write madly and passionately. She’s a Charles Wallace India Writing Fellow and her graphic novel The Skull Rosary was shortlisted for Best Writer Award in ComicCon India. Her latest book, How to Steal a Ghost @ Manipal is out with Juggernaut Books and in the bestselling lists.
Siddharth Varadarajan is a Founding Editor of The Wire. He was earlier the Editor of The Hindu and is a recipient of the Ramnath Goenka Award for Journalist of the Year. He has taught Economics at New York University and Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, besides working at the Times of India and the Centre for Public Affairs and Critical Theory, Shiv Nadar University.
Soumya Menon is an illustrator, comic book artist and animation filmmaker.
Sridhar Gowda, a literary agent and a publisher started his career in the book trade as a bookseller in the UK in 1994. In 1997, he co-founded an internet bookshop, selling over 3 million titles, and in 2005 co-founded Peak Literary Festival in the heart of the Peak District countryside. He curated the events for the festival for 5 years. He also co-founded Peak Platform, a publishing venture in the UK in 2009 and entered the Indian market in 2011.
The Kannada language titles he has published include Central Sahitya Academy Award winning title ‘Papu Gandhi Gandhi Bapu Aada Kathe’ and the Kannada translation of John Berger’s ‘Ways of Seeing’. Through the Kadalu Literary Agency he represents works of many award winning Indian language writers including Dr U R Ananthamurthy, Dr Chandrasekhar Kambar, M T Vasudevan Nair, Sethu Madhavan, Devanoor Mahadeva, Dr Shivaram Karanth, Nabaneeta Dev Sen and Mamta Sagar.
Sriram is among Bengaluru’s most popular radio hosts. He started off with All India Radio and then went on to join Radio Indigo. He currently hosts the #1 ranked evening drive radio show – The SuperHero Show on Fever 104 FM.
Sriram has been a Finalist at the NewYork Radio Festival for Best Personality and is also the Official Host of In-stadium Entertainment for the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL Team.
Sudha Murty is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation in India and a Trustee of the Infosys Foundation USA. She has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. She started her career as a development engineer with TELCO (now Tata Motors) and has also taught computer science at Bangalore University.
Sudha Murty is a prolific writer in Kannada and English. She is a columnist for English and Kannada dailies with 24 books and 156 titles to her credit – including novels, non-fiction, travelogues, technical books, and memoirs. Her books have been translated into all major Indian languages. She has been honored with awards for her philanthropic and literary efforts. She has also received the Padma Shri Award from the Government of India as well as seven honorary doctorates from universities in India.
Sumant is a writer, poet and columnist. A lawyer of international repute, social commentator, thought leader and creative innovator, Sumant is a many-faceted person with accomplishments in diverse spheres. He romances with life, lives his dreams and thinks through his heart. A cultural champion, museum owner, collector and writer, Sumant Batra is the founder and architect of a number of innovative creative projects to promote Indian heritage, culture, art and literature. Some prominent initiatives include, Kumaon Literary Festival, Taj Colloquium and Dalit Literature Festival amongst other. The initiatives started by him are rapidly developing into a robust cultural voice of the country because of their unique approach and contribution to the development of the soft infrastructure and power of the country.
An avid collector, he is probably the largest collector of Indian cinema memorabilia, has set up Chitrashala, a private museum of Indian vintage graphic art and has built a boutique hotel in the Himalayas.
Sumant is also the author of the popular limited edition coffee table book – The Indians: Interesting Aspects, Extraordinary Facets. The book is a humble attempt at casting a roving eye through the country and showcase the extraordinary spirit of the people of India and a few interesting faced culled out of their daily lives. It celebrates the common people of India.
Sundeep Bhutoria is the author of Aapbiti Jagbiti, Safari My Life My Travels. He has also initiated various literary events like An Author’s Afternoon, Write Circle, Kalam, Ek Mulakat and Aakhar across India.
Surendra Varma completed his Masters degree in Wildlife Biology from Bharathidasan University in Trichanapally, Tamil Nadu, in 1988 after which he joined Asian Nature Conservation Foundation as a researcher. Since then he has been working on the conservation of elephants and other large mammals in South India, Vietnam and Myanmar, estimating elephant numbers, mapping habitat, reviewing the status of human-elephant conflict and elephant poaching in sanctuaries including Bandipur National Park, Kameng Elephant Reserve, Pakke Tiger Reserve and Namdhapa National Park in Arunachal Pradesh.
Suresh Hinduja is the founder of the hugely popular social media network on food and drink — gourmetindia.com. A well-known figure, he has deep and instinctive knowledge of food and beverages and loves researching ingredients, especially the long forgotten ones. Suresh has travelled widely and dined in the finest restaurants across the world and in India, and has used his experience to give a futuristic twist to traditional Indian cuisine which he calls Naya Zaika, the equivalent of nouvelle cuisine. On weekends, he tries to fix his golf slice.
T V Mohandas Pai
Chairman, Manipal Global Education; former member of the Board and Head – Finance and HR, Infosys Ltd.
Ravichandar is a self-described civic evangelist and ‘Patron Saint of Lost Causes’, who of late feels more like the Town Crier. He has been active on city issues in Bangalore and other cities since 2000 including as a key member of the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF) during 2000-04. He is now part of multiple social and cultural initiatives – Bangalore International Centre; Vidya Poshak, Samhita Academy, Akshara Foundation; Bangalore Literature Festival, Takshashila Institution among others.
Vani Mahesh has a Masters degree in computer science from the US but always nurtured a desire to retell the exciting stories from Hindu Puranas. A consultant writer with Amar Chitra Katha where she scripts stories from the Hindu texts, her books include Tales of Creation – stories from Brahma Purana, A Kingdom for His Love and Saptarshi – the Seven Supreme Sages. A retelling of Shiva Purana for children is due for release next year. She is also the founder of EasyLib.com, the first online library in India.
Varun Narain is a Delhi based puppeteer who believes in the freedom of expression free from trauma, and the blurring of boundaries. Born in 1969, Varun discovered puppetry at the age of nine, as a childhood passion. He professionalized puppetry and media skills in 1991 at the Mass Communication Research Center at Jamia University; He was then invited to teach puppetry by the Late Anwar Jamal Kidwai, at MCRC in 1993. He taught Puppetry for eight years, and explored puppetry with filmmaking and video production.
Varun was the first Indian Performance Artist in Residence in Switzerland facilitated by Prohelvetia, The Swiss Arts Council, New Delhi. Varun has worked at the Schlachthaus Theater in Bern under the mentorship of Sandro Lunin (Theater Spectakel, Zurich). He has created and performed under the supervision Master puppeteer Neville Tranter. He continues to train and work with Ms. Ranjana Pandey and Janmadhyam and The One World School of Music Gurgaon.
Varun is presently the Show running Director for the Kishore Kumar musical ‘Jhumroo’ at The Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon.
Vasanthi Hariprakash is an independent anchor-moderator and media strategist. She is also the founder of a community platform called Pickle Jar that creates and curates film festivals and programs of social relevance that gave Bangalore city retrospectives of cinema greats like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Smita Patil. Her past life include being a special correspondent with NDTV 24×7, documentary anchor of a South-Asia series on BBC World News, radio show host of a primetime breakfast show on Radio CIty 91.1 FM and a chief sub-editor at the New Indian Express. She hashtags on facebook as #womanwanderer as her work takes her sometimes to towns like in Chhattisgarh in central India to ideate as advisor for a tribal communities radio network Bultu Radio, or to places like Lucknow to bond with rural journalists on a pathbreaking rural newspaper called Gaon Connection. Between juggling random events and roles, she pretends to be a cool parent, as a result of which she gets asked to give gyan on parenting, career dilemmas of young people and such things that the nation wants to know.
Vasudev Murthy writes across many genres – music, management, crime and humour.
How Organizations Really Work was published by Bloomsbury in early 2016. The Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years series have been published by Harper Collins, Poisoned Pen Press, Editor Vestigio (Brazil – Portuguese) and Kokusho (Japanese).
He is an honorary animal welfare officer and terrible violinist.
Vasudhendra was born in Sandur in Ballari, Karnataka. After working as a software professional for more than twenty years, Vasudhendra now runs his own publication house, Chanda Pustaka, which publishes and encourages new writing in Kannada and has instituted the Chanda Pustaka Award which recognizes young short story writers. He is also associated with local support groups for LGBT individuals. The author of thirteen books in Kannada, that have sold over 80,000 copies, Vasudhendra has won many literary awards, including the Kannada Sahitya Academy Book Prize, the Da Raa Bendre Story Award and the Dr U.R. Ananthamurthy Award.
Veena Srinivasan is currently a Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru, an academic think-tank. Her research interests include inter-sectoral water allocation and impacts of urbanization on water resources. Veena received her PhD from Stanford University’s Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.
After her PhD, Veena stayed on as a post-doctoral fellow to help found a Freshwater Initiative at Stanford. Her dissertation and post-doctoral work resulted in a number of journal articles in Water Resources Research, Water International and Global Environmental Change.
Originally from Bombay, Veena has an undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and an M.A in Energy and Environmental Analyses from Boston University.
Vinod Pande was a civil servant with the British Government, broadcaster with the BBC, maker of documentaries and several ad-films, owner and creative director of an advertising agency and finally the producer, writer and the director of his first Hindi feature film, Ek Baar Phir, which was huge success. He went on to make eight more films, including Yeh Nazdeekiyan and SINS. He also made four TV serials, including Air Hostess and Reporter. He headed as Chief Commissioning Editor and Director of Programmes the launch team of a private network TV in India during the late nineties. He has been the chairman of the jury of several important film awards events, including the committee for selecting the Indian entry for the iconic Oscar Awards, more than once. He has written Don’s Wife and Saanvri: The story of a Concubine, and is presently completing his 3rd novel, Destiny.
Vivek Shanbhag writes in Kannada. He has published five short story collections, three novels and two plays, and has edited two anthologies, one of them in English. For 7 years from 2005 to 2012, he published and edited the literary journal Desha Kaala. His acclaimed novel Ghachar Ghochar was published in English translation in 2015. He was a Fall 2016 resident at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. An engineer by training, he lives in Bangalore.