Tag Archives: literature

Authors from Bloody Scotland at the 2017 Kolkata Lit Festival

Bloody Scotland is an annual Crime Writers festival held in Stirling, Scotland, and sees participation from some well-known crime fiction authors from Scotland and India. Earlier in February, three Scottish authors participated in a series of sessions with Indian crime fiction authors to explore themes around crime writing:

Lin Anderson shares her experience of participating in the Kolkata Literature festival in this Blog post here  

My favourite memory was of a boy of about ten who had chosen his book from a selection of classics. Clutching it to his chest like a prize possession he was approaching the pay desk with a broad smile on his face.

Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson

Lin Anderson is best known as the author of a series of crime thriller novels and for her part in founding the annual ‘Bloody Scotland’ crime writing festival. Lin’s novel Paths of the Dead was shortlisted for the 2015 Scottish Crime Book of the Year award. Her novels have been published in translation in a number of countries, including France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and Russia. Lin is also an award-winning scriptwriter, with her work broadcast internationally on radio and TV.

 

 

 

Doug Johnstone also writes about his time in Kolkata, dodging the traffic, meeting authors from India and gorging on masala omelettes in his blog here

Turns out we had a lot in common with our Kolkatan counterparts, and we learnt a lot about the crime scene there, as well as spreading the word about our own writing. Ideally, we ‘d love to have some Indian writers come over to Scotland in the future, and I hope we can make that happen.

Doug Johnstone. Picture: Chris Scott

Doug Johnstone. Picture: Chris Scott

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His eighth novel, Crash Land, was published by Faber & Faber in November 2016. His previous book, The Jump, was shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Novel. Doug has had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies.

 

 

 

 

Find out more about the Bloody Scotland Festival 

 

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Daljit Nagra: Ramayana – A Retelling India tour

Daljit Nagra was in India between 25 November – 5 December on a touring promotion of his latest novel Ramayana: A Retelling . He performed extracts from his latest compelling read in front of packed audiences in venues across Bangalore, New Delhi, Chandigarh and Mumbai as part of the Times Lit Fest. He shares some moments from his journey on the road and interacting with young audiences. Some moments from his reading:

Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra

Bangalore, 25 November, 2015
Venue: Vidya Shilp Academy school
Timing: 9:00 am – 3 pm

I suspect I’m crossing no line of tact by saying the traffic situation is impossible in Bangalore. Not only are the roads teeming with cars, motor bikes and horn bleats but there is no concept of lane driving. Drivers find a gap and invent a lane then shuffle along the jam-packed roads. I imagine all this would cause frustration. That’s too polite. I imagine it’d cause rage, proper road rage! So when on my third day here, my driver has an accident, my first but no doubt not last of the trip, he knocks a motorbike and both drivers head from their vehicles for a showdown.

Daljit Nagra at the Vidya Shilp Academy school in Bangalore

Daljit Nagra at the Vidya Shilp Academy school in Bangalore

I look away fearing fisticuffs and expletives. Instead, when I look up the drivers are checking each other vehicles and noticing nothing much has happened. Then in the 30 degree heat they seem to be wearing wry benign looks and seem to be chatting as though they’re about to exchange addresses for a meet up. When they eventually part, they seem lit with smiles as they return back into the traffic.

This must be an example of that famous laid-back, affable geniality attributed to Bangaloreans. I’m left wondering, if there’s any chance of the DVLA inculcating this gentility into the next generation of our British drivers?

New Delhi, 30 November, 2015
Venue: Maidens Hotel
Session: Performance reading

At the Delhi Festival last night, I watched the great Indian poet, Jeet Thayil, author of Booker Prize shortlisted Narcopolis, read from his Collected Poems. After the reading I bought his book and whilst queuing for the autograph, I bumped into a girl and a boy. It turned out although they looked like lean teenagers they were in their early 20s. I asked them about their poetry reading at school and they said they’d read mostly British Romantic poets and so they knew of very few Indian poets who write in English.

Daljit Nagra in New Delhi

Daljit Nagra at a performance reading of “Ramayana… in New Delhi

I asked them whether they were poets and both said that they were performance poets. They’d independently and quietly been writing page poetry then one day they’d gone on Youtube and discovered the likes of B Zephaniah and K Tempest. These clips had changed their lives because they too wanted to be performance poets.

 

 

They had both quit studies in Law to see if they could homogenise performance poetry in India. Into an Indian Poetry Society. They now live in Bangalore and have been funded in this venture by a young start-up entrepreneur. They both believe young people are not being encouraged into individual expression of if they are writing poetry they have no outlet for it. So this young couple, Shantanu and Nandini, have been visiting campuses around the country to spot new talent and give them an online presence.

 

I said I’d pass on their emails to people I know at The Poetry Society in Great Britain and to Apples & Snakes. Perhaps we are able to support this valiant cause.

Chandigarh, 1-2 December
Venue: British Library; Vivek High School; Yadavindra Public School, Mohali
Timing: 3 pm 

I have returned to the land of my ancestors as a poet, for the first time. Whilst being driven around and at poetry readings I’ve found myself hearing Dylan Thomas’ chiasmus about his own background, Ah the land of my fathers; my fathers can keep it! I felt this most potently last night at a reading I gave in Chandigarh.

Daljit Nagra at Brtish Library N Chnadigargh

Daljit Nagra at the British Library in Chandigarh

The audience for my event was even gendered and well-balanced in age, from College students up to a few elderly individuals. Once I was introduced by the MC I duly took the podium but there were no customary applause. Only stony silence. So I thought I’d try and lighten the mood with a couple of my more humorous poems. Neither was there laughter at my best lines nor was there applause at the end of each poem. Instead, each spectator seemed to wear a brow-knitted angered look. On it went, the stony silence, the perplexed look from each viewer. Anyway, I stopped reading ahead of time because I suspected my reading was clearly unwanted. Perhaps it had offended.

Yet when I was asked for questions, I was flooded by a stream of insightful questions. The audience put up their hands and whilst still not smiling, at least there were many lovely questions about my work which went on for over 40 minutes. Even after the event had finished, several people came up to me to discuss poetic and political issues. These issues helped me deepen, and are helping me deepen an understanding of myself.

Audience members enjoy the reading session at the British Library

Audience members enjoy the reading session at the British Library

So what I learned about my ancestors: their serious looks are scary looks (which I must have worn all my life in England!), they don’t care for humour but only for deadly serious poetry, they are wonderfully brilliant listeners and supremely interiorised about their appreciation; they allow you to elicit their pleasure by asking you brilliant questions.

I am proud to say the land of my fathers is a land I’d like to keep close to my heart. Next time I read in Punjab, I’ll come fully prepared to treat the silent treatment as a sign of affection.

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Live with Granta Novelists: 23 October 2013

Join us for a live interactive session with Granta writers – Evie Wyld and Ned Beauman on October 23, 3 pm onwards live through this blogpost. You can win signed copies by the authors by sending us your questions as comments on this blog now or at the time of the event.*

British Council brings two of the Best of Young British Novelist on the Granta list, Evie Wyld and Ned Beauman to India this October. Evie and Ned will join in for a discussion relayed to you live on this page, about their work and life after being shortlisted as the future of the UK literature scene.

About Evie Wyld
Evie Wyld (1980) runs Review, a small independent bookshop in Peckham, south-east London. Her first novel, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 she was listed as one of the Culture Show’s Best New British Novelists. She was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. ‘After the Hedland’ is an excerpt from her second novel, All the Birds, Singing, forthcoming in June 2013 from Jonathan Cape in the UK and in 2014 from Pantheon in the US.

About Ned Beauman
Ned Beauman (1985) was born in London. His debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, won the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction and the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book. His second novel, The Teleportation Accident, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. His third novel, Glow, from which this excerpt is taken, is published in 2014 by Sceptre in the UK.

*Conditions apply. Limited copies are available and the winning questions will be selected by the moderator.

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UK speaker’s at Publishing Next conference

CinnamonTeal Publishing, a division of Dogears Print Media Pvt. Ltd, is organizing Publishing Next, a two-day Conference on the future of publishing on 16 and 17 September 2011 in Goa. 

Publishing Next is being supported by the British Council who is actively involved in promoting creative entrepreneurship (www.britishcouncil.org.in/yce) in India through programmes that share the UK’s expertise and experience of developing the creative economy and by supporting ecologies within which it can flourish. 

The UK speakers at the conference include:

Elin Haf Gruffydd, Director, Mercator Centre University of Aberystwyth

Elin is the Director of the Mercator Institute for Media, Languages and Culture, a research institute based at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies at Aberystwyth University that specialises in the fields of media, publishing, communication and translation, with a particular expertise in multilingual contexts. Elin is Senior Lecturer in Media and Creative Industries (undergraduate and postgraduate studies) and Director of Knowledge Transfer and Enterprise at the same department. Digital Creative Economy, is currently a strong research focus for Mercator and Elin is supervising several PhD projects in this field. Mercator is coordinator of the Minority Languages Media Research Network and is home to the Wales Literature Exchange (http://www.walesliterature.org) and Literature Across Frontiers (http://www.lit-across-frontiers.org/) and is one of the key partners in Mercator Network of Language Diversity Centres www.mercator-research.eu.

James Bridle, Owner and Director, Bookable

James pushes the boundaries of literature through creative technology. He is the director of Bookkake, a technology-led publisher of classic transgressive literature. He is also the developer of bkkeepr, a social reading application, and London Lit Plus, an open-source literary festival. He writes about literature and technology at http://booktwo.org, and has edited and written for numerous publications, online and off. James was one of the finalists of the UK YCE Publishing Award 2009.

Michael Bhaskar, Digital Publishing Director, Profile Books

Michael (www.michaelbhaskar.com) is currently Digital Publishing Director at leading independent publisher Profile Books (www.profilebooks.com). He is responsible for spearheading their digital strategy, ebook program and digital business development in creating new products and platforms. Whilst there he has produced games, apps and created a commercially successful digital publishing program. Previously Michael was Digital Editor at Macmillan, where he worked on their large and profitable ebooks program, a Facebook app and several iPhone apps amongst other innovative projects, and wrote for The Digitalist blog. Over the past few years Michael has written extensively on digital publishing. He regularly lectures at publishing university courses around the UK and has recently completed a paper for the journal Logos.  He has worked at the literary agency Rogers, Coleridge and White, reviewed books at The Daily Telegraph and worked for an economics research firm, as well as building websites like www.quikqr.com, a 2-d barcode generator. 

Oliver Brooks, Co-founder, Completelynovel

Oliver is the co-founder of a team made up of web technologists working in the book publishing space. They work on the following two projects: ValoBox.com (www.valobox.com) is a pay-as-you-go eReader powered by social commerce.  The pay-as-you-go micro-purchase system means any part of a book can be accessed with a single click. The system is 100% HTML5 so can be used from any device with a web browser and the content can be anything you can put on a website (audio, video, games, and interactive elements). Social retail (peer-to-peer selling) eliminates the traditional expensive retailers. This means if a user shares a link or embeds a ValoBox in their website/feed or mobile app they will receive 25% of proceeds. The direct link means publishers get live analytics such as which parts of their books are most popular. CompletelyNovel.com (www.completelynovel.com) is a unique publishing hub combining a publishing community with powerful publishing tools such as print-on-demand and social media promotion. Authors and publishers can create, distribute and promote books and interact with their readers. The system is designed to make the complicated publishing process simple and affordable enough for anyone to use.

Gavin Summers, Digital Services Manager, Hodder Education

Gavin is the digital project manager for Hodder Education (www.hoddereducation.co.uk), a leading educational publisher in the UK working on a wide range of digital products, including online applications (e.g. Dynamic Learning and Practise Every Question), ebooks, interactive whiteboard materials and smartphone applications. As a side project, he is the founder of BookMachine , which in addition to building a valuable network of publishing professionals, is also an experiment in how movements can be created around a brand through creative use of social media tools.

Titash Neogi, Founder, Sievelogic Software

Titash won the India YCE Interactive 2011 award. He built Bibkosh (www.bibkosh.com) a knowledge curation platform that allows academics, students and professionals to create, curate knowledge and collaborate. He will be discussing the potential of http://themeefy.com as a marketing tool for publishers.

Prathibha Sastry, Head of Publications, Jinibooks (www.jinibooks.com) and Co-founder of JiniLabs (www.jinilabs.com)

Pratibha won the India YCE Screen award in 2008. At that point she was the Managing Director, Editor and Publisher of South Movie Scenes, a platform for the film and entertainment industry. She will be participating in the panel discussion Where is Digital Books Headed?

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