Today, I went to a ‘literary discussion’ (read: book launch/publicity event) held at the British Council, Chennai. There were two British authors – David Szalay & Nadifa Mahamad, whose works have been picked up by Granta Magazine and hence are considered as promising young writers. British Council is trying to promote their books, I guess.
Actually, I got a mail from British Council that said the theme was, ‘Exploring representation of the various forms of conflict in literature’. Along with it, a ‘high tea’ was also promised. They kept their promise of the high tea – I ate one chocolate/vannila cake, Paneer roll and of course, tea 🙂
Before and during the high tea, I was chatting with people sitting next to me – one person had come from Madurai (actually he came for a screenwriting workshop in the morning and stayed for this). It seems, he is involved with a theater group that stages plays in his city. Another person was the Dean of the English dept. of an engineering college (now Univ).
Then the authors came – David was originally a Canadian but he moved to London while he was very young and now lives in Hungary. Nadifa, born in British Somalia, migrated to London before many years.
David’s book is about a Love Triangle between one girl, her ex-husband and a guy -he can also try writing a Bollywood script? 😛 – his book reading was good, but the theme doesn’t appeal to me. Nadifa has written a fictionalized biography of her father’s story. I don’t understand why people want to ‘fictionalize’ biographies. It seems, her father asked her to write another book, containing only the facts – I too would have done the same thing, had I been her father 🙂
The funniest moment came during the Audience Q&A. The moderator, Parvathi Nair, cautiously opened the session for audience interaction and pat came the first question – ‘What is the essence of happiness?’ Now, are these two – novelists or Swamijis??? Another person asked, ‘What is the value we achieve by reading your books?’ You should have seen the faces of the authors while trying to answer these two 🙂 Maybe, this is why freedom of speech is wisely kept away from ppl 😛
Actually, I wanted to show off my Kindle among this literary group, but that too was confiscated along with my camera. What’s the use of buying a gadget if we are not able to show it off? I then took it to the adjacent Spencer’s Plaza – the large shopping complex which seems to have passed its hey days – but it did not create much of an effect there. Maybe people thought it was an old, over-sized black & white phone? 😛 I am planning to take it to the Tower park, one of these days, for show off purpose 🙂