With many well-known authors taking the stage, the day-long Gurgaon Readers’ Fest focused on several literary and cultural discussions. Curated by Kiranjeet Chaturvedi, founder of Write & Beyond, the event also provided an opportunity for local readers to write and share their poetry with the audience.
Playwright Vanessa Ohri directed a dramatic reading of poetry by a team of local school children. Another very popular session was poetry reading and discussion with Akhil Katyal.
Media partner SheThePeople.TV spoke with the panelists to know about their experiences at the fest and on why bringing out more such fests for women is important.
Cozy, Convivial and Spacious
“The Gurgaon Reader’s Fest was a celebration of writing, reading and the wonderful relationship that writers and readers have with each other,” said the author Nirupama Subramanian. “As an author, I found meeting other writers and poets inspirational – it was a good reminder for me to stay on this path. Unlike other festivals which are overblown and crowded with luminaries, this was cozy, convivial and gave space for interesting conversations. Such events are important since they give a platform for new talent, especially women to express themselves and share their creativity in a safe, supportive space,” she added.
Unlike other festivals which are overblown and crowded with luminaries, this was cozy, convivial and gave space for interesting conversations. – Nirupama Subramanian
Kanchana Banerjee, the author of A Forgotten Affair, said, “A reading community is a thinking, responsible and sensitive community. It’s a given fact that books do much more than just taking us away to a different world. It’s important to have reading and book events so that people can come together, share their views, feelings and opinions. It was great seeing so many turn up at the Reader’s fest in Gurgaon.”
On asking to give us her biggest takeaway from the fest, she claimed, “It was the heartrending and gut-wrenching recitation by Meghna as she spoke about the horrors of child sex abuse. Collectively everyone choked with her. We need such safe places for tormented voices to cry out, tell their stories, share their hurt. Because speaking out loud is the first step to healing. Hope we have many more such fests!”
It was the heartrending and gut-wrenching recitation by Meghna as she spoke about the horrors of child sex abuse. –Kanchana Banerjee
Shobha Sengupta of Quill And Canvas, Bookstore and Art gallery, said, “This was the first time we were able to co–host something on this scale. Over the last 17 and a half years, we have been supporting the community of readers and writers. Happy to be a part of the Gurgaon Readers’ Fest this year.“
Why Men consider it Progressing
Saikat Majumdar, the author of The Scent of God, applauded the initiative and told us, “We talked about things that matter – things that make us writers and readers, but essentially, everything that makes us human. Childhood, memory, past, trauma, relationships, growing up, and all the crucial things. I find it both natural and deeply gratifying that this was a festival organized mostly by women, as over the course of my life as a reader, writer and again, human being, I have found that these issues are made real and alive by women in a way that they often lie beyond the reach of men. As a man, I was honored and excited to participate in this festival.”
I find it both natural and deeply gratifying that this was a festival organized mostly by women. – Saikat Majumdar
Siddhartha Gigoo, an award-winning author cum filmmaker, told us, “Gurgaon Readers’ Festival brought together Delhi and Gurgaon-based people who are passionate about expressing themselves through their writings. Many first timers read their work. There were performances by teenagers. The discussions centred around many themes relevant in the present times. Themes such as urbanization and urbanity, sexuality, migration, childhood, the human condition, etc. Everyone connected on matters of common interests.”
Another author Rickie Khosla says, “The Fest was very heartening for the three words in the event title itself. First, Gurgaon, because it was from, of and by the community of Gurgaon. Readers, because that there would be no creative community without readers! In fact, all such events should be called Readers’ fests and not Writers’ this and that! And finally, Fest, because it was such a joyful event – you simply had to see the happy faces to know that a great time was had by all!”
Any day I spend in the company of people who are better read, more creative, nicer looking and wittier than me is a day well spent! – Rickie