‘Getting your book out finally feels real’-Art-and-culture News, Firstpost

Jaipur Literature Festival this year was all the more special also because it gave several first-time authors, whose books released during the pandemic, the chance to talk about their work.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2022

After a forced break of two years because of the COVID-19 spread, the Jaipur Literature Festival returned earlier this month with great gusto and hope; the first visible, physical proof of things going back to normal for a lot of people still reeling in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Despite the heat and the change of venue, a festive spirit permeated through the five-day on-ground literary mela. It was as if the organizers, authors, guests, delegates, speakers, visitors, and readers were all just happy to see each other make it to the other side of the long, dark tunnel.

Other than giving people who had been cooped up in their homes for the last two years a reason to get together and celebrate, the JLF this year was all the more special also because it gave several first-time authors, whose books were released during the pandemic , the chance to talk about their work. After a long, dry wait, they finally got a chance to do it all – participate in illuminating panel discussions and fun banter with fellow writers, field questions from readers and other attendees, sign books, listen to first-hand feedback, and feel one with the literary community in a way that is impossible to achieve virtually.

Daribha Lyndem, whose debut novel Name Place Animal Thing was published in November 2020 to widespread critical acclaim, said festivals like the JLF give new writers a wonderful platform to promote books. “For first-time authors, it’s especially great because it’s a fantastic way to get the word out. These days, everyone just orders books on Amazon. But Amazon does not display other books as a physical bookstore does. So unless you know what to search for, you will not find a book on it. But how would you find or search for my book unless you’ve heard of it? And where will you hear about it? It’s in festivals like these or maybe if you happen to see it in a bookstore. ”

Name Place Animal Thing was one of the five books shortlisted for the 2021 JCB Prize for Literature. An IRS officer who is a native of Shillong, Lyndem added, “I am glad that I am able to talk about my book to people who I can also shake hands with, after sanitizing of course. I have never had a physical book launch or a book signing. Now, I can finally talk to people, and see if they have actually read my book. ”

Film critic Uday Bhatia, whose debut book Bullets Over Bombaywhich looks at the genre of gangster movies in Bollywood through the 1998 cult classic Satya, agreed. Though the book was published in September 2021, he said the kind rousing applause and appreciation, that his session at the JLF with Manoj Bajpayee got, would definitely help spread the word. “It’s great because all my interactions up till now for Bullets Over Bombay have been virtual. To be able to do it in front of a crowd, especially alongside Manoj Bajpayee, it cannot get better than this, ”he said.

Rijula ​​Das, the author of A Death in Shonagachhi, which received the Tata Lit Live First Book Award 2021, had a similar story to share. “It’s quite special because my experience of being an author has been entirely virtual this whole time because of the pandemic. So just being here and meeting people who have read the book is a very different feeling to seeing a comment on Instagram. That’s how most of my interactions had been until now, ”she said.

“Writing a book is a very lonely thing, and reading a book is a very private thing as well. It’s not like being in a band and playing to a big crowd, which gives you so much joy.

That’s why events like the JLF are important because they bring so many people together. This is the most luxurious literature will ever get.

It’s amazing just to be meeting everybody, the people who have made the book happen. It feels real for the first time. For the first time, it’s not something on a phone screen, ”she added.

First published in India in July 2021, A Death in Shonagachhi is slated to be out in the rest of the world in June this year. Work on its Russian and French translations are already underway, and Drishyam Films has optioned its film adaptation rights.

For Shabir Ahmad Mir, whose debut novel The Plague Upon Us got published in August 2020, the most rewarding aspect of attending the JLF was being able to interact with readers, an opportunity that authors rarely get, more so in the post-COVID era. Talking about his experience on Day 1, he said, “After my first session, there were a few questions that remained unanswered on the dais because the time was over. So I had informal chitchat with lots of people outside. It was very good. I was not expecting them to talk about the book in such depth. I thought people will not get certain local references in the novel, like the name of a particular location or the fictionalized version of a particular character. But readers are picking all of it up, and that’s been such a pleasant discovery. ”

When not reading books or watching movies, Sneha Bengani writes about them. She tweets at @benganiwrites.

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