Silence! The ego is reading

The solitary, brooding writer is nearly extinct. Writers are now public property, but is that good for them or the reading public, asks author Anjum Hasan

FOR THE next 45 minutes, you will hear one uninterrupted voice, my own,” said novelist JM Coetzee at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year, before reading out his story The Old Woman and the Cats. He meant his storyteller’s voice, of course. His was possibly the most studied statement made at the festival — the selfconsciousness of an artist who, if he must speak, insists on revealing himself only through his work...

[Read full article in Tehelka, April 23, 2011]

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The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies do to Writers



Samit Basu in conversation with Jai Arjun Singh, Namita Gokhale, Jaishree
Mishra, Madhulika Liddle and Anjum Hasan

Tuesday, March 22, 7 pm
Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi



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March 5, Saturday, 7pm

at Crossword, Residency Road, Bangalore

Readings from India: A Traveller's Literary Companion

Do come!



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Jaipur Literature Festival 2011

The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies Do Writers
January 24

Watch a video of Jai Arjun Singh, Namita Gokhale, Kamila Shamshie,
Jaishree Misra and me in conversation on what movies did to us.












Excerpt from Neti, Neti in The Drawbridge (UK)
, January 2011



Smaller, yet bigger


The Drawbridge was launched five years ago by a group of enthusiasts for literature, art and design, and has since enjoyed great critical success and accumulated a loyal readership. With this issue we have outgrown our guise as a newspaper and progressed to a new book-sized format that allows space to bring you even more of the best photography, artwork, essays and stories, many available in English for the first time.... [Read more]




'Living in the 14th Century': EM Forster in Dewas in Asia Literary Review (December 2010)

"When I visit Dewas, armed with a copy of the book that has sent me into mourning about that vanished civilisation each time I have read it, I imagine that just as The Hill of Devi  breathes life into Dewas, Dewas maintains a half-a-century-old excitement over The Hill of Devi. I am, naturally, wrong."





The Big Picture in Out of Print (December 2010):

"It is possible to feel utterly at home in the world but this is only because we have laid claim to a small space – a few rooms, certain streets, a familiar town at best – over which our habitual wanderings create grooves that we can comfortably slip into. In truth,
the world is a strange and horrifying place..."









The Day No one Died in World Literature Today (November 2010)











The Day No one Died

(After Frank O’ Hara)

It’s a day to drink a large soda
in Bangalore, gulmohar flowers livid on the left
and there on the right. I take the creaking 278,
a woman with one cataract eye’s handing a bag
of bananas to the conductor at Mekhri circle.
She knows it too, today’s the day

no one dies. The soda bottle’s

hissing a bit like laughter in my hand when
I pass through Cantonment railway station
without a platform ticket, the policeman watching but
maybe too hot to move. I’m predicting the overbridge
will collapse soon but I walk on it every time.
My doctor’s back from Bombay, yawning, henna
on her hands. Ma planned to boycott the wedding
but didn’t, she says as she watches
the inside of me on her screen

and then I’m in a rickshaw to Lavelle Road 
to see photographs of empty lots in the gallery,
alone with them, not sure why they’re all sunny lots.
Someone in the guestbook has written, ‘We were fooled.’
I like it that I can sit in Koshys, eat peach melba,
read till the waiter brings back the afternoon menu.
Then I’m out again, drizzled on by the big wet men
sculpture on Mallya Road, turning

onto Kasturba Road and there in the May dusk and 6 o’ clock
traffic, the black leaves of a rain tree are, I’m not exaggerating,
like a thousand small quivering birds about to take off.