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    The Tata Literature Live is set to begin in Mumbai, with an interesting line-up and over 130 speakers.

    After Mountain Echoes in Bhutan and the Kumaon Literary Festival, the stage is set for Mumbai’s Tata Literature Live, which is set to begin next week. With a line-up consisting names like Amitav Ghosh, John Gray, Ramachandra Guha and Kiran Nagarkar, the seventh edition will see more than 130 writers, critics and thinkers participating from over 30 countries. We catch up with author Nicholas Shakespeare, who will be a part of multiple sessions at the four-day event, on what he feels about the proliferation of literary festivals and his association with the Bard.

    His words’ worth
    The author of Stories from Other Places tells us that he is a descendent of William Shakespeare’s grandfather, making him the playwright’s cousin 13 times removed. Seemingly amused when asked if that association had anything to do with his choice of profession, he says, “No, it did not influence my decision to become a writer any more, I suppose, than to carry the surname Hitler would influence one to become an anti-semitic mass murderer, or being called Curie would encourage one to go into radium and polonium research.” Nicholas, who has just finished writing his next—a book on how Churchill unexpectedly become Prime Minister in May 1940—will be a part of sessions on subjects ranging from the healing power of literature, to the art of biography. Talking about the purpose and growing number of lit fests today, the UK-based author says, “Now just about every village wants to host a ‘writer’s festival’, except that the organisers tend unerringly to invite TV chefs or Top Gear presenters rather than, say, a sensitive young poet or a first-time novelist.” He adds that, in his opinion, writers are their best when they are read, and not “performing like circus seals”.
    November 17-20.
    Details: tatalitlive.in

    —Simar Bhasin


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