Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The Gliterati at Literati: The Authors in Chandigarh this week

Authors participating at the CLS Literati 2015 (6-8 November 2015)

 AMRITA CHATTERJEE calls herself, an ‘undercover-unicorn’, who surfaces occasionally to check on the real world. She started her writing career at a very early age, two years old to be precise and drove her parents to insanity by scribbling all over the walls. And, two decades later, not much has changed. Besides writing, Amrita is inept at pretty much everything else in life and she lives in Delhi with a money plant that refuses to die despite being watered once a month.

ANUPAM SRIVASTAVA graduated from St Stephen’s College, Delhi, in 1992 and later also got his masters in English. Anupam started his career as a journalist with The Times of India and later moved to development sector where he worked with Unicef, UNFPA and other agencies. Anupam was awarded the British Chevening scholarship in 1999 to study journalism in London by the British government. What became an earnest questioning by him of the colonial framework of the democratic Indian state – particularly the privileges of the government and the marginalization of the common people – resulted in the writing of The Brown Sahebs which was first published as A Piece of the Giant. Anupam is working on his second novel set in India, which he hopes to publish in 2016.

ANUSHA YADAV, an NID, Ahmedabad graduate,  is a Photographer and a Publication/Print designer and the founder of Indian Memory Project. Founded in 2010, Indian Memory Project is the World’s first and online visual & personal narratives based archive. The project has been cited as exemplary, won multiple national & International awards. Anusha has been awarded the Innovator of the Year 2014 at the India Today Women’s summit, a 2013 L’Oreal Paris Femina Women Achiever. She is also recipient of the ‘Honorary’ award - Prix Ars Electronica Austria 2013. In 2013, Anusha founded ‘The Memory Company’, a curatorial and design consultancy with a focus on online and offline visual histories as well as contemporary photography, publication & print projects.

ASHOKE MITRA calls himself a travel trailblazer, an evil investment banker, an obsessed ornithologist, a nerd scientist, an incurable troublemaker amongst many other things and passionate writer. He considers himself to be an unapologetic collector who has devoted his life collecting pebbles, tadpoles, rocks, memories, feelings, thoughts and stories. His book, Shifting Cloudsis an anthology of 14 short stories, which captures a wide range of human emotions and the unpredictable turn of events in life.

ASHOK VAJPEYI, a Hindi poet-critic, translator, editor and culture-activist, is a major cultural figure of India. With more than 14 books of poetry, 10 of criticism in Hindi and 4 books on art in English to his credit, he is widely recognized as an outstanding promoter of culture and an innovative institution-builder. He has been the editor of many prestigious journals and has been awarded the SahityaAkademi Award, the DayawatiKaviShekharSamman, KabirSamman and awarded D.Lit. (honoriscausa) by the Central University of Hyderabad. The President of Republic of Poland and the French Government have also decorated him with literary awards. He is credited with setting up of the renowned multi-arts centre Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal and has been the first Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University. For more than a year he doubled up as the Director General of the National Museum, New Delhi, the Vice-Chairman National Museum of Man, Bhopal. Until recently has been the Chairman, Lalit Kala Akademi, Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, New Delhi. Presently, he is the Executive Trustee, The Raza Foundation, New Delhi.

ARADHIKA SHARMA is an author and has written extensively for newspapers for a couple of decades. She mainly writes lifestyle stories, based on trends in society, films and young people.  She’s a book reviewer for the Tribune and has reviewed several major writers and books. She’s also been an assistant editor for a lifestyle magazine for 2 years and has been an ‘Agony Aunt’ for a popular website for over 9 years now. She has authored two books- Sunita Williams; Astronaut Extraordinaire that she co-authored with Capt Seshadri and Dear Agony Aunt.  She has  also produced a children’s newspaper called the School Tribune for close to a decade. She works as a CSR professional for a company called Parexel International whereby she engages with local NGOs working for educating the less privileged children.

BUBBU TIR – Bubbu Tir (Harmohan K Sandhu) is a bi-lingual writer and a poet who began her odyssey as a columnist with ‘The Tribune’. She is now a much read socio-political columnist, published in the Ajit and over 200 national & international Punjabi  newspapers of repute. Bubbu is a popular socio-political commentator on various TV & radio channels and endeavors to create a platform for a progressive mindset. Her pen gently propels people towards creating change, never wounds as it jibes. As a story writer she chooses to speak of the contemporary Punjab & address the hard hitting, less spoken about issues. One of the most recognisable names among the Punjabi contemporaries,  Bubbu Tir has ably carried forward her late father Dr GurnamSinghTir's legacy.

CHANDRA SHEKHAR VARMA is a behavioural scientist, a motivational speaker and a Hindi poet. Grandson of Padma BhushanShriBhagwatiCharanVarma, he has published two poetry collections Navras and Kadmonki lay. Corners of a Straight Line (published by Rupa Publications) is his first venture into English, was launched by ShriJavedAkhtar in Lucknow. A postgraduate in Management and Psychology from Lucknow University, he is currently working as a freelance consultant in Lucknow.

Dr CHANDER TRIKHA: Born in 1945, is a well known journalist who has worked with Daily Hindi Milap, Daily Pratap, Navbharat Times, DainikJagran&Daily Jan Sandesh. He also served as Editor-in-chief for Daily Jan Sandesh& as an Editor for Democratic World (an English monthly) and as Founder Editor of Daily Yougmarg (an English Evening from Chandigarh). He has been decorated with Shiromani Hindi Sahityakar Award by Govt of Punjab; SouhardSammaan in Utter Pradesh; Hindi SeviSamman by Haryana Govt; BalrajSahni Award- Shimla (HP). He has authored 14 books including ‘WhoAthtaalisghantee’, ‘PashanYug’, ‘ChaloNai Website Kholen’, ‘VibhajanGhatha’ etc. In the past, he has served as the Director of Haryana SahityaAkadeny& the Director of Haryana Sanskrit Academy. At present, he is a Member of Central SahityaAkademy, representing Chandigarh, in the National Academy of Letters.

DHRITABRATA BHATTACHARJYA TATO, holds an MPhil in Cultural Studies from Sorbonne, Paris. He regularly contributes to national and international media on art, culture, trends and spirituality. He's the founder of Daastaan Media Communications- a Delhi based publishing house. His book Sufism: It's Spirit & Essence was published in 2014.

Dr. DEVIKA RANGACHARI is an award-winning children’s writer whose book, Growing Up (Children’s Book Trust), was on the Honour List of the International Board on Books for Young People in 2002. Her other books include Queen of Ice (Duckbill), Swami Vivekananda—A Man with a Vision (Puffin Books), HarshaVardhana (Scholastic), The Merry Mischief of GopalBhand (Scholastic) and The Wit of Tenali Raman (Scholastic). Devika is also currently engaged in post-doctoral research on gender in Indian history at the University of Delhi. Her doctoral research was published under the title Invisible Women, Visible Histories: Gender, Society and Polity in North India (Seventh to Twelfth Century AD) (Manohar Books, 2009). Devika has also been the recipient of several academic fellowships from the University Grants Commission, as well as the Charles Wallace India Trust.

GUL PANAG holds a Masters degree in political science and is a member of the AamAadmi Party’s national executive. Her social and political activism has had her being recognized as one of the most influential voices on social media and a youth icon. Gul as an actor and producer, has attained critical acclaim for her roles, winning various awards. Gul is a frontline advocate and an activist who has been vocal on issues of gender equality, environment, fundamental rights, secularism, corruption and political accountability. An icon for women’s fitness, Gul is a serial half-marathoner and in the process of writing a book on fitness. Gul is presently also pursuing her ambition of becoming a pilot and is on the process of getting her Private Pilot License.

GULZAR SANDHUwas born at KotiaBadia district of Ludhiana, in 1935 and did his M.A. in English Literature from the Punjab University. He migrated to Delhi and worked in editorial positions in the well-known Punjabi monthly. He has four collections of short stories to his credit, titled ‘Husan de haani’, ‘Iksanjhpurani’, ‘Sone di itt’ and ‘Amar katha’ which was picked up for the SahityaAkademi Award for the year 1982. His stories give an insight into the social and economic conditions prevailing in the villages of Punjab. He is also credited with a prose work ‘Sade harshingar’, and a Punjabi translation of Maxim Gorky's work, titled ‘Jivantesahit’. He is also the recipient of International Association of Authors, Playwrights and Artists of Canada in 1992 and Shiromoni Punjabi SahityakarPuruskar from the Education Department of Punjab in 2001. He is currently the president of the Chandigarh SahityaAkademi.

Harleen Sekhon is a homemaker and has been  running grooming courses since the past 13 years. Her fondness for reading has encouraged her to actively participate in literary activities of the city based book club 'Just Books'. Apart from this, she dedicates her time with 'Sahayta Cancer Sahyog', an NGO for cancer patients. In her role as a volunteer, she counsels parents of cancer inflicted children at Paediatric Oncology department PGI, helps them get free chemotherapy drugs and educates children who drop out of school for treatment.  It was the love for Literature, art, music and culture that led her to be associated with Chandigarh Literary Society and be a part of it.

HIMANJALI SANKAR completed her Masters and MPhil in English Literature from JNU, New Delhi. She has taught English to undergraduate students and been an editor with various publishing houses. She has written three books for children and one for young adults called Talking of Muskaan. Her first book for children, The Magical Adventures of Skinny Scribbles, was published in May 2012. Her book, The Stupendous TimetellingSuperdog, was shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Children's Writing in 2013 and is also on the ‘101 Indian Children's Books We Love’ list.

Hugh & Colleen Gantzer became writers after Hugh’s premature retirement as a Commander and a Judge Advocate of the Indian Navy.  Their extensive work ranges over 2x24 half-hour TV episodes, Looking Beyond and Take a Break with Hugh & Colleen Gantzer, scripts for Dot-coms, a fortnightly op-ed column in the Indian Express and destination guides. The Gantzers’ were honoured with Government of India’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. Their published works include a coffee-table book, Capital Icon, Intriguing India series (National Award 2013), Spicestory (2014), and a historical novel The Lynsdale Raj (2015), all published by Niyogi Books. When the Gantzers are not travelling, they live in their Victorian-era cottage in the Himalayas with a goldfish pond and an aviary of lively budgerigars.

JANE DE SUZA is the author of the laugh-a-line crime novel The Spy who Lost her Head. Her comedy for children SuperZero was such a hit, it’s now running into a series, and the second book SuperZero and the Grumpy Ghosts is just out. She has written other books for children, writes and reviews for magazines and advertising clients across the world. Jane is a management graduate from XLRI and lives in Bengaluru.

Jonathan Gil Harris, a Professor of English and Dean of Academic Affairs at Ashoka University, was born in New Zealand, educated in England and has lived in the US for 23 years before moving to India.  Not surprisingly, he has long been interested in ideas of "foreignness."  Harris's day job is as a professor of Shakespeare; he has written five books on English Renaissance drama, but his best-known book is The First Firangis: Remarkable Stories of Heroes, Healers, Charlatans, Courtesans & Other Foreigners Who Became Indian, published in 2015 by Aleph Books.  He is also an avid follower of Hindi cinema: his articles on Bollywood and globalization have been published in the Hindustan Times.

KAUSAR MUNIR Lyricist and screen writer, KausarMunir is a  graduate in English Honours from St Xavier’s college Mumbai. She has written screenplay for famour TV series ‘JassiJaisi Koi Nahi’ and for many other TV shows. As a lyricist she has written lyrics for over 50 songs in over 25 films including ‘FalakTakChal’ for film Tashan, songs for ‘Ishaqzaade’, ‘EkTha Tiger’, ‘Dhoom 3’, ‘NautankiSaala’, Habib Faisal’s ‘Dawat E Ishq’, Amit Sharma’s ‘Tevar’, R Balki’s ‘Shamitabh’ and  Kabir Khan’s ‘BajrangiBhaijaan’. She has also written songs for AmitTrivedi’s edition of MTV Coke Studio and served as language consultant for the Sridevi starrer ‘English-Vinglish’. In 2014, she has written for major events such as IIFA (Toronto, Singapore and Macau), X FACTOR and Miss India. Currently, she is developing the script for a Bollywood based musical for Theme Park based in Dubai.

KIRAN NAGARKAR is a bilingual novelist, playwright, screenplay writer, and social, political, and literary critic. His  Marathi novel Saat Sakkam Trechalis and his English novels  Ravan and Eddie, Cuckold,God's Little Soldier, The Extras and Rest in Peace Ravan and Eddie are amongst his famous works. His novels have been translated into Marathi, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. While Cuckold won the Sahitya Akademy Award for best novel in 2000, The New York Review of Books in 2012  published a review of Ravan and Eddie in their new e-book series, in which Katherine Boo called it a ‘Wicked, magical, hilarious, enduring: A masterpiece from one of world literature’s great cult writers.’ This year, he has published a two-in-one book, Bedtime Story, a play and Black Tulip, a screenplay. His novel Gottes Kleiner Krieger was a bestseller in Germany and Die Statisten was given the ITB award for culture and literature in 2013. In a recent Liptrom survey, Nagarkar was ranked 12th in the list of ‘the Best 30 authors’, along with Gabriel Garcia Marquez & Salman Rushdie and his book 'God's Little Soldier' was included in the list of '30 best Books'. In November 2012 he was awarded Germany’s highest civilian award the Cross of the Order Of Merit.

KIRAN NARAIN NEE KOHLI grew up in Kashmir as the youngest daughter of PremNathKohli, forrestor and pioneering botanist of Kashmir and Manager Private Estates to H.R.H. Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir. Growing up in a household of six sisters in Kashmir, Kiran's early years were spent in Baramulla until the Kabaili attack of 1
947 and then Srinagar. She taught English at the Women's College in Srinagar and moved to Calcutta after her marriage in 1965 to an officer of the Indian Revenue Services. She continued her association with Kashmir through the years, visiting her father's home each year and lived again in the state, once her husband was posted as Commissioner Income Tax with J&K under his jurisdiction from 1970 to 1985. She served as a social worker and was nominated as a Member of the Delhi Consumer's Forum in the 1990s. She has continued writing as a free lance journalist for various newspapers and magazines and until recently was a columnist for The Tribune.

LEILA SETH was the first woman to top the Bar examinations in London, the first woman judge in the Delhi High Court and the first woman to become chief justice of a state High Court. She was appointed as a judge in 1978 and retired as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh in 1992. She was a member of the 15th Law Commission of India and also one of the three members of the committee set up after the gang rape of Nirbhaya in December 2012 that gave recommendations to the government on amendments to the criminal law. She has authored three books: Her autobiography, On Balance; Talking of Justice: People's Rights in Modern India; and We, the Children of India, a book for children explaining the preamble to the Constitution of India .

Madhav Kaushik, Secretary of Chandigarh Literary Society is a celebrated Hindi writer. Author of 26 books in Hindi some of which have been translated
in other Indian languages and prescribed by different universities at graduation and post-graduation level.  Madhav Kaushik is one of the very few contracted poets of Doordarshan and All India Radio.  He has been conferred with numerous awards including ‘Maha Kavi Surdas Sammaan’ and All India Balraj Sahni Awards.  He was also the former Convenor of the National Sahitya Academy at Delhi.  He was recently conferred with the ‘Shiromani Hindi Sahityakar Puraskaar’ by the Punjab Government.

MADHULIKA LIDDLE is a novelist and award-winning short story writer. Her stories span various genres, including detective, historical, and black humour (her first collection of black humour stories is My Lawfully Wedded Husband and Other Stories). She is, however, best-known as the author of the Muzaffar Jang series, about a 17th century Mughal detective who debuted in The Englishman’s Cameo, and whose latest appearance is in Crimson City, released earlier this year. Madhulika lives in Delhi and enjoys reading, travelling, and old cinema.

MAHESH RAO was born and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. His short fiction has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, The Baffler, Prairie Schooner and Elle. His debut novel, ‘The Smoke Is Rising’, won the Tata First Book Award for fiction and was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Crossword Prize. 'One Point Two Billion', his collection of short stories, is due to be published in October 2015.

MALAVIKA KARLEKAR is Co-editor, Indian Journal of Gender Studies and Curator, Re-presenting Indian Women - A Visual Documentary 1875-1947, both at Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi. She has been educated at the Universities of Delhi and Oxford, and since 2001, has been designing and curating an annual calendar based on archival photographs of Indian women. Malavika writes a regular column focusing on archival images, memoirs and travelogues for The Telegraph (Kolkata) and her recent books are Re-visioning the Past – Early Photography in Bengal (2005), Visualizing Indian Women (2005), Visual Histories – Photography in the Popular Imagination (2013) and Memories of Belonging – Images from the Colony and Beyond (2015).

MRIDULA KOSHY's novel ‘Not Only the Things That Have Happened’ (Harper Collins India) was shortlisted for the 2013 Crossword Book Award. Her short story collection, ‘If It Is Sweet’ (Tranquebar Press and Brass Monkey Australia) won the 2009 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and was shortlisted for the 2009 Vodafone Crossword Book Award. ‘Bicycle Dreaming’ is her forthcoming work, due to be published soon.She lives in New Delhi with her poet-schoolteacher partner and three exceptionally wonderful children.

MUNNA DHIMA Nwas born and brought up in Chandigarh and started his career working in television and theatre with Chandigarh based organization CEVA and later worked with celebrated theater personality G.S.Chani. Vishal Bhardwaj gave him his first break as a lyricst for Bollywood and since then, he has worked with various music composers. His has written lyrics for songs in Ramji London Waley, U me aur hum, Nishabad, Haal e Dil, One Two Three, Aage se right, Jumbo, ToonpurKa Superhero, Delhi Belly, Fukrey, Purani Jeans &Bhootnath Returns.

NAMAN P. AHUJA is Professor of Indian Art and Architecture at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and is a widely published authority on the history and aesthetics of Indian art and design. He has held curatorial charge of Indian sculpture at the British Museum apart from curating several exhibitions of both classical and modern Indian art in India and internationally. Previously, as Fellow at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, he authored a comprehensive catalogue of their ancient Indian collections and with Fellowship at the Getty Institute, he explored the multicultural nature of the art of ‘Gandhara’. He is also the Editor of Marg, India’s leading quarterly magazine and journal on the arts.

NANDITA C PURI  was born in Kolkata and has worked as a writer and journalist with several newspapers like The Telegraph, The Statesman, The Times Of India, and others. She has also worked as a broadcast journalist for All India Radio and has dabbled in screenwriting for television and feature films. She has authored a collection of short stories, Nine on Nine; Om Puri’s biography, Unlikely Hero; and a novel, Two Worlds. Nine On Nine has gone into its more than 15th edition and has also been translated in German at the 2006 Frankfurt Book Fair. Besides one of the stories has also been included in the SahetyaAkademi Anthology of Indian writers

NAYANTARA SAHGAL is the author of 9 novels, a collection of short stories, 6 non-fiction works, and wide-ranging literary and political commentary. She has received the SahityaAkademi Award, the Sinclair Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Eurasia). She is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has held Fellowships in the USA at the Bunting Institute, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the National Humanities Center. She was Vice President of the People's Union for Civil Liberties during the 1980's, and in 1990-91 served as Chair (Eurasia) on the jury of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. In 1997 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Leeds. She has received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Wellesley College, Massachusetts in 2003, and from Woodstock School, Mussoorie in 2004. In 2009 she received Zee TV's AwadhSamman. She lives in Dehra Dun and has been awarded the DoonRatna.

NEENA WAGH is a freelance writer, documentary maker, poetess , and a  Social Activist. She’s has translated works of authors like Fatima Bhutto and Sonia Fulero in Hindi, with Penguin Publications. She has adapted two plays in Hindi : ”The Bodhi Katha” and “BebekaChamba” (adapted from The House of Bernarda Alba by the famous Spanish Playwright, Lorca). “BebekaChamba” has been selected by the SahityaNatya Academy, for theatre with far reaching Social Impact. She was brought up in Allahabad, with Maha Devi Verma as her neighbour, whose deep influence also shows up in MsWaghs poetry and writings. Ms. Waghepitomises the modern Indian Woman, who has balanced her passion for writing and raising two beautiful children (one of them on the autism spectrum) with splendid ease.

NIGHAT GANDHI is a writer, mother, Sufi wanderer, and mentalhealth counsellor. Born a Muslim and now a practicing Buddhist, she spent her formative years in Dhaka and Karachi, and has subsequently spent many years in India and the UnitedStates. She consciously identifies as a citizen of South Asia to transcendlimitations imposed by narrow nationalisms. She is the author ofGhalib at Dusk and Other Stories (Westland, 2009) and What I amToday, I Won’t Remain Tomorrow: Conversations With Survivors of Abuse(Yoda Press, 2010). Her memoir/travelogue entitled Alternative Realities: Love in the Lives of Muslim Women waspublished in 2013.

Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay dropped college and picked up journalism as a career in the early 1980s. He worked and wrote for several newspapers and magazines like The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Outlook and The Statesman. He currently also presents a weekly show – “A Page From History” – on LokSabha TV which showcases historical debates and issues.  His first book, The Demolition: India At The Crossroads was published in 1994 and in 2013 he wrote the critically acclaimed best seller, NarendraModi: The Man, The Times, which was published by Westland/ TRANQUEBAR. NilanjanMukhopadhyay is also a playwright and one of his plays, has been performed by a leading amateur theatre group. He lives on the edge of Delhi, bordering Uttar Pradesh.  In his latest book ‘Sikhs: The Untold Agony Of 1984’, published in October this year, NilanjanMukhopadhyay walks us through one of the most shameful episodes of sectarian violence in post Independent India. Poignant, raw and most importantly, macabre, the personal histories in the book reveal how even after three decades, a community continues to battle for its identity in its own country.

PAYAL DHAR writes fiction for children and young adults, and has several books under her belt. For the past sixteen years, Payal has been an academic copy-editor and a freelance writer on technology, games, sport, books, writing and travel. She has also done live online coverage of cricket and football and in 2002 was part of a team that covered the football World Cup for a visually-impaired audience. Payal has written six young adult novels and has also co-edited a unique Indo-Australian collaborative anthology of feminist speculative fiction for young adults. Payal was also on the jury of the 2014 Crossword Award for Children’s Writing.

PRACHAND PRAVEER is known for his first Hindi novel 'AlpahariGrihatyagi: IIT se pahle,' It was published by Harper Hindi (an imprint of Harper Collins) in 2010.  In his professional career, he has worked with trading corporation, business research firm and risk analytics company. Born and raised in Munger, Bihar; he did B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from IIT Delhi in 2005 and lives in Delhi. His second Hindi novel 'JaanaNahinDil Se Door' is scheduled to be released in November 2015. He is now writing on Aesthetics of World Cinema and Indian Classical Philosophy.

PUNEETINDER KAUR SIDHU- Writer, content developer, foodie, but mostly wanderer extraordinaire, PuneetinderKaurSidhu quotes Lao Tzu to best describe herself as a traveller with no fixed plans and no intention of arriving. She is the author of a fun read ‘Adrift: A Junket Junkie in Europe’ and blogs at ‘Cutting Loose’. She has been a travel and food columnist with Hindustan Times, a contributor for The Tribune & Huffington Post, and authors the Times Food Guide for Chandigarh. She has written nearly a dozen travel guides for Lonely Planet and a couple for the Times of India.

Puneet Kapoor is a medical doctor, currently working as a medical tourism consultant.  She is an MBBS, MD in Anaesthesiology& an MBA in Healthcare and has worked in the past as an Assistant Professor in department Anaesthesia and Intensive care at GMCH – sector 32, and later as Associate Professor at Dr H S J institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Panjab University. During her tenure at Panjab University, she also served as a guest faculty at University Institute of Applied Management Sciences for the course of Hospital Management. Her keen interest in reading drove her to be an active member of CLS.

RATNA VIRA RatnaVira holds a masters degree from the London School of Economics in Political Science, as well as a masters in English Literature from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. She also holds an MBA. She is the daughter of senior journalist, Nalini Singh, and SPN Singh. Ratna juggles her corporate career with her writing and love of art. She lives in Gurgaon with her daughter and son, where she is at work on her second novel. Ratna has spoken at leading universities, international business schools, corporate occasions and been part of several panels. Her first novel Daughter by Court Order (the story of a woman fighting against power, money, deceit and treachery) was published in 2014 (Fingerprint publishings) and has been a bestseller since.

RAVI SUBRAMANIAN An alumnus of IIM Bengaluru, Ravi has spent two decades working with global banks in India. Four of Ravi’s seven bestselling titles have been award winners. ‘If God Was a Banker’ won the Golden Quill Readers’ Choice Award. He won the Economist Crossword Book Award in 2012 for ‘The Incredible Banker’, the Crossword Book Award in 2013 for ‘The Bankster’ and more recently in 2014 for his thriller ‘Bankerupt’. His latest work, ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’, is Ravi’s first book on romantic intrigue. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini, and daughter, Anusha.

RAVINDER SINGH Having spent most of his life in Burla, western Odisha, Ravinder is currently based in Gurgaon. An MBA from ISB, Ravinder’s eight-year-long IT career started with Infosys and ended at Microsoft when one fine day he had an epiphany that writing books is more interesting than writing project plans. He is now a full time writer and has also started a publishing venture called Black Ink, to publish debut authors.He has written bestselling novels including ‘I Too Had a Love Story’, ‘Can Love Happen Twice’, ‘Like it happened Yesterday’ and ‘Your Dreams are Mine Now’. His latest book "Tell me a story" was published in July this year.

RENANA JHABVALA educated in Delhi University & Harvard University in Mathematics and Yale University in Economics, she joined SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association - a trade union of 1.7 million members of women in the informal economy) in 1978 and is presently President, SEWA Bharat. She was awarded a Padma Shri Award in the year 1990. She is one of the founders and present Chair of WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment and Organizing) based at Harvard University, USA.  She has also been nominated as Chancellor Gandhigram Rural Institute (deemed university). She is known for her writings of issues of women in the informal economy and has authored various books on the topic.

RISHI VOHRA relocated back to Mumbai after completing a Green MBA from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law, prior to which he had an extensive career in the Indian Entertainment Industry. His debut novel Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai was a bestseller and awarded a special mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. His short story ‘The Mysterious Couple’, was selected by SudhaMurty for her anthology ‘Something Happened on the Way to Heaven’, published by Penguin Books. ‘HiFi in Bollywood’ is his second novel. He writes for delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).

SANDIP ROY He is a senior editor with Firstpost, in Indiaand blogs for the Huffington Post. He has been a longtime commentator for National Public Radio in the US and his journalistic work has appeared in The New York Times, Guardian, Salon, India Abroad, The Independent and other publications.Sandip has won several awards for journalism and has contributed to various anthologies including Storywallah!, Contours of the Heart, Because I Have a Voice: Queer Politics in India, Out! Stories from the New Queer India, New California Writing 2011 and The Phobic and the Erotic: The Politics of Sexualities in Contemporary India. He is currently living in Kolkata and ‘Don't Let Him Know’ (published in 2015) is his first novel.

Saguna Jain is a communication specialist and a consultant for business development, event management, branding and editorial content for media houses. She has, in the past, done work in various fields that require skills in both communication as well as in administration and management. She has been teaching since 1994 in a variety of institutions like Panjab University, the International Polytechnic for Women and the DAV College. She graduated from Delhi University majoring in English and later did her Masters in Mass Communication from Panjab University with a gold medal to her credit. She is a core member of both Chandigarh Literary Society as well as Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. She also runs her own company called Fundamentals Consultancy Group.

DR SHARAD SINGH is a well known Hindi writer, born in 1963 andhas more than 30 books to her credit on topics ranging from women empowerment, environment, history, tribal life and religious writings. She is an  expert of Indian history and culture and has done her PhD on ‘sculptures of khajuraho’. Her remarkable novels include ‘PichlePanne Ki Auretin’, ‘Pachkauri’, ‘Kasbai Simon’. She has also written many collections of short stories, written script for many tv documentaries, Radio serials and has penned various plays. Apart from these, she writes many regular columns in Hindi newspapers, blogs and magazines. She has been awarded by many state governments for her contribution to Hindi literature and is the recipient of the prestigious ‘GovindBallabh Pant national award’. She is the Excetive Editor of Hindi magazine ‘Saraswati’.

SimranGrewal has a doctorate in history and enjoys reading and  dabbling in writing. Passion for the written word has translated into her being a founder member of two book clubs in Chandigarh. Social work is close to my heart. She regularly volunteers with a city based NGO, Sahayta. Mentoring and being engaged in various charitable causes gives her immense satisfaction. She also conducts communication skills classes in a grooming program run by a friend. To be inspired by and imbibe positive ethics for self growth and the society is what she aspires for.

SOHAILA KAPUR is a New Delhi based journalist, playwright, TV anchor & producer, theatre producer, actor & director. She has authored a sociological study of esoteric rites titled ‘Witchcraft In Western India’ and has written some 100 articles for mainstream papers. As an actor she has worked in several theatrical productions, 20 television serials, an award winning National Geographic Channel documentary, 3 feature films (one of them a National Award winning production) and as a director, her plays have traveled to three continents. Sohaila has been part of the expert committee for the Ministry of Culture’s Production Grants and is also a judge for the National Television Awards. She has been awarded the Nat Samrat Best Actor Award and the Art Karat Women of Substance Award for 2013. She currently works as an anchor, producer, for LokSabha TV.

SUDHIR MISHRA is an Indian film director and screenwriter known for directing critically acclaimed films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharavi and Chameli.  Mishra has had a 33-year career and his work has been recognised by the Government of India. He has received three National Awards from the President of India, as well as Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government (equivalent to knighthood). He was one of the pioneers of the alternative independent cinema movement in India in the 1980s and he is one of the few directors from that era who has still managed to remain contemporary.

Dr SUMITA MISRA Born and brought up in Lucknow, she completed her Masters in Economics from Lucknow University and was selected in the Indian Administrative Service in 1990 in Haryana Cadre.  Poetry, both in English and Urdu/Hind has been an abiding love. Her poems have been published in leading popular and literary journals.Her first book of poetry ‘A Life of Light’ was published in 2011 with a foreword by late Sh. Khushwant Singh, the famous author and columnist.   The book has been well received and is now in its third reprint. The language and sensibilities of her hometown Lucknow surfaced in her second book of poems, in Urdu and Hindi ‘Zara Si Dhoop’ which was published in 2013 to popular and critical acclaim.  She is also the Founder Chairperson of the Chandigarh Literary Society and the Festival Director for Literati – the Chandigarh Litfest organized ever year in November by the Chandigarh Literary Society.She is currently posted as Principal Secretary, Departments of Tourism and Science & Technology, Government of Haryana. Travel, environmental protection, gender concerns and photography are other interests. Her next books ‘Petrichor& other Poems’ and ‘AndekheKhwaab’ are ripe for publication, hopefully in early 2016.She lives in Chandigarh with her husband Paramjeit and two college going daughters

SUPARNA-SARASWATI PURI Learning and educating on a daily basis is what I practice under the tutelage of my masters, 8 year old niece, Lavanya-AditiPuri and 4 year old nephew, Imaad Mohan Puri. That’s one steady profession I have taken up! Teaching remains a constant passion and 1994 onwards, I have returned to classrooms at schools, colleges and universities. My administrative skills and innovative temperament were tested from 2008 till 2010 when I served as Dean (Academics) at Chikara University’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism. As an independent writer, am currently, engaged in doing special stories and features for Harmony- Celebrate Age ( My experience with print media includes working with The Tribune (as an Art Reviewer) and Hindustan Time and a bi monthly columnist with Daily Post. Travel, gardening, music, culinary exploration, delivering talks for the radio and reading are my leisurely pursuits.

TAVLEEN SINGH is a graduate of St. Bede's College, Shimla and started her career with a reporting job at the Evening Mail, Slough (England). Singh returned to India in 1974 to work with The Statesman as a reporter. She joined The Telegraph as a Special Correspondent in 1982. She also served as South Asia correspondent of the Sunday Times, London in 1985 and 1987.  Subsequently she became a freelancer and started writing for India Today and The Indian Express. In this period Tavleen has covered elections, wars, ethnic conflicts and other events of importance in South Asia in print and on television.  In 1997 she anchored Ek Din, EkJeevan for Star Plus. Later, she anchored Two's Company for Doordarshan, Dateline India for the BBC and Indianama in Hind & India Inc in English for NDTV. A regular columnist she has authored four books - Kashmir: a tragedy of errors, Lollipop Street: why India will survive her politicians and Political and Incorrect. The latest 'Durbar' came out in 2012 and went on to become a runaway bestseller.

TEESTA SETALVAD is a senior journalist, who has worked with The Daily &The Indian Express; The Business India and many other publications since 1983. In 1993, along with colleague-husband Javed Anand, she founded Sabrang Communications, which published Communalism Combat. Setalvad is well recognised for her analysis and coverage of social violence against marginalised sections and has received the ‘Padma Shri’ award from the President of India for Service in Public Affairs in Maharashtra. She is also an educationist working on issues related to pluralism and democratic values in the curriculum especially related to the teaching of history and social studies through ‘KHOJ Education for a Plural India’ programme. Her writings can be read in the archives section of In 2015, Tullika Books published Beyond Doubt A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination, edited by Teesta Setalvad.

TISHANI DOSHI was born in Chennai and displayed a proclivity for performance at an early age. She choreographed ABBA’s “The Winner Takes it All” for a high school dance competition, which possibly led to her pursuing a career in poetry and dance later in life. She received a Masters in writing from Johns Hopkins University in America, and worked in advertising in London before returning to India in 2001. She has published five books of poetry and fiction, the most recent of which are Fountainville, and The Adulterous Citizen. Her debut novel, The Pleasure Seekers, was shortlisted for the Hindu Literary Prize and long-listed for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Vandana Shukla writes on art, music, literature and gender issues. She is presently Asst. Editor with The Tribune. She has worked with The Times of India, for close to ten years as art critic and features writer at Chandigarh. Her long conversations with eminent Indian artists have been video documented by Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh, which include Akbar Padamsee, AnjolieElaMenon, AtulDodiya, ManjunathKamath, KrishenKhanna, Eberhard Fischer, Ina Puri, SudarshanShetty et al. She was awarded Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University on her multidisciplinary work on the history of the Partition of India and the literature produced on the theme in Hindi, English, Urdu and Punjabi. She has translated cult works of Hindi poets into English like arivanshRai Bachchan’s Madhushala and Jaishankar Prasad’s Kamayani. She is also a SangeetVisharad. In the process, poetry happens to her.

VIJAI VARDHAN is a graduate and post-graduate in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University.  In the year 1985, he joined the Indian Administrative Service and was allocated the Haryana cadre.  In his distinguished career, VijaiVardhan has held important assignments like Secretary to Governor of Haryana; Chairman, Haryana Tourism Corporation; Chairman, Haryana State Pollution Control Board; Principal Secretary Tourism & Renewable Energy Departments; Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad, Municipal Commissioner Faridabad and Administrator HUDA, Gurgaon.VijaiVardhan is drawn to the mystic and has a deep and abiding interest in Sufism, Confucianism and Taoism. He has ‘authored five books on varying topics covering history, mysticism, Sprituality and Sufi Haiku Poetry: 'Kurukshetra- Timeless Sanctity'; ‘Pinjore – The Garden of Paradise’; 'Beyond the Great Beyon’d; 'Ibadat - The Breath of My Soul' and a collection of monographs titled ‘Buddha’s Trail in Haryana’, ‘The Magnificent Monuments of Narnaul’ and ‘RakhiGarhi Rediscovered’.VijaiVardhan has contributed to the preservation of our heritage with the Pinjore Heritage Festival and by contributing to restoration of the ancient Mata Mansa Devi Temple at Panchkula (near Chandigarh) and the Mughal Gardens of Pinjore.VijaiVardhan is presently posted as Additional Chief Secretary, departments of Higher Education, Cultural Affairs, Archaeology & Museums and Archives, Government of Haryana at Chandigarh.

VINITA DAWRA NANGIA She is an Associate Editor, Author and Columnist with The Times of India. She is the Director of the prestigious ‘Write India’, a project she recently conceptualized and launched for TOI with 11 of the country’s leading authors, to discover the country’s next generation of writers. With over two decades of experience in Lifestyle and Features Journalism, Vinita specializes in society, relationships and life commentary. Vinita launched Page 3 and has also been a pioneering fashion journalist and a regular on talk circuits. She writes a weekly column in The Times of India -- O-zone, on Contemporary Living and Relationships, and has authored three books.

VIVEK ATRAY is an IAS officer, an Inspirational Speaker and a  prolific writer with a flair for literary expression. His two novels "Move on Bunny” and "Dubeyji Bounces Back" have been highly successful. Over a hundred of his articles and ‘Middles’ have been published in The Tribune, The Times of India, the Hindustan Time and the Indian Express. He is an acclaimed orator and has delivered a TEDx talk on the "Ingredients for being an all-rounder in life", which became quite popular. Having excelled in the fields of Investment Promotion, IT, PR, Technical Education and Tourism, he has won much acclaim for his role in developing the IT Park. He also organises the annual All India JP Atray Memorial Cricket Tournament, is the President of the Vibrant Networking Forum, a founder member of the Chandigarh Literary Society and the co-Convenor of the Chandigarh Chapter of INTACH.

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