Published: 10th April 2020
Manjul Publishing House's online literary festival goes live on Insta tomorrow and here's what is in store
Authors like Devdutt Pattanaik, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and many others will engage bookworms and fans alike through their sessions during this two-day festival that is being organised by Manjul
This lockdown has us all rediscovering the love for books and Manjul Publishing House, best known for translating the Harry Potter series into Hindi, is helping us fall in love with books even more by organising the Manjul Online Literary Festival which starts tomorrow! An enviable line-up of authors including Devdutt Pattanaik, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Allan and Barbara Pease and many more are a part of this virtual festival which will be streaming on Manjul Publishing House's eponymous Instagram handle. "Though there is a lull in the publishing world — no one is publishing or purchasing physical books — book lovers are still yearning for books and conversations around them, especially since they have more time on their hands. This festival is dedicated to these book lovers," says Samantak Bhadra, Head, Marketing and Promotions, Amaryllis, an imprint of Manjul Publishing House.
Some of their books | (Pic: Manjul Publishing House and Amaryllis)
How it all began
Authors of the Bhopal-based Manjul Publishing House, known for translating regional language books into English and vice versa, and the authors of its imprint Amaryllis, that publishes fiction and non-fiction works of writers from across the globe, both will be taking sessions during this online festival which was conceived and organised in three weeks flat. Apart from one-on-one sessions and discussions between two authors, they also have workshops like — ‘Develop your writing muscles: Writing stories while staying at home’ and ‘Building emotional strength during the lockdown’. "So even in your pyjamas, you can still enjoy the quintessential experience of a literary festival. You can even ask questions towards the end of the session," shares Samantak. Not just this, just like every literary festival has book stalls, all the ebook links to the books of authors participating in the festival will be available on the publishing house's website.
Depending on how the festival goes, they will plan on other online engagements
Patchy network is the biggest bottleneck that these kinds of online sessions face so to combat this, the whole team at Manjul and Amaryllis have been coordinating with authors to conduct multiple trial runs. They have even shared with every author a detailed instruction manual as to how to go live and what to do in case they face difficulties. Apart from this, the team is available to clear any doubts that they might have.
Elephant in the room
Coronavirus is what everyone is talking about, so while coming up with the topics, the publishing house consciously chose to stay away from all the negativity that is floating around. But there are sessions like ‘Mental health of teenagers and children in current times’ by twin authors Navya and Bhavya which still address the pandemic at hand. "There is so much negativity around already that we are all saturated. So we wanted to focus on positive aspects and how we can get through this," informs Samantak. Along with this, there are a few Hindi-language sessions as well. "Because we have a diverse audience and we are predominantly known to publish in regional languages, we wanted to experiment with a few Hindi sessions as well," he says.
Andaleeb Wajid | (Pic: Internet)
One such session that really stood out for us was ‘Sisterhood in the unlikeliest of places’ by Bengaluru-based author Andaleeb Wajid. So we asked the author herself, who is best known for books like Asmara's Summer and More Than Just Biryani, how she is dealing with these unlikeliest times we are in now. She answers, "I am honouring my commitments and completely focusing on my writing," and adds, "In times like these when we are all sitting inside our homes, everyone must take this time to express themselves — either by writing or ranting on social media — so that we don't feel anxious."