NRI Pulse


Over 60 writers, and poets to feature at IAAC Literary Festival this weekend

New York, NY, November 16, 2023: The literary world is set to witness a grand convergence of intellect and creativity at the Indo-American Arts Council’s (IAAC) 2023 Literary Festival, slated for November 18th and 19th at the prestigious Conrad New York Downtown. With a stellar lineup of over 60 writers and poets, this event is poised to be the largest gathering of its kind in North America.

This year’s Literary Festival promises to be an extraordinary celebration of literature, culture, and intellectual discourse, aptly dubbed a Renaissance Weekend. The Conrad New York Downtown will serve as the vibrant backdrop for this literary extravaganza, drawing together an eclectic mix of thought leaders, authors, and literary enthusiasts.

A highlight of the festival will be the presence of Jose Thomas, a trailblazer and the recipient of the IAAC’s 2023 Trail Blazer Award. Thomas will engage the audience in a discussion about his biography titled ‘By Choice,’ offering insights into his remarkable journey as a writer. The festival will also feature Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri, National Book Award finalist Sarah Thankam Mathews, Grammy-nominated artist, humanitarian, and author Chandrika Tandon, and the accomplished actor and Lambda Literary Award winner, Maulik Pancholy, among many other luminaries from the literary world.

In keeping with its tradition, IAAC will host a live Poetry Panel led by poetry curator Dr. Ravi Shankar. The Prabha Khaitan Foundation will also be co-presenting two sessions, adding another layer of depth to an already diverse and engaging program.

What sets this Literary Festival apart is its commitment to accessibility. The event is free to the public, ensuring that literature and intellectual exchange are made available to all. The Conrad New York Downtown, a luxurious setting synonymous with sophistication, will provide the perfect backdrop for these enriching discussions and presentations.

“We believe that the IAAC Literary Festival is not just a gathering of words, but a convergence of worlds. It’s a celebration of the totality of voices and cultures that bridge continents, even as it reflects an authentic Indo-American experience,” stated Rakesh Kaul, Vice Chairman, IAAC.

“As the Literary Festival Director, my passion is to weave stories and conversations that not only inspire but also highlight the rich fabric of human experiences,” said Preethi Urs, Literary Festival Director.

IAAC Board Member Yakub Mathew added, “We proudly welcome the participation of respected Prabha Khaitan Foundation, whose collaboration will allow our Literary Festival to reach new pinnacles.”

Festival Schedule for Saturday, November 18:

11.00 AM – 11.50 AM:

  • ‘The Book Of Desire’ author Meena Kandasamy in conversation with writer Nimmi Gowrinathan.
  • ‘All This Could be Different’ author Sarah Thankam Mathews in conversation with author Mallika Rao.
  • ‘Stellar Singularity’ author Elizebeth Varghese and NASA Chief technologist A.C. Charania in conversation with Joya Dass.

12.00 PM – 12.50 PM:

  • ‘How Prime Ministers Decide’ author Neerja Chowdhury in conversation with Suhel Seth.
  • ‘Identity’s Last Secret’ author Makarand R. Paranjape in conversation with Sthaneshwar Timalsina.
  • ‘Colorful Palate’ cookbook author Raj Tawney in conversation with IAAC Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo.

2.00 PM – 2.50 PM:

  • ‘The East Indian’ author Brinda Charry with ABC Reporter turned author Geetika Rudra in conversation with Sayu Bhojwani.
  • Teri Degler discusses her book ‘Gopi Krishna-A Biography’ with Yoga teacher and author Eddie Stern.
  • ‘India in Fashion’ author Dr. Vandana Bhandari in conversation with Prof. Preeti Gopinath.

3.00 PM – 3.50 PM:

  • ‘Good Innings’ author Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan and Vandana Saxena Poria in conversation with Filmmaker Ritesh Batra.
  • ‘A Small Sacrifice For An Enormous Happiness’ author Jai Chakrabarti in conversation with author A.N. Phiroze.
  • Chief, Cardiothoracic Centre, AIIMS, Dr. Balram Bhargava presents ‘The Making of Covaxin – The Inside Story’.

4.00 PM – 4.50 PM:

  • Usha Uthup presents her life story, “The Swinging Singing Saree.”
  • Subhash Kak in conversation with IAAC Vice Chairman Rakesh Kaul.
  • Poetry Reading moderated by Dr. Ravi Shankar.

5.00 PM – 5.50 PM:

  • Jose Thomas in conversation with Sree Sreenivasan.
  • John Guy in conversation with Josheen Oberoi.
  • Poetry Reading moderated by Dr. Ravi Shankar with various poets.

Festival Schedule for Sunday, November 19:

11.00 AM – 11.50 AM:

  • ‘The Book of Everlasting Things’ author Aanchal Malhotra and ‘Hyderabad: Book 2 of The Partition Trilogy’ author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar in conversation with author Kamini Dandapani.
  • ‘The Dream Builders’ author Oindrila Mukherjee and ‘Woman of An Uncertain Age’ author Priya Malhotra moderated by Makarand R. Paranjape.

12.00 PM – 12.50 PM:

  • ‘Death of a Lesser God’ author Vaseem Khan in conversation with writer Nev March.
  • ‘Nikhil Out Loud’ author Maulik Pancholy and ‘The Sea Elephants’ author Shastri Akella in conversation with writer Jennifer Acker.
  • Grammy-nominated artist Chandrika Tandon in conversation with Melay Araya.

1.00 PM – 2.00 PM:

  • ‘The Teaching of Kathakali in Australia: Mirroring the Master’ author Arjun Raina in conversation with IAAC Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo.
  • ‘Bhali Ladkiyan, Buri Ladkiyan (Hindi)’ author Anu Singh Choudhary in conversation with author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.
  • ‘My Cousin Max’ author Julia Regul Singh in conversation with author Priya Kumari.

For more information and ticket details, visit IAAC Literary Festival.

The Renaissance Weekend concludes with the Indo-American Arts Council’s Annual Benefit Gala on Sunday, November 19, from 6 pm onwards at the Conrad New York Downtown. Tickets and tables for the gala can be purchased at IAAC Annual Gala 2023.

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