Vikram Seth, William Dalrymple To Speak at Lit Live

October 31, 2011 7:55 am by

William Dalrymple.

Faced with the looming A-list roster of the Goa ThinkFest this weekend and the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival in January, the organisers of Mumbai’s Literature Live festival perhaps felt it necessary to up their game for its second year. This year’s speaker schedule includes a smattering of international biggies (some of whom are also scheduled to speak at ThinkFest) such as Thomas Friedman, William Dalrymple, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Vikram Seth, as well as festival staples like Shashi Tharoor, Shobhaa De, Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat and Jerry Pinto. To be held at the National Centre for the Performing Arts from Thursday, November 3 to Sunday, November 6, the programming will also deviate from a standard lecture/panel format to include accompanying musical performances. Thus Dalrymple will read from The Last Mughal to the accompaniment of vocalist Vidya Shah who will sing ghazals from the era while British writer and publisher Neil Astley will read his poems in tandem with a cello and bansuri performance.

If you’re able to skip work, we suggest you attend the following: Shashi Tharoor and William Dalrymple on genius and the “other 99 per cent” who aren’t quite as smart as them (Friday, November 4 at 11am); a reading by reclusive writer Vikram Seth of his new collection of poems The Rivered Earth (Friday, November 4 at 6.45pm); Open magazine’s controversy-courting writer Hartosh Singh Bal, Penguin Canada’s controversy-courting former president and now author David Davidar, Mark Tully, Santosh Desai and Farrukh Dhondy on whether foreign writers are given undue importance (too bad they didn’t enlist Dalrymple to face off against Bal; Saturday, November 5 at 12.15pm); Shobhaa De, Chetan Bhagat, Jerry Pinto and Dhondy on taking liberties with the English language (Saturday, November 5 at 5.15pm); and Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author Gurcharan Das and Tata Son’s executive director R. Gopalakrishnan on the Indian approach to innovation (Sunday, November 6 at 6.45pm). For those who prefer to hear just Mukherjee, the author will also speak about his excellent prize-winning exploration of cancer The Emperor of All Maladies earlier that day at 4pm.

All events will be held at either the Tata Theatre (seating capacity of about a 1,000) or the Experimental Theatre (seating capacity of 300), where admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

To see the full schedule, visit