City Scripts

Celebrating writing in and about the city

City writing has gained popularity in the mainstream space in India over the last two decades across various genres. Aman Sethi’s A Free Man, Naresh Fernandes’ City Adrift and Vivek Shanbhag’s Ooru Bhanga are some examples of narratives that archive the moments, people and practices that make and unmake a city over the years. With the city increasingly becoming the locus of a complex landscape of claims, writing about the city has become akin to a political act. To write about the city is to stake a right to represent, re-imagine and re-tell a city’s stories through personal prisms.

 

It is with such a belief in mind that IIHS, with its commitment to catalysing discourse around urban issues in the global south, has envisaged the CityScripts festival – a three-day celebration of city writings. It brings together novelists, journalists, activists, thinkers, architects, planners, poets, bloggers and the lay community, and engages with the experience of living in Indian cities by writing about it in different genres. Through a series of readings, conversations, one-on-one author interactions and panel discussions, the festival hopes to centre-stage books, writings, writers and commentators on cities.

Over 300 people attended the first edition, which was held between 19 and 21 February 2016. The three days featured moderated panel discussions around city histories, activism in cities, gender and cities, urban reportage in India, and cities and cinema; a master class on writing; conversations with authors on their books; storytelling sessions on the city for parents and kids; book readings; the launch of Gautam Bhan’s In The Public’s Interest; film screenings; and one-on-one author interactions.

 

Speakers:

 

Aarti Mohan

Aarti Mohan is a Co-Founder and Head of Content at Sattva. Aarti brings strong expertise in creating and developing content products centred around social impact and sustainability and reaching diverse audiences. She has a strong understanding of mainstream consumer behavior and the ability to work with multiple stakeholders in the social impact, sustainability, corporate, social sector, and content and communications domain.

Aarti also serves as the Chief Editor of TheAlternative.in, Sattva’s media platform for consumers and corporate employees on sustainable living and social action.

Anjum Hasan

Anjum Hasan is the author of the novels Lunatic in my Head and Neti, Neti, the short story collection Difficult Pleasures, and the book of poems, Street on the Hill. Her new novel, The Cosmopolitans, has just appeared from Hamish Hamilton. Anjum is books editor at The Caravan.

Appupen

I’m Appupen and I make stories, comics and art from the world of Halahala. I have three graphic novels published: ‘Moonward’ (from Blaft, 2009), ‘Legends of Halahala’ and ‘Aspyrus’ (2012, 2014, Harper Collins). Stories are cheaper in Halahala, so I get them there and sell them at a higher rate locally.

Aromar Revi

Aromar Revi is Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS). He is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi and the Law and Management schools of the University of Delhi. An international practitioner, researcher and educator, Aromar has 30 years of interdisciplinary experience in public policy and governance, political economy of reform, development, technology, sustainability and urbanisation.

He has led over 100 major research, consulting and implementation assignments in India and abroad; published 60 peer-reviewed publications and books; and lectured and taught at over 35 of the world’s leading Universities and think tanks across 6 continents. He had the distinction in 2014 of twice addressing the United Nations at the General Assembly’s OWG in New York and at TEDx Palais des Nations in Geneva on sustainable cities. He delivered the first Kapuscinski Development lecture in Africa on a similar theme following a distinguished list of global thought leaders.

Arpita Das

Arpita Das joined publishing in India after completing her Masters in Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. She worked in various editorial positions with diverse publishing houses like HarperCollins India, Sage India and OUP India before starting her own independent publishing house called YODA PRESS in 2004. Between 2009 and 2013 Das ran an indie bookstore called Yodakin in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village, which became a popular hub for readings and book events in the city. Das began teaching students of the MA in Publishing programme at Ambedkar University in 2013 as Adjunct Faculty, and co-founded a self-publishing startup called AuthorsUpFront in early 2014. In the same year, YODA PRESS completed 10 years.

Her writings have been published in Asian Age, Hindustan Times, the Statesman, Business Standard, Mint Lounge, Biblio, OPEN Magazine, Kafila, DOMUS, Timeout Delhi, DailyO and HuffPostIndia. She has also recently become a columnist with Mail Today. In late 2014 she joined IIHS to set up its Word Lab and to systematise its publishing programme. Arpita and her team curate and conduct writing workshops aimed at writers writing across media.

Arshia Sattar

Arshia Sattar works with Ramayana and teaches classical Indian literatures at various institutions in India and abroad. Her translations from the Sanskrit of the Valmiki Ramayana and Tales from the Kathasaritsagara are published as Penguin Classics. She has a Ph.D. from the Department of South Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. She has been a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Hampshire College and a Rockefeller Fellow at Bellagio, Italy. Along with DW Gibson, she founded and runs the Sangam House International Writer’s Residency Program outside Bengaluru.

A R Venkatachalapathy

A R Venkatachalapathy (1967), historian, author and translator, is Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. He has taught at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, the University of Madras and the University of Chicago, and has held research fellowships in Paris, Cambridge, London, and Harvard. During 2011–12, he held the ICCR Chair in Indian Studies at the National University of Singapore. Chalapathy has published widely on the social, cultural and intellectual history of colonial Tamilnadu. Apart from his scholarly writings in English he has written/edited over twenty books in Tamil combining scholarly discipline with literary flair. His publications include In Those Days There Was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History (Yoda Press, 2006), and The Province of the Book: Scholars, Scribes and Scribblers in Colonial Tamilnadu (Permanent Black, 2012).

Danish Sheikh

Danish Sheikh is a writer and lawyer based in Delhi, consulting with the Alternative Law Forum and the International Commission of Jurists. He works on issues relating to LGBT rights, anti-discrimination and the intersections of law and literature and serves as visiting faculty at a number of law schools across the country. He won the Toto Award for Creative Writing in 2016 for a series of short stories on libraries and bibliophilia.

Disha Mullick

Disha Mullick has worked in publishing and media before joining Khabar Lahariya, and has been with the newspaper in a leadership capacity for the past 8 years. She is currently working on sustainability and a new avatar for Khabar Lahariya: expanding what has been an award-wining rural newspaper project to a successful digital media enterprise.

Gautam Bhan

Gautam Bhan teaches urban politics, planning and development at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bengaluru. His writing, research and practice focuses on the politics of poverty in contemporary urban India with a focus on urban displacement, access to affordable housing, and housing policy in India.

Gautam is the co-editor of Because I have a Voice: Queer Politics in India (Yoda Press) and co-author of Swept off the Map: Surviving Eviction and Resettlement in Delhi (Yoda Press). He is Sexualities Series editor at Yoda Press. His writing has appeared frequently in Caravan, India Today, Tehelka, Indian Express, the Hindustan Times and the Times of India. He also writes regularly on Kafila.org. His forthcoming book is entitled In the Public’s Interest: Citizenship, Evictions and Inequality in Contemporary Delhi (Orient Blackswan and University of Georgia Press, 2016).

Harsh Mander

Harsh Mander, writer, human rights worker, columnist, researcher and teacher, works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. His books include ‘Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives’, ‘The Ripped Chest: Public Policy and the Poor in India’, ‘Fear and Forgiveness: The Aftermath of Massacre’, ‘Fractured Freedom: Chronicles from India’s Margins’, ‘Untouchability in Rural India’ (co-authored), ‘Living with Hunger’ and ‘Ash in the Belly: India’s Unfinished Battle against Hunger’. He regularly writes columns for the Hindu, Hindustan Times and the Mint, and contributes frequently to scholarly journals. His stories have been adapted for films, such as Shyam Benegal’s Samar, and Mallika Sarabhai’s dance drama Unsuni.

Indrajit Hazra

Indrajit Hazra is a writer and journalist. He is the author of the novels The Burnt Forehead of Max Saul, The Garden of Earthly Delights and The Bioscope Man, all of them intimately exploring the idea of the city. He has also written Grand Delusions, A Short Biography of Kolkata. He lives in New Delhi.

Jairaj Singh

Jairaj Singh is a New Delhi based writer and journalist. He is the editor of DailyO, India Today’s opinion website. Prior to this, he was the editor of Time Out Delhi and before that the Editor of two papers for the Hindustan Times, HT Edge and Mini.

Kaiwan Mehta

Kaiwan Mehta, born in Mumbai, is a theorist and critic in the fields of visual culture, architecture, and city studies. He is completing his doctorate at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bengaluru, under the aegis of Manipal University; and has now published as well as exhibited his research work and ideas internationally. He authored Alice in Bhuleshwar: Navigating a Mumbai Neighbourhood (Yoda Press. New Delhi, 2009). Since March 2012 he has been the Managing Editor of Domus India (Spenta Multimedia) and is associated with Jnanapravaha (Mumbai) since 2007 where he set up the Art, Criticism and Theory. He has been elected as the Jury Chairman for two consecutive terms (2015–17 and 2017–2019) for the international artists’ residency programme across 11 disciplines at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany. Mehta recently co-curated with Rahul Mehrotra and Ranjit Hoskote the national exhibition on architecture – ‘The State of Architetcure: Practices and Processes in India’ (UDRI, 2016) at the NGMA, Mumbai.

Kalpana Sharma

Kalpana Sharma is an independent journalist, and currently consulting editor with Economic & Political Weekly. In over four decades as a journalist specializing in developmental, environmental and gender issues, she has worked with Himmat Weekly, Indian Express, The Times of India and The Hindu. She is the author of “Rediscovering Dharavi: Stories from Asia’s Largest Slum”.

K T Ravindran

K T Ravindran is the Dean Emeritus, RICS School of Built Environment Amity University, Chairman of the Architectural Heritage Committee of INTACH, Trustee of the Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation and was Member of the Advisory Board for the United Nations Capital Master Plan, New York. He was member of Shri <em>Sivaramakrishnan</em> Committee for locating the new Capital for Andhra Pradesh and is subsequently member of the international Jury for Capital Complex in Amaravati.

He taught urban design for three decades in the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi and is Founder President of the Institute of Urban Designers India. His practice includes design of green-field cities, cultural buildings, memorials, adaptive reuse and Urban Conservation. He has been Chairman of the Delhi Urban Art Commission and his works and research are published in journals and books internationally.

Lawrence Liang

Lawrence Liang is an independent lawyer and researcher who worked with the Alternative Law Forum which he helped co-found. He also moonlights as a film and media scholar and has been an avid comics reader but only recently developed a theoretical interest in comics. He has recently finished a book on libraries and the future of reading and is completing another one on law and justice in Indian cinema. He writes for a number of places including e-flux and Kafila, and has taught and lectured at many universities in India, US and Europe.

Naresh Fernandes

Naresh Fernandes is the editor of Scroll.in, a digital news publication. He is the author of two books about Bombay. His articles have appeared in several anthologies and news publications.

Nisha Abdulla

Nisha Abdulla is a theatre practitioner, writer and professional storyteller. She is a big believer in the power of stories and is always thrilled to find her life converging around stories. As co-founder of Ever After Learning, her expertise lies in crafting original stories with strong messages about appreciating the environment, diversity and inclusion.

Nisha Susan

Nisha Susan is a writer and a founder of the feminist magazine The Ladies Finger. Previously, she co-managed Yahoo Originals, an award-winning long-form reporting and immersive storytelling destination on Yahoo News. She has been Features Editor at Tehelka magazine. She has also published short fiction with Penguin, Zubaan and n+1 magazine.

Paromita Vohra

Paromita Vohra is the award-winning director of landmark Indian documentaries like Unlimited Girls and Q2P among others and writer of the fiction feature Khamosh Pani. She writes widely on feminism, popular culture, film, urban life and desire, including two popular newspaper columns. Her latest project is www.agentsofishq.com, a multi-media digital space about sex, love and desire.

Ravikant

Ravikant is a bilingual historian, writer, and translator. He read, researched, and taught modern Indian and world history in various colleges of Delhi University before joining the Centre’s Sarai programme at its inception in 2000. Ravikant’s collaboratively edited books include Translating Partition: Stories, Essays, Criticism with Tarun Saint (2001);  Deewan e Sarai 01: Media Vimarsh: Hindi Janpad (2002), Deewan e Sarai 02: Shaharnama with Sanjay Sharma (2005).

His recently published essays can be found on the web at Academia.edu,  Kafila,  Rachnakar, Gadyakosh, Janaki Pul, and the Deewan mailing list, which he manages.

Rohan Shivkumar

Rohan Shivkumar is an architect and an urban designer practicing in Mumbai. He is the Deputy Director at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies. His work ranges from architectural and interior design projects, to urban research and consultancy projects on issues concerning housing, public space and sanitation within a private practice and through the KRVIA. He is interested in the exploring the many ways of reading and representing the city. Rohan is the co-editor of the publication on an interdisciplinary research and art collaboration- ‘Project Cinema City’. He also curates film programmes and writes occasionally on his blog ‘Anarchytect’ on cinema and urban issues.

Ruchir Joshi

Ruchir Joshi is a writer, columnist and filmmaker. He is the author of a novel, The Last Jet-Engine Laugh. He edited India’s first anthology of contemporary erotica, Electric Feather: The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories. Moving Parts is a series of dispatches from the irregular landscape of Indian working life and parts of it appear in Granta 109, ‘Work’. Tracing Puppa, part of a series of essays about fathers, memory and growing up, was published in Granta 10. A lot of Joshis’ work, in film, essays and fiction writing has cenred around cities, especially Calcutta, where he lives. This year Joshi is hoping to finish his second novel, set in Calcutta during the Second World War.

Rupleena Bose

Rupleena Bose teaches English Literature at University of Delhi and is pursuing her doctoral research on urban music in Bengal. After hours, she writes fiction and nonfiction films, which have gathered awards and travelled to film festivals across the world. Her directorial film Humour Black is a docu-fiction exploring satire, art and absurdity.

Samar Halarnkar

Samar Halarnkar is editor of Indiaspend.org, a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley and a fellow at the Nieman Foundation, Harvard University. A journalist for 24 years, his last full-time job was Managing Editor of the Hindustan Times. He is the author of two books.

Savita Hiremath

Savita Hiremath has been a journalist since 1997 with stints in ‘Deccan Herald’, ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The New Indian Express’ spread over 11-12 years. She also headed a journalism institute for a year. As a syndicated writer for the US-based sports magazine ‘Bleacher Report’, she wrote on tennis. Her blog, Endlessly Green covers a range of environmental issues with special focus on solid waste management, climate change, and organic urban farming.

Spandan Banerjee

Spandan Banerjee is a National Award winning filmmaker and founder of Overdose Films. For the last 14 years Overdose has remained an independent, alternative art and film space. A few of his films include Beware Dogs, You Don’t Belong, To-Let and English India have travelled all over the world. Beware Dogs premiered at Rotterdam in 2008 calling it the first Indian ‘Rockumentary’ of its style. All his films have a distinct language and have often been compared to jazz in its form.

Srinath Perur

Srinath Perur is the author of the travelogue If It’s Monday It Must Be Madurai and the translator of Ghachar Ghochar.

Subasri Krishnan

Subasri Krishnan has been a filmmaker for more than a decade. She also heads the Media Lab at the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS).

Her documentary films deal with contemporary politics. Her first documentary film ‘Brave New Medium’ on internet censorship in South-­‐East Asia, has been screened at film festivals, both nationally and internationally. The award-­‐winning ‘This or That Particular Person’ looks at the idea of official identity documents, and in that context, the Unique Identity number. The film was adjudged as the Best Short Documentary Film at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), 2013. Her new documentary film ‘What The Fields Remember’ explores ideas of memory, violence and justice through survivors’ narratives of the massacre.

As part of the Media Lab at IIHS, she teaches and curates the Urban Lens film festival. Prior to going to film school, Subasri worked for the academic journal ‘Seminar’.

Suresh Jayaram

Suresh Jayaram is an artist, art historian, arts administrator and curator from Bengaluru.

He is the Founder, Director of Visual Art Collective/1.Shanhtiroad Studio an international artist’s residency and alternative art space in Bengaluru, India. He is currently involved in art practice, urban mapping, archiving, curation and arts education. His keen interest in environmental and urban developmental issues influences his work.

He lives and works in Bengaluru.

Urvashi Butalia

Urvashi Butalia is a publisher and writer. Co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house, she is currently Director of Zubaan, an imprint of Kali. A long term activist in the women’s movement in India, she also writes and publishes widely on issues related to women and gender in India. She has worked on the Partition of India for many years. Among her best known publications are: Speaking Peace: Women’s Voices from Kashmir (edited), Partition: The Long Shadow (edited) and the award-winning history of Partition, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (winner of the Nikkei Asia Award 2003 and the Oral History Book Association Award 2001). In 2011 she was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government for her contribution to women’s publishing and education.

Vidyun Sabhaney

Vidyun Sabhaney is a writer primarily interested in comics and visual narrative, based in New Delhi. Her independent work has been published by Penguin India, Blaft Publications Pvt. Ltd., Zubaan and COMIX.INDIA. She runs Captain Bijli Comics, an independent comics publishing project which aims to develop new content, distribution and dialogue around the form – thus far it has produced two books, with a collection of non-fiction comics titled First Hand: Graphic Non Fiction from India due in 2016, which will be published by Yoda Press.

Vinutha Mallya

Vinutha Mallya is an editor, journalist and publishing-industry consultant based in Bengaluru. She recently co-founded Kaavi Literary Agency, to represent writers and translators of Indian languages. An advisor to the <em>Publishing Next</em> conference in Goa, she is also contributing editor to Publishing Perspectives and a consulting editor to Mapin Publishing. Mallya was a Fellow of the Frankfurt Book Fair Fellowship Programme in 2010.

Vishwajyoti Ghosh

Vishwajyoti Ghosh is an Indian graphic novelist and cartoonist working in the realm of social, educational and political themes.

His is author of the graphic novel ‘Delhi Calm’ (2010). In it Ghosh brings together realistic comic passages with political commentaries and fantastical elements in order to remember a particularly incisive period in more recent Indian history, the state of internal emergency from 1975 to 1977, referred to in India as ‘The Emergency’.

He is one of the principal designers of the Inverted Commas initiative, a communications collective specialsing in social communications also using comics and graphic narratives.

Ghosh lives and works in New Delhi.

Vivek Shanbhag

Vivek Shanbhag writes in Kannada. He has published five short story collections, three novels and two plays, and has edited two anthologies, one of them in English. Vivek’s stories have been translated into English and other Indian languages. Many of his stories have been adapted for the stage, and one of them, ‘Nirvana’, has been made into a short film.

He founded and edited the pioneering Kannada literary journal Desha Kaala for seven years. His critically acclaimed novel, Ghachar Ghochar is just published by HarperCollins India in an English translation. An engineer by training, Vivek currently lives in Bengaluru.

Zac O’Yeah

Zac O’Yeah is the author of popular comic thrillers Hari, a Hero for Hire (2015) described by bestselling novelist Ashok Banker as “one of the best crime novels set in India written by anyone,” and also Mr. Majestic! (2013) and Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan (2010), plus ten other books including a biography of Mahatma Gandhi which was shortlisted for the August Prize as the best Swedish non-fiction book of 2008. He has been translated into several languages. Earlier, he worked in the theatre and music business in Sweden until he retired early, at 25, to come to India. His books range from detective fiction to history and travelogue, and he has also translated Indian literature into Swedish. As a veteran travel writer, he is a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveller magazine, he is also a columnist with The Hindu BusinessLine and an influential literary critic.

The second edition of the IIHS urban writings festival City Scripts–Bengaluru was attended by over 500 people in February 2017. It featured eminent authors, journalists and others involved in writing in and about the city. Topics such as music and movies in the city, the Jallikattu protests in Chennai, media and censorship, and public art were discussed over the three days. Panelists included Shubha Mudgal, CS Lakshmi, Kiran Nagarkar and Baradwaj Rangan. The Tejeshwar Singh Memorial Award for Excellence in Writing on the Urban was instituted this year and awarded to Amrita Shah for her book ‘Ahmedabad: A City in the World’.

 

The first edition of City Scripts–Delhi was held at the India International Centre (IIC) Annexe and the Goethe Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan in March 2017. The three-day event hosted a series of readings, conversations and moderated panel discussions around a range of themes including poetry, violence, cinema, masculinities, reportage and walking in the city. Noted panelists included Ravish Kumar, Kiran Nagarkar, Shahid Amin and Monalisa Changkija, among several others.

 

Speakers:

 

Amrita Shah

Amrita Shah has edited Debonair and Elle and been a contributing editor with The Indian Express. She is the author of Hype, Hypocrisy & Television in Urban India (Vikas, 1997), Vikram Sarabhai-A Life (Penguin-Viking, 2007) and Ahmedabad: A City in the World (Bloomsbury, 2015).

Aneesh Pradhan

Aneesh Pradhan is an acclaimed practitioner of Hindustani music. He has also successfully completed several teaching assignments overseas. He writes frequently for newspapers, journals and other publications in India and abroad. He received an award from the Asiatic Society of Mumbai for his book Hindustani Music in Colonial Bombay.

Arpita Das

Arpita Das joined publishing in India after completing her Masters in Islamic Studies at SOAS, University of London. She worked in various editorial positions with diverse publishing houses like HarperCollins India, Sage India and OUP India before starting her own independent publishing house called YODA PRESS in 2004. Between 2009 and 2013 Das ran an indie bookstore called Yodakin in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village, which became a popular hub for readings and book events in the city. Das began teaching students of the MA in Publishing programme at Ambedkar University in 2013 as Adjunct Faculty, and co-founded a self-publishing startup called AuthorsUpFront in early 2014. In the same year, YODA PRESS completed 10 years.

Her writings have been published in Asian Age, Hindustan Times, the Statesman, Business Standard, Mint Lounge, Biblio, OPEN Magazine, Kafila, DOMUS, Timeout Delhi, DailyO and HuffPostIndia. She has also recently become a columnist with Mail Today. In late 2014 she joined IIHS to set up its Word Lab and to systematise its publishing programme. Arpita and her team curate and conduct writing workshops aimed at writers writing across media.

Arshia Sattar

Arshia Sattar works with Ramayana and teaches classical Indian literatures at various institutions in India and abroad. Her translations from the Sanskrit of the Valmiki Ramayana and Tales from the Kathasaritsagara are published as Penguin Classics. She has a Ph.D. from the Department of South Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. She has been a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Hampshire College and a Rockefeller Fellow at Bellagio, Italy. Along with DW Gibson, she founded and runs the Sangam House International Writer’s Residency Program outside Bengaluru.

A R Venkatachalapathy

A. R. Venkatachalapathy (1967), Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, took his PhD in history from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has taught at Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Tirunelveli, the University of Madras and the University of Chicago, and has held research assignments in Paris, Cambridge, London, and Harvard. He was the ICCR Chair in Indian Studies at the National University of Singapore (2011–12). He was awarded the V.K.R.V. Rao Prize (History, 2007).

Chalapathy has published widely on the social, cultural and intellectual history of colonial Tamilnadu. Apart from his scholarly writings in English he has written/edited over twenty-five books in Tamil combining rigorous scholarly discipline with literary flair. His publications include The Province of the Book: Scholars, Scribes, and Scribblers in Colonial Tamilnadu (Permanent Black, 2012), In Those Days There Was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History (Yoda Press, New Delhi, 2006), (ed.) Chennai, Not Madras (Marg, Mumbai, 2006), (ed.), In the Tracks of the Mahatma: The Making of a Documentary (Orient Longman, Delhi, 2006), (ed.) Love Stands Alone: Selections from Tamil Sangam Poetry (Penguin, 2010), and (ed.) Red Lilies and Frightened Birds: ‘Muttollayiram’ (Penguin, 2011). He is also the translator of Sundara Ramaswamy’s J.J.: Some Jottings (Penguin, 2016).

Aruna Ganesh Ram

Aruna is a performance director, corporate facilitator and founder of Visual Respiration, a performance company committed to designing unique audience experiences. She holds an (MA) in Advanced Theatre Practice from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, United Kingdom. She has a Masters in Marketing & Communications with a focus on brand Management and Public Relations. She is also a graduate in Communication and Design, specialising in design, photography and film. Aruna is interested in engaging with audiences in unique ways and creating multi-sensorial performance experiences.Aruna has been in theatre and performance for the last 15 years. Her work has been part of festivals in India, Singapore and London. Her most recent work, Coloured & Choosing was an immersive experience of Gender through touch, which was part of the Gender Bender Festival in Bengaluru. Her work Memory Recipe which premiered at the Serendipity Arts festival in Goa explores the confluence of food and performance. Her experimance Knock Knock Who’s there engages audiences through participatory self discovery and expression. Aruna is an Aruna is an ATSA (Arts Think South Asia) fellow, focussing on contemporary arts management practices. She is presently the Artistic Director of Visual Respiration.

Amitabh Kumar

Amitabh Kumar is a visual artist based in Bengaluru. In the past, he has worked with the Sarai Media Lab, Delhi, where he researched and made comics, programmed events, designed print media and co-curated an experimental art space. He is a founding member of the Pao Collective, an Indian comics ensemble, and is currently occupied with creating ecosystems for emerging comic book artists in India. Since 2012 he has also been painting murals across the country and is part of an emerging group of graphic artists working in public spaces. Since 2014 he has been Faculty at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and has co-initiated the Art in Transit project with Arzu Mistry, which works extensively across public spaces in Bengaluru, focussing on the emerging Bengaluru Metro Rail Network.

Baradwaj Rangan

Baradwaj Rangan is a film critic and Associate Editor at The Hindu. He won the National Award (Swarna Kamal) for Best Film Critic in 2005. His writings on cinema, music, art, books, travel and humour have been published in various magazines like The Caravan, Open, Tehelka, Biblio, Outlook and The Cricket Monthly. His long-form story on Vikram was featured in The Caravan Book of Profiles, as one of their “twelve definitive profiles.”

 

He has co-written the screenplay for the Tamil rom-com, Kadhal 2 Kalyanam. He has written dialogue and narratives for the dance dramas Krishna and Meghadootam. His short story, The Call, was published in The Indian Quarterly.

 

He teaches a course on cinema at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

 

He has served as a member of the jury at the National Film Awards, and as a member of the selection committee for international films at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.

 

Baradwaj has contributed to various anthologies, the most recent being an essay in Subramaniyapuram: The Tamil Film in English Translation. His first book, Conversations with Mani Ratnam, was published by Penguin in 2012. His second book, Dispatches From the Wall Corner, was published by Westland in 2014.

Bina Paul

Bina Paul, Regional Director, LV Prasad Film &amp; TV Academy, is an alumnus of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune in 1983. She has been working as a film editor for the last 20 years. Bina has worked with many leading filmmakers in India and has won several State and National Awards for Editing. Some of the films she has edited are: Amma Ariyan, Agnisakshi, Janmadinam, Mitr, My Friend, Dance like a Man, In Othello and Daya Dir. She has worked as Senior Editor at the Center for the Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT) for 10 years. She was also the Artistic Director of the International Film Festival of Kerala for thirteen years and was instrumental in making it one of the largest and most popular film festivals in Asia. Bina has served on film juries at numerous festivals including Berlin, Durban, Locarno, Romania and Zanzibar. She has also been involved with teaching at various institutes and is a regular guest faculty at FTII. She has mentored filmmakers at various international forums. Bina has been executive producer and directed documentary films on various issues including women’s sexual and reproductive rights, old age, and various educational campaigns. Currently Vice Chairperson of the Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and Vice President on the NETPAC Executive Board, Bina lives and works in Trivandrum, Kerala.

Bridget White-Kumar

Bridget White-Kumar is a Cookery Book Author, Food Consultant and Culinary Historian. She has authored 7 Recipe books on Anglo-Indian Cuisine. Her area of expertise is in Colonial Anglo-Indian Food and she has invested a lot of effort in reviving old and forgotten dishes of the Colonial British Raj Era. Her 7 Recipe books are a means of preserving for posterity, the very authentic tastes and flavours of Colonial ‘Anglo’ India, besides recording for future generations, the unique heritage of the pioneers of Anglo-Indian Cuisine.

Claire Rao

Claire Rao french national settled in Bengaluru with her family in 2006. After teaching spoken french in Alliance Francaise for 2 years she decided she wanted to give back to society. She started her own NGO Nakshatra Trust that works with underpriviledged children in the city. She became an active citizen as part of We Care for Malleswaram a group campaigning in the city to create awareness around the increasing problem of waste. Last year she joined the Solid Waste Management Round Table and co authored Trashonomics a book to sensitise children on the problem of waste giving simple solutions. She has been felicitated by the Garden City farmer for her effort and she is promoting local organic food. She loves cycling, enjoy spending time in her garden and gifting food saplings to friends and school children. She believes India is the best place to live a zero waste life.

C S Lakshmi

Ambai is a historian and a creative writer who writes about love, relationships, quests and journeys in the Tamil region and elsewhere. Her real name is C S Lakshmi. Dr. C S Lakshmi has been an independent researcher in Women’s Studies for the last thirty-five years. She has a Ph.D from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has several books and articles to her credit. She is currently the director of SPARROW (Sound & Picture Archives for Research on Women). As Director, she was in charge of  translated volumes in Tamil of 12 booklets on women from various walks of life, published by SPARROW. She is at present the series Editor of five volumes of translations of 87 writers from 23 languages of India.

Dipankar

Dipankar is an artist/designer/lawyer based in Bengaluru, interested in exploring the convergence of art & design in fashion, and broken things. He manages Shoonya – Centre for Art and Somatic Practices, one of the only multi-art spaces in Bengaluru. Shoonya hosts many of our city’s young contemporary artists, and events across the many realms of dance, theatre, music, literature & film.

Hamsa Iyer

Hamsa Iyer works as a co-ordinator in the CSR team of Zensar Technologies.She believes in waste management and incorporates various ways to save the planet. When in need of inspiration, Hamsa watches marathon episodes of Captain Planet to recharge her faith in the power of the planet!

Harsh Mander

Harsh Mander, writer, human rights worker, columnist, researcher and teacher, works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children. His books include ‘Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives’, ‘The Ripped Chest: Public Policy and the Poor in India’, ‘Fear and Forgiveness: The Aftermath of Massacre’, ‘Fractured Freedom: Chronicles from India’s Margins’, ‘Untouchability in Rural India’ (co-authored), ‘Living with Hunger’ and ‘Ash in the Belly: India’s Unfinished Battle against Hunger’. He regularly writes columns for the Hindu, Hindustan Times and the Mint, and contributes frequently to scholarly journals. His stories have been adapted for films, such as Shyam Benegal’s Samar, and Mallika Sarabhai’s dance drama Unsuni.

Jenny Pinto

Jenny pinto was a copywriter and ad film director in bombay before she moved to bengaluru where she is now a handpaper maker and lighting designer. she happily dabbles with everything that comes her way but food, travel and writing have remained her whims. In 2015 she published a book of her mother’s recipes (her mother meena ran the popular prithvi theatre cafe in bombay in the 80s) with short stories that were really reminisces of growing up in bombay in the 70s. while she still designs paper lights in her studio on sharjapur road bengaluru, she has spent the last 6 months conceptualising and settling up a sustainable store and cafe in jayanagar which opens in the last week of january 2017.

Karen Coelho

Karen Coelho is an Assistant Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) based in Chennai. She received her Ph.D in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona at Tucson, Arizona, in November 2004. Her work critically explores urban governance and transformations, focusing on shelter policy, urban civil society and collective action, urban ecologies and informal labour.  She teaches courses in History of Development Thought and Qualitative Methods at MIDS, and Urban Studies at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

Manogna Shastry

Manogna Sastry is an astrophysicist, educator, environmentalist and Indologist. Her work in the urban environment space revolves around Bengaluru’s solid waste management sector and consists of active participation in several awareness and sensitisation campaigns, with a focus on segregation at source and home composting. Manogna is a keen gardener and loves to nurture a vegetable garden space at home! Her writings across domains include research papers presented at several conferences and articles that aim to sensitise the urban space to environmentally sound practices.

She is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics and is presently the Chief Operations Officer at the Centre for Fundamental Research and Creative Education.

Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy

Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy is a well known Kannada poet from Mudnakudu village in Chamarajanagar District of Karnataka. Poetry is his passion but he has worked in other genres of literature as well, besides having a wide range of interests in culture, social work and theatre. He has authored 30 books, which include six collections of poetry, five of essays, three plays and two collections of short stories. As a prominent Dalit voice, he has established a niche for himself through his empirical imaging in a mellowed tone. His works have been translated into other Indian vernacular languages and widely published. He has attended several international poets’ meets, literary conferences and recited poems, presented papers on various subjects. His poetry has been translated into Spanish by Rowena Hill and published by the Venezuelan Govt. (CONAC) in 2005 under ‘World Poetry Series’. A collection of his poems have been translated into English as ‘Before It Rains again’, which is being published by Erbacce Press, Liverpool, UK. He has been felicitated in and outside the country and has been graced with many awards including the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award in 2009 and Karnataka State Award in 2014 for lifetime achievement.

Naresh Fernandes

Naresh Fernandes  is the editor of Scroll.in, a digital news publication. He is the author of two books about Bombay. His articles have appeared in several anthologies and news publications.

Nisha Abdulla

Nisha Abdulla is a Performance Storyteller, a Writer and Theatre practitioner. Her world converges around stories – she’s either writing or performing them. Nisha is also co-founder of Ever After Learning, an organisation that creates customised story based modules for all kinds of learning requirements for children and adults. She has performed and conducted storytelling workshops across the country as well as in Beijing, Muscat and Thailand.

Although she confesses to some dark thoughts about drowning Bengaluru in bisi-bele-bath, Nisha calls the city her only possible home. At City Scripts 2017, she will conduct BANGALORE BIOGRAPHY, a workshop where participants will learn to craft personal stories centered around the city.

Nisha Susan

Nisha Susan  is a writer and a founder of the feminist magazine The Ladies Finger. Previously, she co-managed Yahoo Originals, an award-winning long-form reporting and immersive storytelling destination on Yahoo News. She has been Features Editor at Tehelka magazine. She has also published short fiction with Penguin, Zubaan and n+1 magazine.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is a journalist and an educator. He is editor of the “Economic and Political Weekly”. His work experience, spanning 40 years, cuts across different media: print, radio, television and documentary cinema. He is a writer, speaker, anchor, interviewer, teacher and commentator in three languages: English, Bengali and Hindi. His main areas of interest are the working of India’s political economy and the media, on which he has authored/co-authored books and directed/produced documentary films.

Priya Chetty-Rajagopal

A National Merit Scholar, Priya holds a Bachelor of Arts, as well as postgraduate degrees in Marketing Management and in Public Relations. Priya was conferred the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for Excellence in 1997, recognized by the Guild of Women Achievers in 2000, and was selected by the British Government for the prestigious Chevening Scholarship in 2004. Active in various business groups, Priya was Chairperson of the Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC), Karnataka, and from 2007, elected to the National Executive Council of the IACC, the first woman to hold either of these positions. In addition to being the Founder-Chair of the IACC’s Women’s Business Council, Convener of the CII Women’s Business Leadership Forum for over 4 years till 2011, and a TiE Charter Member, Priya has been nominated to the Advisory Council of Common Purpose, India, Asia Pacific Council of the AESC as well as the Academic Council of her Alma Mater, Mount Carmel College. As a committed and very visible champion of women’s leadership and gender diversity, she is highly regarded for her views in the space and is a sought after speaker in both industry fora and academic circles. A columnist in her spare time, she remains passionate about Executive Search, Bengaluru, Women’s Causes and Animal Rescue, not necessarily in that order. In her time off, Priya is happiest working on animal welfare issues, spending time with her family, curled up with her iPad or a book in hand.

Rakesh Ragunathan

Food is the dominating twin of Rakesh Raghunathan, whose interest lay in distinguishing spices and different types of Rasam, as other 9 year olds played outdoors. The abiding passion has remained with him as he has spent the last decade of his life founding a chain of wraps in Chennai, hosting a food and travel show on TV (Sutralaam Suvaikkalaam on News7 Tamil channel), and co-creating Puliyogare Travels, a blog that collates all his work.

 

When he’s not stirring the pot or invading your kitchen, Rakesh spends his time helping young start-ups, hotel chains and food brands with developing content, training chefs, branding and marketing strategies.

Rana Ayyub

Rana Ayyub, 33 is a political affairs and investigative journalist and has recently self published her best selling book Gujarat Files. Rana in her decade long career in journalism has worked with top news channels in the country and is a former editor with Tehelka.

She lives between Mumbai and Delhi and is now an independent journalist who is a regular contributor to NDTV, Huffington Post and Outlook besides appearing on various international shows as a current affairs analyst. Her investigation on the fake encounters in Gujarat not just sent the first serving home minister of a state behind bars but also got her the coveted Sanskriti award for excellence in journalism in 2010.In the year 2011 she was named as the 50 most influential Muslims in post independent India by a leading tabloid.

Rohini Nilekani

Rohini Nilekani is Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, a foundation she has personally endowed to fund initiatives in ‘Safe, Sustainable water for All’.

 

In 2004, she co-founded and funded Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s publisher, which aims to democratise the joy of reading with ‘A book in every child’s hands’. By the time she retired as Chairperson on December 31st, 2013, Pratham Books had reached millions of children with indigenous, attractive books in multiple languages.

 

Rohini sits on the Board of ATREE- Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, an environmental think tank. She is on the Eminent Persons Advisory Group of the Competition Commission of India. Between 2010 and 2012, she was a member of the Audit Advisory Board of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

 

Earlier, she spent several years as a journalist, and has worked or written for many leading publications such as Bombay Magazine, India Today, MINT and the Times of India. Her first novel, Stillborn, a medical thriller, was published by Penguin Books. In 2008, she anchored a television show called Uncommon Ground for NDTV, which created a rare dialogue between top leaders of the corporate and social sectors. A book based on the show was published by Penguin Books ndia in 2011. Under the pseudo name ‘Noni’, she has also authored several books for young children, including the popular Sringeri Srinivas series, published by Pratham Books.

Rupleena Bose

Rupleena Bose teaches English Literature at University of Delhi and is pursuing her doctoral research on urban music in Bengal. After hours, she writes fiction and nonfiction films, which have gathered awards and travelled to film festivals across the world. Her directorial film Humour Black is a docu-fiction exploring satire, art and absurdity.

Samar Halarnkar

Samar Halarnkar is editor of Indiaspend.org, a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley and a fellow at the Nieman Foundation, Harvard University. A journalist for 24 years, his last full-time job was Managing Editor of the Hindustan Times. He is the author of two books.

Shubha Mudgal

Shubha Mudgal is Hindustani classical vocalist also known for her work with popular music. She is also the co-founder of www.UnderscoreRecords.com, a music label that offers a platform for online distribution to independent, self-publishing musicians. She is actively involved in projects related to music education, performers rights and welfare.

Sidharth Bhatia

Sidharth Bhatia is a Mumbai-based journalist and author of several books. He is the Founder Editor of The Wire, one of India’s best-known news and analyses sites. He writes regularly on politics, popular culture and urban issues. His twitter handle is @bombaywallah

Subasri Krishnan

Subasri Krishnan has been a filmmaker for more than a decade. She also heads the Media Lab at the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS).

 

Her documentary films deal with contemporary politics. Her first documentary film ‘Brave New Medium’ on internet censorship in South-­‐East Asia, has been screened at film festivals, both nationally and internationally. The award-­‐winning ‘This or That Particular Person’ looks at the idea of official identity documents, and in that context, the Unique Identity number. The film was adjudged as the Best Short Documentary Film at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), 2013. Her new documentary film ‘What The Fields Remember’ explores ideas of memory, violence and justice through survivors’ narratives of the massacre.

 

As part of the Media Lab at IIHS, she teaches and curates the Urban Lens film festival. Prior to going to film school, Subasri worked for the academic journal ‘Seminar’.

Sultan Ismail

Dr Sultan Ahmed Ismail, is Managing Director of the Ecoscience Research Foundation, a not-for profit organisation, in Chennai. He was the Head of Zoology and later the Department of Biotechnology, The New College, Chennai. Has done extensive work (both research and applied) on ecology and environment, earthworms and organic inputs since 1978. He has been associated with several farmers and self-help groups promoting the concepts of ecology, sustainability, organic concepts, waste management, waste water treatment, etc. He was awarded the CASTME award for 1994-95 in the UK, the Arignar Anna Award by the Department of Environment of the Government of Tamil Nadu for 2005, and the Award of Excellence presented by His Excellency Governor of Jharkhand in Dec 2010. His book “The Earthworm Book” is popular among both academics and others interested in earthworms, while his coordinated “simple tasks great concepts” is a boon to science teachers and students with 100 life science experiments which any child can perform without a laboratory. His earthworm book has been translated in Tamil as well as in Chinese.  He has published more than 67 papers in National and International Journals, guided 32 M.Phil students and 17 Ph.D, students.

Supriya Nair

Supriya Nair is a writer from Mumbai. She is an editor at Brown Paper Bag, and the editor of The Caravan Book Of Profiles. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Wisden, The New Republic and other publications.

Vasanthi Hariprakash

Vasanthi Hariprakash has a past life that includes chiefsub-editoring late city editions at the new Indian Express, primetime breakfastshow-hosting at Radio City 91.1FM, reporting for NDTV 24×7 news & anchoring documentaries as part of One Square Mile on BBC World News. Her present is being founder of the Pickle Jar collective that has curated two retrospectives of cinema greats; and lending strength & time to media initiatives focussed on India’s tribal and rural heartland such as Bultu Radio and Gaon Connection. Being a wanderer though remains a constant.

Vasudhendra

Vasudhendra is an Indian author in Kannada language known for his short stories. He was born at Sandur in the Bellary district in Karnataka. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree from National Institute of Technology, Karnataka as a gold medalist. He then did his Master of Engineering from Indian Institute of Science. He had been a software professional since 20 years. He was also the Vice President at Genisys Software. Now he spends his time in reading, writing and traveling.

 

Vasudhendra has come out as gay recently in the interviews he has given to prajavani and other media houses.

Vinutha Mallya

Vinutha Mallya is an editor, journalist and publishing-industry consultant based in Bengaluru. She recently co-founded Kaavi Literary Agency, to represent writers and translators of Indian languages. An advisor to the Publishing Next conference in Goa, she is also contributing editor to Publishing Perspectives and a consulting editor to Mapin Publishing. Mallya was a Fellow of the Frankfurt Book Fair Fellowship Programme in 2010.