Spook spoke Spoonerism: Noir Literature Festival
The slim book offered at the Noir Literature Festival venue with an image of pen spilling blood was a proclamation of the growing hunger for stories bleeding crime, horror, vampires and much more. Oxford Bookstore, Connaught Place and Anti Social Hauz Khas were the stage for spooky tales, crime mystery narratives and interesting that followed. The spooky weekend was an initiative of Crime Writers Forum for South Asia. Namita Gokhale is the founder, director of this Crime Writers Festival which is three years old now and held in association with Siyahi. Crime Writing offers a panoramic view of a social framework and therefore it's a genre of genres.The festival brought the stalwart of the Hindi language mystery writing, Surender Mohan Pathak on the stage. His maiden work 57 Saal Puraana Aadmi was published in Manohar Kahaniyan. He is said to be an inspiration for many criminal minds as his writings offered such scintillating ideas. The idea of disposing the body in a tandoor in the famous tandoor case of Delhi actually came from his novel Mawali. Zameer ka Kaidi inspired a man to rob millions from bank while pretending to be a human bomb. He ideally qualifies to be one of the writers of Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Such was his influence on the minds of his readers that they lived in his words.
The two sessions I attended on Sunday, 29th January post tea were Powers of Deduction with Madhulika Liddle, Arjun Raj Gaind in Conversation with Ravi Shankar Etteth and Fantastic Crimes and Where to Find them with Shantanu Dhar in Conversation with Ravi Shankar Etteth.
Historic fiction writers choose their power to deduct the mysteries of historical crimes through their fictional writings. Madhulika is a history buff and enjoys pouring over historical stories. Talking about her inclination to writing she said- though her father was in police service, that didn't inspire her writings much. She turned to write about Muzaffar Jung, 17th Century noble man and detective during Shah Jahan's reign.
Arjun Raj Gaind has penned critically acclaimed graphic novels Empire of Blood, Reincarnation Man, comic book series The Mighty Yeti, Brief history of Death. He deliberated that it's a challenge to write about time which passed long back. In the hands of interesting writers reading history becomes enjoyable. The text book history is disdained as it lacks life.
Ravi Shankar Etteth, the editor of The Sunday Standard, is a journalist, political cartoonist, columnist and graphic designer. He has penned novels, The Book of Shiva, The Tiger by the River, The Village of Widows, The Gold of Regrets and the latest is The Brahmin. He very well moderated the conversation.The second session saw Shantanu Dhar with Ravi Shankar Etteth and it was captioned as Fantastic Crimes and Where to find them. Shantanu dwelt at length on how Indian publishers are obsessed with romance and his repeated rejections by publishers. He sought his inspiration from Greek tragedies and Shakespeare. His writings fall under crime thriller genre and major among them are The Company Red and Code Red. Currently he is working on his new book Red Finale which speaks about alien contact with humans. He adapts a visual style of writing, so readers connect well with them.
The festival attempts to bring the genre of crime writers together with conversation around crime, vampires, aliens and mysteries. Speakers comprised of writers, journalists, lawyers, publishers and filmmakers too. The crime writing publishing is seeing an upward trend. Not only in English but in Hindi, Urdu also there is lot of writing happening. A Spooks spooked weekend.