Speakers 2015

  • Ananth Narayan Mahadevan

    anand_mahadevanAnanth made his name in Bollywood as a film director, screenwriter, actor and writer. Since the 1980s, he has also been into Marathi films and tele-serials, apart from being actively involved in the professional English and Hindi theatre. Ananth along with Sanjay Pawar receivedthe national award for best screenplay and dialogue for the Marathi movie Mee Sindhutai Sapkal in 2010, which also fetched him a special jury award the same year. His latest film Gour Hari Dastaan was part of the Indian Panorama at the International Film Festival of India in Goa, the International Film Festival of Kerala, the International Film Festival of Bangalore and the International Film Festival of Chennai 2014.

    Anitha Thampi

    anithaThe young Malayalam poetess Anitha has won the Mathrubhumi best poetry book of the year award for her first book Muttamadikkumbol in 2004. Her second collection, Azhakillathavayellam, was published in 2010. Her works have been translated into several Indian and foreign languages including English, French, German, Swedish, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Marathi. She has also translated several works into Malayalam, including the one by Australian poet Les
    Murray. She now lives in Goa.


    benyaminBenny Daniel, better known as Benyamin shot into fame with the publication of Aadujeevitham (Goat’s Life) in 2008. The book, which poignantly narrates the story of an abused Indian migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, has fetched him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award in 2009 and its English translation was short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2012 and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2013. Though this book remains his most popular work, Benyamin has been prolific with five novels and dozens of shortstories, including Manja Veyil Maranangal, Akkapporinte Irupathu Nasrani Varshangal and Euthanasia.

    CP Surendran

    Surendran is the author of four collections of poetry (Portraits of the Space we Occupy, Posthumous Poems, Canaries on the Moon, and Gemini II.) His works of fiction are Lost and Found and An Iron Harvest. His latest novel, Hadal, is scheduled to be released in March. He is currently working on a collection of poems, Repeat Radio. His debut screenplay Gaur Hari Dastaan, has been selected for six international film festivals. He is at present the editor-inchief of DNA, and divides his time between Mumbai and Delhi.

    Gurbir Singh

    gurbir_singhGurbir, chief of bureau with Business World, is known for pioneering business writing in the area of entertainment and media and more particularly film and television. He is credited for bringing real estate writings on to the front pages of pink dailies when he was with the Economic
    Times. During his career spanning over 25 years, he has also worked with leading publications like Hindustan Times and the Indian Express.

    Govind Nihalani

    govind_nihalaniBenny Daniel, better known as Benyamin shot into fame with the publication of Aadujeevitham (Goat’s Life) in 2008. The book, which poignantly narrates the story of an abused Indian migrant worker in Saudi Arabia, has fetched him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award in 2009 and its English translation was short-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2012 and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2013. Though this book remains his most popular work, Benyamin has been prolific with five novels and dozens of shortstories, including Manja Veyil Maranangal, Akkapporinte Irupathu Nasrani Varshangal and Euthanasia.

    Harish Nambiar

    harish_nambiarHarish is a senior journalist with the
    Reuters in Mumbai and has been in the mainstream English journalism since 1990, having worked with most of the leading mastheads. His recent book, Defragmenting India: Riding a Bullet through the Gathering Storm, was based on his extensive travels across the country.

    Hemant Divate

    Hemant is a globally recognised Marathi poet, editor, publisher and translator. His poems have been translated into English, Spanish, French, German and many Indian languages. Hemant’s second book of poems Thambtach Yet Nahi, was awarded the Yashawantrao Chavan Puraskar for the best poetry in 2009. It has been translated into English as A Depressingly Monotonous Landscape. He is also the founder-editor of Marathi magazine Abhidhanantar, which has been credited for giving a solid platform to new poets and for enriching the post- 1990s Marathi literature.

    Jayant Pawar

    Jayant is a Sahitya Akademi award-winning short story writer, major playwright in Marathi theatre, film writer and
    critic. Jayant has so far written five full length plays – Vansh, Adhantar, Maza Ghar, Tengashenchya Swapnat Train and Kaay Danger Wara Sutalay. He has also written 15 one-act plays. His collection of short stories
    Phoenixchya Rakhetun Uthala Mor received Sahitya Akademi Award in 2012. He has written screenplay and dialogues for Marathi movies Lalbaug Parel and Dukhhache Shwapad. He also wrote screenplay and dialogues for Hindi movies City of Gold and It’s Breaking News. A journalist for the past three decades, he is a senior assistant editor with the Maharashtra Times. Jayant has received 14 awards for his play Adhantar alone.

    Jerry Pinto

    jerry_pintoA well-known journalist and poet, Jerry has also proved his mettle in prose and children’s fiction in English. His first novel and the latest work, Em and The Big Hoom was published in 2012 and fetched him the Hindu Lit for Life Award. Jerry’s previous works include Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (2006) which won the best book on cinema award at the 54th national film awards, Surviving Women (2000) and Asylum and Other Poems (2003) among others. He also coedited Confronting Love (2005), a book of contemporary Indian love poetry in English. His work on his home city is titled Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai, with Naresh Fernandes in 2003.

    Kishor Kadam

    The veteran Marathi poet Kishor has acted in several Marathi and Hindi movies as well as in some tele-serials. He
    pens his poems under the pseudonym Saumitra. Kishor won critical acclaim for his lead role in the 1999 film Samar. Directed by Shyam Benegal, the film also bagged national award for the best film. His other Hindi ventures include Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, and the Bollywood flick Black Friday in 2004.

    Govindraj Ethiraj

    Govindraj is a leading financial journalist and was the founder editorin-chief of the business channel BloombergUTV. He started his broadcast journalism with the country’s first business channel CNBC TV18. He also
    worked with the Economic Times, Business World, Business Standard and Business India. At CNBC TV18, he hosted
    the evening bulletin as well as the business strategy show, Managing India. At Bloomberg UTV, he anchored the prime time news and analysis show – The Final Word and a weekend show, Common Maximum Programme. Govindraj is a Fellow at the Aspen Institute, Colorado, US.

    Kalpetta Narayanan

    kalpeta_narayanPoet, critic and shortstory writer, Kalpetta
    has published several collections of poetry and essays in Malayalam over the past four decades. His noted titles include Ee Kannada Onnu Vechu Nokku, Veenapoovum Mattu Pradhana Kavithakalum, Ozhinja Vrukshachhayayil and Ithramathram. He was born in Kalpetta in the northern Kerala district of Wayanad.

    Kureepuzha Sreekumar

    Noted Malayalam poet Kureepuzha was an instant rage in college campuses across Kerala in the 1980s and the ’90s, and his love poems are still considered among the best. Born at Kureepuzha in Kollam, he won the Best Poet Award from the University of Kerala in 1975. His first collection of poetry, Habibinte Dinakkurippukal, was published in 1984. His other works include Sreekumarinte Dukkangal, Rahulan Urangunnilla, Amma Malayalam, Suicide Point and Keezhalan. A recipient of the Vyloppilly Award and Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award, he rejected Sree Padmanabhaswamy
    Award for children’s literature in 2003 saying it is named after a Hindu god.

    Leena Manimekalai

    Apart from being a leading Tamil poet and film-maker who is committed to social causes, Leena has a dozen flicks dealing with the dynamics of caste, gender, globalization in contemporary society, art, student politics, and environmental issues to her credit. Her movies like My Mirror is the Door, Goddesses, Shengadal have been critically acclaimed and awarded at national and international film festivals and civil rights circuits. A recipient of the Charles Wallace Art Award, EU Fellowship and the Commonwealth Fellowship, Leena has published four poetry collections and is currently working on the film Rape Nation.

    Makarand Sathe

    maranth_satheAn architect by profession, Makarand has been writing novels and plays and articles in Marathi for the past 25 years. As a playwright, Makarand is extremely popular and
    his plays have been performed in various stages several times. Shanta Gokhale has translated his wellknown novel Achyut Athavale Aani Athavan into English as Man Who Tried to Remember. His book Marathi Natkachya Tees Ratri: Ek Samajik Rajkiya Itihas has been translated into A Socio political History of Marathi Theatre: Thirty Nights, which deals with the history of Marathi drama from 1843 to 1947, a period known as the commencement of renaissance in

    Malika Amar Sheikh

    Well-known Marathi writer Malika has various titles to her credit, including Valucha Priyakar and Mahanagar and
    Deharutu, which have received critical acclaim. Malika is also known for her autobiography Mala Udhvasta Vhaychai (I Want to Get Ruined). She is the daughter of the legendary folk singer Shahir Amar Shaikh, whose folk songs played a crucial role during the Samyukta Maharashtra movement. Malika’s late husband Namdeo Salubai Dhasal was one of the founders of the Dalit Panthers Movement and an eminent Marathi poet.

    Manarcadu Mathew

    Born at Manarcad near Kottayam in Padathumapila family, Manarcadu Mathew is a senior journalist, who served for about 44 years in the prominent Malayalam daily Malayala Manorama. Educated at CMS College Kottayam and S H College,Thevara, he came out with 1st class and 2nd rank from the Madras University. Manarcadu started his career as a teacher. He has 11 books to his credit. Aadaminte Poorvikar, Chalachitra Swaroopam, K P Appan Jeevithavum Chinthayum, Thakazhiyum Basheerum Koodikazhchakalil Pazhamanasimte Puthubodhyangal, Pravasi Kadhakaranmarude
    Sargayathrakal ar his famous books.


    Manasi, ace short story writer from Kerala, came into the reckoning during the 90s when Malayalam witnessed a new wave of women writers. Settled in Mumbai since 1970, she is widely read by the new generation readers also. She won Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 1993 for her work titled “Manjile Pakshi“. Other major works are Idivalinte Thengal, Manasiyude kadhakal,Velichangalude Thaalam ( in association with her brother P.A.Divakaran). Her story was made into a movie named “Punaradhivasam” which won the state award for best story.

    MP Ramachandran

    Hailing from a remote village in Kerala’s Trichur district, Ramachandran founded Jyothy Laboratories in 1983 with a paltry sum of Rs 5,000. The chairman and managing director of the Rs 1,500-crore company has since became a leading
    FMCG name in the country. The company currently owns 28 manufacturing units at 14 locations across India. In 2011, Jyothy Laboratories ltd acquired the FMCG business of Henkel India, a subsidiary of German conglomerate Henkel. An avid reader, Ramachandran is well versed in the Puranas as well as in regional language books.

    MG Radhakrishnan

    Senior Malayalam journalist Radhakrishnan is currently the editor of the news channel Asianet, and has over three decades of experience in the profession. Having previously worked with the India Today Group and the Mathrubhumi,
    he specializes in politics, business, media, cinema, sports, and popular culture. He is a recipient of the Kerala government award for development journalism, K Balakrishnan prize for excellence in journalism, Kerala government award for best writing on cinema, etc. He has three published titles.

    Mahesh Keluskar

    Born in Sindhudurga district of Maharashtra, Keluskar completed his PhD from the Mumbai University. He is a
    programme executive at All India Radio, Mumbai. Many of his works have been translated in various languages such as
    Hindi, English and Malayalam. His main collections include Mor (1986), Pahara (1996), Zinzinaat (1997), Maskarika (2009), Kavadase (2011), Rose Day, Me(ani) Maza Bendbaza (Pocket Book). Sashtaang Namaskaar (2000), Kavitaanchya Gaava Jaave (2001), Gheu Chandra Ushaala (2009). He has won many awards also for his works.

    Nirmal Jain

    The founder-chairman of the diversified financial services firm India Infoline Group (IIFL), Nirmal is a first
    generation entrepreneur credited with building a leading financial services group in just about two decades. Nirmal has a meritorious academic career and was among toppers all through. A rank holder in CA and a Cost Accountant, he
    holds a PGDM from IIM-Ahmedabad.

    Nandita Das

    Known to the world for her critically acclaimed roles in Fire, Earth, Bawander, Before the Rains etc, Nandita has
    acted in over 30 films in 10 languages. Having made her presence in acting she moved to direction, and made her
    debut with Firaaq, which had its world premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008. In 2008 the French government bestowed the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters on Nandita. Other top awards include the best actress for Bawander from the Santa Monica Film Festival in 2001, best actress for Amar Bhuvan from the Cairo
    Film Festival in 2002, best actress for Maati Maay from the Madrid International Film Festival in 2007, and
    the best film and best screenplay for her directorial debut Firaaq.

    Pratibha Ray

    The 2011 Jnanpith Awardee Pratibha is an academic and an Oriya novelist. Her writings are full of boldness, revolt and humanism and each of them searches for a social order based on equality, love, peace and integration. She has over 40 novels, travelogues and short stories to her credit. An eminent educationist, Pratibha did her Masters in education and a PhD in educational psychology while her post-doctoral degree was on tribalism and criminology
    focused on the Bondos, who are one of the most primitive tribes of Odisha.

    Piyush Saxena

    A qualified naturopath, wellness counselor, activist, writer, film director, actor and magician, Piyush has many hats to wear. He is also the founder of the NGO, Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs, which fights for the uplift of the downtrodden community. He has authored three books–Cure Yourself (on cleansing therapy), Life of a Eunuch and Everything Men Know about Women (a satire of human nature). Piyush holds a PhD in Naturopathy, and a Master’s in Reiki.

    Sachin Ketkar

    The Baroda-based Marathi writer Sachin is a bilingual writer, translator, editor and critic, and has two collections of poems – one in Marathi and the other in English, apart from translating and editing an anthology of
    Marathi poetry. He has also translated novels and poems from Gujarati and Marathi to English. Having a doctorate in translation studies, Sachin works as a reader in the English department at the MS University, Baroda, and is a contributing editor for the New Quest, a journal for participatory cultural enquiry in Mumbai.