Speakers 2018

Adoor, as this master of imaginations is fondly called, needs no introduction. His contribution to the world of cinema, both Indian and international, during the past half-a-century is unparalleled. Adoor launched himself into the universe of cinema with Swayamvaram (One’s Own Choice) way back in 1972, kicking off a new wave in filmmaking. Since then, the ace story-teller has been enthralling the world with many classics.

His repertoire of avant-garde films include Kodiyettam (Ascent), Elippathayam (Rat Trap), Mukhamukham (Face to Face), Anantaram (Monologue), Mathilukal (The Walls), Vidheyan, (The Servile), Nizhalkkuthu (Shadow Kill) and Kathapurushan (Man of the Story). His latest movie Pinneyum (Once Again) was launched mid-2016.
Adoor received the national award for best film twice and for best director five times. Elippathayam has won the prestigious British Film Institute Award in 1982. He has won the International Film Critics Prize six times in a row.

Wisconsin University in the US has opened an archive of his films and set up a research fund. It stores all of his films in 35-mm format, in Blue-Ray discs and DVDs. Adoor’s movies are already included in the curriculum on Asian cinema at Colorado and a couple of other American universities.

Adoor has also secured a name for himself as an author with four books on cinema. His first book received the national award for best book on cinema and his collection of essays titled Cinema Samskaram got him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award. For his contributions to world of cinema, the nation honoured this master story-teller and filmmaker with a Padma Shri in 1984 and Padma Vibhushan in 2006. He is also a recipient of nation’s highest honour for cinema, the Dada Phalke Award, in 2004.

Adoor heads the Gateway LitFest advisory panel as the chairman.

Aparna Sen is a renowned name in Bengali as well as Indian cinema. She has excelled both as an actor in film and theatre and as a director of parallel cinema.

Aparna was born in 1945 in Kolkata. Her father is film critic and film maker Late Chidananda Das Gupta. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Presidency College, Kolkata. Her first film appearance happened in Satyajit Ray’s Teen Kanya (1961) when she was sixteen. Since then, Aparna has acted in many films in lead roles.

In 1981, Aparna made her debut as a film director with 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981) which won national and international awards. Since then, Aparna has directed series of films on a wide variety of subjects. Most of her films have been well acclaimed nationally and internationally. Aparna moved to Mumbai and continues to make films in Hindi and English.

Aparna acted in little theatre groups and commercial theatres for a period of time. She was also editor of a popular Bengali magazine (Sananda) for long time.
She has received eight BFJA Awards (Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards), five for best actress, two for best supporting actress and one for lifetime achievement. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and nine international film festival awards for her direction in films. She was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, by the government of India in 1987. Sen has served on juries at film festivals around the world.

Anju is a poet, playwright, and translator writing in English. Some of her titles include Shah Abdul Latif, Pickling Season, View from the Web (poems), The Last Train (play) and a translation of Sufi couplet ‘Seeking the Beloved’. She has co-edited four anthologies related to the Partition, women’s verse, youth poetry and Indian English drama.
Her other plays include ‘If Wishes Were Horses’, ‘The Last Train’ (shortlisted for BBC World Play-writing Award in 2009), ‘Meeting withLord Yama’, Unspoken Dialogues (with Aleque Padamsee) and TotalSlammer Masala (with Michael Laub). Actively involved in the literary milieu, Anju was on the English advisory board of the Sahitya Akademi for five years. Based in Mumbai, she writes a culture column for the British magazine Confluence.
Her several awards include the BBC World Regional Poetry Prize, Sahitya Akademi award for English translation and the Charles Wallace Trust award etc.

Indira Das, an eminent short story writer and a novelist of our time has been writing for more than three decades, she has four novels, more than hundred stories, a travelogue, two story collections for children and some translations to her credit, which have earned her a special place in the field of Odia literature.
Her parents late Sri Lokanatha Mahapatra and late Smt Pravati Devi had inculcated an interest in literature among their children and for that reason successful poet like Padma Bhusana Ramakant, columnist like late Umakant and Writer like Indira have emerged from that home.
From childhood, Indira had interest in writing, but she had not gone beyond publishing a few poems in school and college magazines. Long after her marriage to sri Arun Kumar Das, an officer in Indian Railways she picked up her pen again to record the kaleidoscopic impressions of life, Her pen touches the universal story of mankind which is tinged with human sentiments and emotions. Now she is one of the most popular writers of Odia literature and for that she gets innumerable phone calls, e-mail and letters. Though Indira has got many awards, she considers her reader’s love the most valuable recognition.

As she spent quit a long period of her life as the wife of a railway officer, with her minute observation and considerate heart she has written touching stories about Railway Men’s lives .Some of the stories like “ATREYA GOTRA” “SEI RATI RANGA BHINA” “ASAMAPTA TADANTA” “ABHILASARA HASA” “SASHI BOU” GALA PUTRA BAHUDI NAAILA” “FATHER” etc can be defined as stories which have permanent value in world literature. Her stories delve into subtle realms of human psyche though they deal with ordinary fact of life. Her first collection of stories “ASHTA GAMI SURYA” was published in the year 1983, since then she has been writing without looking back.

Beena Paul, also known by her married name Beena Paul Venugopal, is an Indian film editor who works mainly in Malayalam-language films. A graduate of the University of Delhi, she completed a course on film editing from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, in 1983. She is the recipient of two National Film Awards and three Kerala State Film Awards. She has held several positions including the artistic director of International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) and the deputy director of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy. She is married to cinematographer Venu since 1983.
Paul got a break as an editor with G. Aravindan’s The Seer Who Walks Alone (1985), a documentary on Jiddu Krishnamurti. She made her feature film debut with John Abraham’s Amma Ariyan (1986). Apart from editing over 50 documentaries and feature films, Paul has directed four documentaries.[6] She has collaborated with women filmmakers like Revathi, Suma Josson, Pamela Rooks and Shabnam Virmani. Paul played a prominent role in shaping up the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) right from its inception and also served as its artistic director.[7] She also served as the deputy director of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and worked as a senior editor at the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology.[2] As of 2017, she serves as the principal of the L. V. Prasad Film Academy (Thiruvananthapuram campus). In May 2017, she was appointed as one of the heads of “Women Collective in Cinema”, India’s first association that aims to work towards equal opportunity and dignity of women employees in film industry.
Paul married cinematographer Venu, a fellow student at the FTII, in 1983; The two have worked together in several films including Daya (1998) and Munnariyippu (2014), both directed by Venu.
Chandrahas is the author of the novel Arzee the Dwarf, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth First Book Prize. It was translated intoGerman and Spanish and chosen by World Literature Today in 2010 as one of ‘60 Essential Works of Modern Indian Literature in English’. He was a visiting fellow at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 2010. He is also the editor of a short introduction to the pleasures of Indian literature called India: A Traveler’s Literary Companion. His second novel Clouds was launched in Mumbai at the Mumbai Opera House last week with a reading by Naseeruddin Shah and a concert of cloud music. Chandrahas also writes a widely syndicated weekly column on Indian politics and society for Bloomberg View, and is a contributing editor at the Caravan. He lives in Delhi.
The svelte actress-director does not need any introduction. Known to the world audiences for her critically acclaimed roles in Fire, Earth, Bawander, Before the Rains, etc, Nandita has acted in over 30 films in 10 languages, with directors of international repute like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Deepa Mehta, Mrinal Sen, and Shyam Benegal among others.

Deeply passionate about making a difference in the society, Nandita has never shied away from controversial issues and unconventional roles if they are revolving around the issues she believes in. Having made her presence in acting she moved to direction, and made her debut with Firaaq, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008.
A student of Delhi University, from where she did a Masters in social work and worked with various NGOs since then, she continues to be a torch-bearer of social justice.
Nandita was a member of the main jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 and at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2007. In 2008 the French government bestowed the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters on Nandita. Other top awards she won 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 MaatiMaay from the Madrid International Film Festival in 2007, and the best film best screenplay for her directorial debut Firaaq.

Neena is an actress, model, columnist, and producer-cum-director. She began her acting career in the 1970s on the Marathi professional stage and the Hindi experimental stage, along with fashion shows and modelling.

She met Pt Satyad evDubey, her first guru, and went on to be a part of several Hindi productions under his direction. Mohan Rakesh’sAdheAdhure, Shankar Shesh’s Mayavi Sarovar, Willie Russell’s Educating Rita are a few of her prominent plays. Vijaya Mehta chose her to play Shabbo in Anil Barve’s Hamidabai chi Kothi in 1978, and thus began her long journey into the remarkable world of Marathi theatre.
Mahasagar, Akasmat, DhyaniMani,VatvatSavitri, Dehabhaan, PremPatra, Hamidabai chi Kothi Chapa Kaata are some more of her successful award-winning plays. She won awards like NatyaDarpan, and NatyaParishad.

Mystic, poet, translator, researcher, casual classical singer provide a context to Neeti, who combines her interest in literature with Bhakti, religion and history. For a living, she enjoys teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara in Gujarat.
Neeti has published three books so far. He first book of poems The Serpent of Slumber came out in 1995. A work of academic research, Bhakti Poetry in Medieval India: Inception, Cultural Encounter and Impact, with special reference to the work of Kabir and Nanak was published in2004. A translation from Punjabi Bhai Jaita’s Sri Gur Katha was came out in 2014.

Dr. J. Devika (full name Jayakumari Devika) is a Malayali historian, social critic, and feminist. She currently teaches and researches in Centre for Development Studies, Trivandrum as an associate Professor and has authored several books, and articles on gender relations in early Kerala society. She is bilingual and has translated both fiction and no-fiction books between Malayalam and English. Also she writes on contemporary politics and culture in Kerala on the team blog www.kafila.org.
Devika’s early research was about the emergence of modern binary gender as a language of describing society and social change in the early twentieth century in Kerala. She has also published translations of writings by first-generation feminists in Kerala. She has published several essays in academic journals published from within and outside India, and delivered several talks around the world. She gives an alternative reading of Kerala history from the feminist perspective. She traces Kerala’s social and political history and providing interesting insights.
She has also written for children, and her work was published by the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishat. Devika has translated number of books from Malayalam to English. Notable among them are the translation of Nalini Jameela’s autobiography and the short stories of K R Meera and Sarah Joseph. Also translated the well acclaimed Malayalam novel ‘Hangwoman’ of K R Meera.
The 24-something Dhruv is a finance lawyer at the leading financial services company L&T Finance Holding. But his spare time is spent in penning Nazms in Urdu and Hindustani. His works are often inspired by the melancholy, nostalgia, social injustice and the everyday human life.
A notable performer with the Abhyudaya, the social fest of the IIT Bombay, he has recorded an open mic episode with Radio City. His video Dilwalonki Dilli has crossed 50,000 views online.
A doctor by profession Dileep is a well-known Gujarati poet and playwright. His poetry collection, Padukayoaaneitar received so many awards such as the critics award, Jayanth Pathak award for poetry and the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad award, and Jeevan Gaurav Puraskar from the Maharashtra government. His poems have been translated in to several Indian languages and to Chinese, Korean and Japanese. Jhaveri is a member of the editorial board of Museindia.com and Kabita Review, a Kolkata-based Bengali-English magazine. His poetry collection, Khandit Kand Aane Pachhi was written after communal riots following Babari Masjid demolition and Gujarat riots in 2002. He also has been invited to read widely abroad including at the Asian Poets’ Conference in Korea, Taiwan, and such other countries as, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Indu Menon is a noted writer, screenwriter and sociologist from Kozhikode, Kerala who writes in Malayalam language. As a short story writer, Indu Menon can be said to the true successor of Kamala Das, who traversed the worlds of poetry and fiction with ease. She is also known as the voice of new woman, confident, avant-garde, and open to exploration and experiment, and fight against regressive society.

Indu Menon was born in Kozhikode on 13 June 1980 into a musical family. Her parents are Umayanallur S. Vikraman Nair and Sathyavathi. Her father is a musician and critic, while her mother is a homemaker. Her schooling was completed at different schools and completed graduation in Sociology and Malayalam at Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College. She also took Master’s in Sociology. Later she got married to film maker Rupesh Paul who is also a poet. She often assists her husband in screenwriting. The couple has a daughter, Gowri Maria and a son Adithya.
With fresh thoughts and writing style, her fiction expresses new realms of feminine consciousness. Her works often express a woman’s hidden urge to seek freedom in a repressed and inhibited patriarchal society. Some of her noted works include – Kadhakal, Chumbana Shabda Thaaraavali, Enne Chumbikkan Padippicha Sthreeye, Kappalinekkurichoru Vichithrapusthakam etc. She has also co-written the book – Eat Smart in India: How to Decipher the Menu, Know the Market Foods & Embark on a Tasting Adventure, aside Joan Peterson and Susan Chwae. Once she has told in an interview – Before and after her marriage, she lived two lives. Before marriage, her writings reflected such thoughts. But in real sense, the author feels she got more freedom after her marriage.

Kamal, an electrical engineer and management graduate by education, is Gujarati poet and short- story writer and has three books of poems (Arav, Anek Ek, and Vrudhdhshatak). A recipient of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi, Gujarat Sahitya Akademi, and the Maharashtra Sahitya Akademi awards.
His poems are available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada and Irish and have appeared in the Indian Literature, the Chicago Review, Anthology of Asian Poets etc.
Kanaka Ha Ma is a critically acclaimed Kannada poet and columnist. Based in Mumbai, she has authored three volumes of poetry: Holebagilu (1993); Papanashini (1997); and Arabi kadalu (2006). She has also been active as a Theatre actor and a freelance journalist for Kannada magazines and journals. Kanaka hails from Halikere, Shimoga district in Karnataka.
Three collections of her poetry have been published by Akshara Prakashana which is run by Ninasam. She also translated noted Urdu poet, Javed Akhtar’s book Tarkash to Kannada. Her poems are featured on Poetry International Rotterdam and have been translated into English and French. Kanaka also used to write columns for Kannada publications including Lankesh Patrike and Kannada daily Udayavani. In November 1997 she attended the International Poetry Biennale at Ivry Sur Seine, France along with other well-known poets like Kanimozhi and Bei Dao.
As a director of PAMPA (People for Performing Arts and More), Kanaka is the chief organizer of its annual literary festival, SIWE (South India Writers’ Ensemble), held in Chengannur.
She is instrumental in creating literary masterpieces out of manuscripts. VK Karthika, Chief Editor and Publisher, HarperCollins India. In her decade-long career with Penguin (1996-2006) and a similar stint at HCI (2006-16), Karthika has published an enviable list of writers, straddling a cross-section of genres, including Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga, Manu Joseph, Anita Nair and Rana Dasgupta. She has also worked with big commercial successes like S. Hussain Zaidi and Anuja Chauhan.
Karthika V.K is publisher and chief editor of HarperCollins Publishers India. She started her career in publishing at Penguin Books India in 1996 and moved to Harper in 2006 to head up the publishing programme in India. She has acquired and published several major writers of fiction and non-fiction including Anita Nair, Anuja Chauhan, Manu Joseph, Hartosh Singh Bal, Rana Dasgupta, S Hussain Zaidi, Sarnath Banerjee, Amruta Patil, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Karthika Nair and Booker-prize winner Aravind Adiga, among others. At HarperCollins she oversees a publishing programme that includes a vibrant poetry and graphic fiction (and non-fiction) list apart from a strong literary imprint in Fourth Estate and Harper Sport, the only imprint in India that’s dedicated to sport books.
Kaartikeya Bajpai, a journalism graduate from Symbiosis International University, and graduate in creative writing from The New School, New York, is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Bombay Review, a bi-monthly literary magazine publishing short fiction and poetry. Kaartikeya has given four TEDx talks, has been a panelist at numerous literary festivals and events across India. He also conducts literary events in India and abroad under the banner of the magazine. He has worked as a crime reporter with Mumbai Mirror, features writer and copy editor for DNA, cultural correspondent for Helter Skelter Magazine, career counsellor for Salaam Baalak Trust, and teacher for Teach for India. He is a regular writer in Tehelka, Muse India, Reading Hour, Sahitya Academy’s Indian Literature journal, and Spark Magazine, among others.
A true Mumbaiite, Malika was born and bred in the nation’s only truly global city. As a Marathi writer, she stands out for her strikingly different voice and perspectives in her words whatever be the genre–be it poetry, autobiography, short-story, or novel.
Through her writings, Malika embodies a way of being a Marathi that diverges often dramatically from the exclusivist identity politics that has blighted public life in Maharashtra long before its official formation in 1960.
Though she worked mostly in the shadow of the high profile lives of first her father Amar Shaikh and then her husband Namdeo Dhasal, the celebrated poet who co-founded the radical Dalit Panthers Party, Malika established herself as a leading writer in her own right over the decades.
She has four volumes of poetry, three volumes of short fiction, a novel and an edited volume in commemoration of her father. Her 1984 autobiography Mala Uddhvasta Vhayacay (I want to Destroy Myself) continues to stir controversy for its frank narration of conjugal life and sexuality, and also for its strident feminism.

Malini is a journalist with three decades of work in various newspapers including The Telegraph, Mint, Hindustan Times, Business Standard and The Times of India where she was a senior editor till 2016. She is currently freelancing and working as a consulting editor with IndiaSpend. She is keenly interested in culture and society, the intersection where they meet and how fluidly they influence each other. Over the last decade she has reported extensively on trends in theatre, dance and music, especially those relating to gender. She now writes on these subjects for Scroll, The Hindu, Open magazine and The Times of India
An IT engineer, Chitre always wanted to be a writer. He entered the world of advertising co-incidentally. But today, he is the Creative Group Head at What’s Your Problem and has just won two Silver Lions at Cannes 2017. A poet at heart, Chitre started writing short stories, poems and a few articles for newspapers right from when he was 18 years old.
The Marathi poet Mihir’s first book of poetry, Hyphenated, was published by the Sahitya Akademi. His works have been featured in the Indian Literature, Nether, Cerebration, Bombay Literary Magazine, Vayavya, Pyrta Journal, and Baroda Pamphlet among several other magazines.

Some of his works have been published in the Poetrywala’s anthology “40 under 40” along with some big names like Helter Skelter. A true Mumbaiite, Mihir was born and brought up in the megapolis and continues to live in the city.

Meena Menon is an independent journalist and former deputy editor of The Hindu. She has been a journalist since 1984, starting out in Bombay Magazine and has worked for the United News of India, Mid-Day, the Times of India and The Hindu. She was the chief of bureau of The Hindu, Mumbai, before being posted to Islamabad from August 2013 till May 2014, when she was expelled, and was later based in New Delhi as environment correspondent till March 2015. She is the author of Riots and After in Mumbai, Organic Cotton: Reinventing the Wheel, co-author of The Unseen Worker: On the Trail of the Girl Child, and the forthcoming A Frayed History: The Journey of Cotton in India.
Once a sex work in the shady streets of Thrissur in Kerala, Nalini shot into literary world with her biography – Njan Laingika Thozhilaali (Autobiography of a Sex Worker). It was an uproarious debut because of content and narration of the book. But she made a mark as a writer too through this best seller.

The book tells her story, in her inimitably honest and down-to-earth style, of her search for dignity, empowerment and freedom on her own terms as a sex-worker, before becoming an activist and a coordinator of the Kerala Sex Workers Union. The book was translated to English in 2007 by J. Devika. She worked closely with Jwalamukhi, an organisation championing the rights of sex workers. Her book was also translated in to several languages such as Marathi, Tamil, and Hindi. Jameela has directed two documentaries Jwalamukhikal and A Peep in to the Silenced. Her upcoming book is titled, ”In the Company of Men: the Romantic Encounters of a Sex Worker.

Mini edits the literary translations for Oxford University Press India
where she sources and edits fiction, plays, autobiographies and
biographies from 13 Indian languages into English. So far, she has
edited 96 full-length translations five of which have won national
prizes for translation and are prescribed reading in universities.
Mini is also editorial consultant at the Thunchath Ezhuthachan
Malayalam University in Tirur. She writes two monthly columns for The
Hindu: one on translations for its Literary Review and the other on
Ethics for its Education Plus.

S. Anuradha has been writing as a financial journalist, historian, commentator, archivist and novelist.
She writes to give life to the voices of people, events and ideas which have been forgotten, not because they were unimportant but simply because they were not written about.
She believes that knowledge is freedom and writing is the best way to preserve knowledge.
She has edited a lecture series on ‘Shiva Samhita’ a medieval Yoga text and it will be soon published by Motilal Banarsidass.
Anuradha is a financial journalist by profession and works for IFR Asia Thomson Reuters. She is based in Singapore.
Patricia Mary Mukhim is an Indian social activist, writer, journalist and the Editor of Shillong Times. She started her career as a teacher but turned to journalism in 1987 as a correspondent.Patricia Mukhim is the founder of Shillong, We Care a non-governmental organization involved in the fight against the militancy in Meghalaya. She is a member of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India and sits on the education board of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication.A recipient of honours such as Chameli Devi Jain award, ONE India award, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry FLO award, Upendra Nath Brahma Soldier of Humanity award,Siva Prasad Barooah National award and North East Excellence award, She was honored by the Government of India, in 2000, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri. She also contributes articles to publications such as The Statesman, The Telegraph, Eastern Panorama and The North East Times.
Nirupama Dutt is an Indian poet, journalist and translator. She writes poems in Punjabi, and sometimes Trans creates them in English. A senior journalist with thirty years of experience, she has worked with leading Indian newspapers and journals. She has published one volume of poems – Ik Nadi Sanwali Jahi (A Stream Somewhat Dark) – for which she was awarded the Delhi Punjabi Akademi Award in 2000. Her poetry has been translated into English, Hindi, Kannada, Bengali and Urdu and featured in various anthologies. In 2004, she co-edited with Ajeet Cour an anthology of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) poetry entitled Our Voices. She has translated and edited a book of fiction by Pakistani women writers called Half the Sky[2] and one of resistance literature of Pakistan called ‘Children of the Night’.
As a journalist, Dutt has taken a strong secularist line standing against fundamentalism and communalism. She has written on issues ranging from terrorism in Punjab, the November 1984 massacre of the Sikhs, the Babri Masjid demolition and the Gujarat carnage. She believes a similar spirit of courage and commitment permeates her creative writing as well, and views herself as heir to a tradition of fiercely independent female voices in Punjabi letters. Nirupama’s poetry has been featured on the Poetry Web International. She is convener of a women’s study group called Hamshira.

Pradnya Daya Pawar, also known as Pradnya Lokhande , is a leading Dalit-feminist poet and one of the most important names in Marathi poetry today Her poetry is a statement of her comprehensive experience. She comes from a family that performed tamasha) – an open, no-bar, no-taboo folk form. She won the Bodhivardhan Puraskar, the Maharashtra Foundation (USA) and the Birsa Munda Sanman Puraskar. She has been a member of Maharashtra State Literary and Cultural Board. Recently she has returned her state government awards in protest against rising atmosphere of intolerance and hate in the country.
A trained Kathak danseuse and an award-winning short filmmaker, Purva wears many a hat. She dabbles in writing, direction, and is also the producer of Aarambh, a theatre group that’s into musicals, plays and short-films. She also holds down a day job as the head of a motion picture production company for Reliance Entertainment, when not choreographing and designing costumes for the stage.
Purva has written Afsaneh: Bai se bioscope tak, and has adapted stories of Ruskin Bond, while her feature films include Hanuman, Kisna: The Warrior Poet and Krrish.
Purva is a recipient of the Laadli National Media Awards for her play ‘Ok Tata Bye Bye’ for which she was also invited to read it at The Royal Court Theatre, London.

The 2011 Jnanpith awardee, Pratibha is an academic and an Odia novelist. Began writing at the age of nine, her first novel Barsha Basanta Baishakha, published in 1974, became a best-seller for its social issues and readability among semi-literate and literate readers. Her writings overflow with boldness, revolt and humanism and each searches for a social order based on equality, love, peace and integration. Over the years, she has penned 21 novels, 25 short story collections, 14 travelogues, two poetry books, three essay collections. Her novel Jajnaseni has gone 90 editions in Odia.
She is the only woman writer till date to win the Moortidevi award by Bharatiya Jnanpith for 1991. An eminent educationist, Pratibha has a PhD in educational psychology and a post-doctoral research on tribalism and criminology focused on the Bondos – one of the most primitive tribes of Odisha. This resulted in a masterpiece “Aadibhoomi” (The Primal Land) in 1993.
As a writer, she is a rebel and social reformer. In personal life too, she took active interest in social reform. She is a household name in Odisha.

Rana hit the national headlines with her maiden book, The Gujarat Files: The Anatomy of a Cover-up,’ which is based on the sting operations she had undertaken as a Tehelka journalist to bring out the truth behind the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat. Even as a child, Rana, who grew up in the 1992-93 riots-hit Deonar area of the megapolis, wanted to became a journalist like her father so that she could fight the Hindutva forces and continue to critique the BJP in general and Narendra Modi in particular.
Though a journalist of repute, her only regular job was with the Tehelka magazine. By her own account, one of her reports in the magazine had played a key role in sending the present BJP president Amit Shah to jail for several months in 2010.

For the Gujarat sting operations, aimed at bringing the truth about 2002 riots, she assumed a fake identity as one Maithili Tyagi and befriended her targets for around 10 months. Unfortunately none of her reports were published by the Tehelka citing lack of fresh and conclusive evidence. But the Outlook magazine put her stories as one of the 20 greatest magazine stories of all times, across the world. But at the same time, this rejection did her well—her first book as a writer.

Rishikesan, a bilingual poet writing in Malayalam and English, has three collections of poems in Malayalam and has received several prestigious awards like Changampuzha Award, Abu Dhabi Shakti Award, and Moodadi Award among others for his Malayalam poems.
Professionally, he is an engineer with the premier national atomic research body BARC in Mumabi. He is also an expert on Yoga with a doctorate in this traditional exercise.

Rokeya has more than 50 plays with leading Kolkata theatre groups as a lead actor to her credit and is also an eminent elocutionist of Bengali poetry. Currently she is the director at Purbaranga, a theatre group in the Eastern megapolis and her play ‘Sitayan’ has been selected for performance at the 8th Theatre Olympics.
In fact, her association with the theatre and poetry recital goes back to her childhood having had her first stage appearance she was just 10 and continued into her entire student.
Professionally, Rokeya is an academic with a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Calcutta, and is now the controller of examinations at NetajiSubhas Open University.

The Pune-based Sindhi poet Rekha is a dietician by profession and poet by passion. A regular at reciting poems on the All-India Radio, Rekha has been attending poetry meetings organised by the Sahithya Akademi in many states. Her first book, Usaat, was published in 2015 and fetched her the Sahithya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017.
Sanskritirani is a Gujarati poet, short-story writer, and a translator. Her poems are included in more than 35 anthologies. She had translated several poems of Anna Akhmatova, Pushkin, Alexander Blok, etc from Russian to Gujarati and English. Likewise, her poems were translated in to Irish and English. She is also a regular face in TV & radio programmes for more than 40 years. She is a recipient of several awards for her poetry, which include Gujarati SahityaParishad Awards, The Phanishwarnath Renu Award for Literature, Harishchandra Bhatt award for Poetry, and Maharashtra Rajya Gujarati Sahitya Akademy. She also received Vilakshan Pratibha Award for significant achievements in various fields.
One of the most influential names in the contemporary Indian literature, Shobaa De has given a bold outlook to the women writing. An eminent novelist with a number of best sellers to her credit, Shobhaa De is a widely-read columnist who dares to speak up her mind. She began a career in journalism in 1970 and went on to edit three magazines—Stardust, Society, and Celebrity—during the long career. In the 80s, she contributed to the Sunday magazine section of The Times of India. De has been the writer of several popular soaps on television, including India’s second daily serial, Swabhimaan. Most of her writings focus on different aspects of urban India and women. She is bold to say what she thinks through novels, columns or panel discussions, no matter what the consequences. And many a time, she has landed in controversies too. Her notable works include `Starry Nights,’ `Socialite Evenings,’ `Sultry Days,’ `Sisters,’ ` Small Betrayals,’ `Second Thoughts,’ `Spouse,’ `Snapshots,’ `Surviving Men,’ and `Selective Men.’
Sujata is a passionate writer enchanted with the power and beauty of the words. ‘The Songs of Stone’ is her third and most ambitious novel and is an intense love saga in the times of the Mughals. Her two earlier novels are ‘Silent Whispers’, a murder mystery and ‘A Twist in Destiny’, a political thriller.
She has also written the screenplay for Kutch which was selected as the first Indian entry to the Berlinale Coproduction market, part of the prestigious Berlin Film Festival.
She has earlier worked at Indian Express in Pune and written weekly columns for the Pune Midday.

Sunil heads Mehta Publishing House in Pune, which is the largest Marathi publishing house with more than 150 new titles and 300 reprints each year and has an active backlist of over 4,500 titles. Known for its strong fiction and nonfiction list, Mehta Publishing has virtually every genre including biography, travel, business, politics, history, religion and philosophy, lifestyle, cookery, health and fitness, sports and leisure, and even children’s books.
It also does a lot of translations from various languages like Bengali, Hindi, Kannada and Gujarati and English. Apart from these, it also has titles as Marathi translations of original writings in Korean and Japanese.

JACINTA KERKETTA is an inspiring young poet from Jharkhand. Her numerous poems published in the country’s reputed literary magazines, including Benaras Hindu University’s Hindi Departments publication Parichay. Additionally they’ve been carried by several Delhi publications Naya Gyanoda, Yuddhrat am admi and Shukrawar. Her poetry has been published in English and German also. Her new poetry Book will be publish in 2018 February in 3 languages, Hindi,English & German. She is the recipient of Aparajita Samman,Indigenous Voice of Asia Award, Jharkhand Indigenous People’s Forum for her poetry Award, National level UNDP Fellowship, Prerana Samman, Ravishankar Upadhyay Memorial Youth Poetry Award. She is working as a freelance journalist also.
Shanta Gokhale is an Indian writer, translator, journalist and theatre critic. Shrimati Shanta Gokhale has not only written columns for leading English and Marathi newspapers and magazines, but has written plays, books on theatre, and has translated many works, and during her two-year stint with Elphinstone College, Mumbai as a lecturer, she became involved with the experimental theatre in Mumbai (then Bombay) and began to write theatre criticism, first for an English journal and later for a Marathi weekly. Her earliest notable translation works include CT Khanolkar’s Avadhya; Vijay Tendulkar’s Sakharam Binder; and Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Vasanakand. Her recent translations include, besides several plays, Durga Khote’s autobiography, Mi Durga Khote; Prabhakar Barve’s collection of essays on his art practice, Kora Canvas; Uddhav Shelke’s classic novel, Dhag; and Vishnubhat Godse’s eye-witness account of the 1857 uprising Majha Pravas, this in collaboration with Priya Adarakar. She has been formerly Arts Editor with The Times of India Mumbai.

She has received several honours. The Kaifi Azmi award for her writing on culture. Recently, she has been declared the recipient of the Jambhekar award instituted by the Antar Bharati Trust for her Marathi translation of Jerry Pinto’s multi-award-winning novel, Em and the Big Hoom. Shrimati Shanta Gokhale receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her overall contribution to the performing arts. Her Marathi novel Rita Welinkar was won the Maharashtra State Award for the best novel of the year in 1992. In 2009, her novel Tya Varshi also won the Maharashtra State Award for the best novel of the year.

Sushma Deshpande is famous theatre personality. Theatre is Sushama Deshpande’s passion, as well as her weapon to battle various ills in society. Sushma Deshpande’s credits include a handful of films and the biographical play Whay Mee Savitribai, which she has written and performed. Deshpande brilliantly highlighted the life and works of Phule in the play titled “Haan Main Savitri Bai Phule”. She has done more than 3000 performances of this play in the country and foreign destinations.
Dr. Tarannum Riyaz is a noted Urdu fiction writer, critic, poet, essayist and translator. She is a senior fellow with the Ministry of Culture Government of India. She has worked on television and radio for several years as Urdu news broadcaster, translator and organiser of literary and cultural programmes. She has also edited the women’s sections of leading Urdu newspapers and journals in Kashmir. She has published three collections of short fiction, one novel, and edited a collection of Urdu women’s literature in the twentieth century. Her first collection of poetry is released in June 2005. Her work has been translated into several Indian and foreign languages. Her edited work, 20th Century Urdu Literature of Women published by Sahitya Akademi was widely acclaimed.
She has received the U.P. Urdu Academy Award (1988) and the Delhi Urdu Academy Award (2004) for her short fiction. She has also participated in several seminars and conferences organised by the Sahitya Akademi and the Department of Urdu, University of Delhi, on the subject of feminist trends in Urdu literature.
Riyaz has participated in a number of national and international conferences and seminars and is a special invitee at the SAARC Conference. Her work has been studied in several distinguished universities.

Temsula Ao is an Assamese poet, short story writer and ethnographer. She is a retired Professor of English in North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), where she has taught since 1975. She served as Director, North East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur and was Fulbright Fellow to University of Minnesota 1985–86. Her works have been translated into German, French, Assamese, Bengali and Hindi. Her first book of poems was published in 1988.
She received the honorary Padma Shri Award in 2007. She is the recipient of the Governor’s Gold Medal 2009 from the government of Meghalaya. She received the Sahitya Akademi Award for her short story collection in 2013.She is widely respected as one of the major literary voices in English to emerge from Northeast India along with Mitra Phukan and Mamang Dai.

Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, a powerful and effective Dalit woman writer. She writes poems and short stories. Some of her writings are translated into English and Hindi. She also published research articles. She teaches in Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University. She also participated instudents’ agitations and social activities. She also participated actively in public meetings, seminars workshops related to Dalit and women’s issues. An Anthology of her poems are published under the title Mankena Puvvu in 2005.
Aswati Sasikumar is an electronics engineer by profession. Started writing from school days, Her first story collection, Josepinte Manam (The Smell of Joseph) received Kendreeya Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017. She is also a recipient of Kerala Sahitya Akademi Geetha Hiranyan Endowment, Kakanadan puraskaram, Vaikom Muhammed Bashir award, Kadha Magazine award, etc Her latest short story collection Kannu (Eye) will be released shortly.

Manushi, a young Tamil Poet. Her official name is A. Jayabharathi and she is a research scholar doing the title ‘Influence study research on Rabindranath Tagore and Subramanya Bharathiyar’. She has released 3 poetry collections so far- Kutti Ilavarasiyin Olisorkal, Muthangalin Kadavul, & Aathik Kaadhalin Ninaivuk Kurippukal. She received Sahitya Academy Yuva Puraskar Award for the year 2017, for her poetry collection titled “Aadhik kaadhalin ninaivuk kurippugal”. She received the Erode Tamizhanban award in 2015, Young writer award by Literary Association in 2016, Tiruppur Lion’s Club award and Poovarasi Award in 2017. She is keen on feminist writing and to grab the attention for feminism.
Mercy Margaret Boda is an assistant professor at Bharat College, Hyderabad. A jury member for Telangana State Cultural Department Poetry Programs (2017), Mercy’s first published book of poetry anthology was – Matala Madugu. She won the Chamspandana Sahithya Award (2016), Penna Sahithya Award(2016) & Kendra Sahithya Akademi Yuva Puraskar( 2017). Her works in Telugu have been translated into Hindi, English, Kannada, Malayalam , Tamil & Odia.

Nighat Sahiba
Nighat Sahiba is a Kasmiri poet. Personification of women seeking their voice in a male dominated society. In her childhood books turned out to be her oxygen and she soon became an ardent reader of history, religion and fiction. She write her first Urdu poem in 11th standard. She currently works as a teacher and has completed her Post graduation in history and is also an M.Ed. In 2014, she was awarded, Akbar Jaipuri Memorial Award for her contribution to Urdu poetry & in 2017 Sahitya Academy awarded her the Yuva Puraskar for her Kashmiri poetry collection Zard Paneki Dair. Nighat Sahiba’s Urdu and Kashmiri poems have also been published in many prestigious literary magazines of the world.
A cardiac diet consultant at Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Pune, Dr Rekha Sachdev Pohani, has been writing poetry in Sindhi, for the last 16 years. In 2015-16, Rekha was awarded the Maharashtra State’s Young Writer’s Award. Along with reciting poetry for Akashwani she has also attended various meets organised by Sahithya Academy in Ahmedabad, Agartala & Adipur. Her book, ‘Usaat’, was published in 2015 & went on to receive the Yuva Puraskar Award in 2017.

A native of Coorg, For the past 10 years Shanthi has been working in railways as a Nursing sister. She has written many short stories which have appeared in various literary
magazines of kannada out of which one has been translated into Malayalam. Her first book, a collection of short stories titled ‘Manasu abhisaarike’ was published in the year 2016. She has won Chanda pusthaka bahumana (2015),Gowramma Datti Nidhi Prashasthi, Dr H Shantharam Prashasthi and Kendra sahitya academy yuva puraskar 2017.

Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan is a blogger and writer. She writes under the pseudonym eM on The Compulsive Confessor. Her first book, a semi-autobiographical attempt, is “You Are Here”, published by Penguin Group. She is the daughter of the famous Malayalam writer and former IAS officer N. S. Madhavan who is one of the most powerful voices of Malayalam literature. Her mother Sheela Reddy is a journalist, the former Books Editor of Outlook magazine and author of Mr. and Mrs. Jinnah: The Marriage That Shook India.
She has written four novels and a collection of short stories. Formerly a journalist, Meenakshi’s first book You Are Here was published in 2007. She also writes essays and columns for a variety of publications.

Hemant is a globally recognized Marathi poet, editor, publisher and translator. His poems are available in English, Spanish, French, German and many Indian languages.
Hemant’s second book of poems Thambtach Yet Nahi, billed as a path-breaking work in the Marathi literary landscape, has fetched him the Yashawantrao Chavan Puraskar for the best poetry in 2009. Its English translation is available as A Depressingly Monotonous Landscape.
He is also the founder-editor of the Marathi magazine Abhidhanantar, which is credited for giving a solid platform to new poets and for enriching the post-1990s Marathi literature.

Prasanna Ramaswamy who has made a mark in parallel Tamil theatre. Prasanna has directed both Tamil and English plays but Tamil is a natural choice for her. Prasanna, who has a strong background in both Tamil and English literature also. Her work is very strongly female centric and constantly addresses the marginalised and the subaltern. She has a theatre group called Paadini. She has scripted and directed documentaries for Doordarshan. Prasanna who is known for thinking out-of-the-box and for plays that have a strong contemporary feel.

Udayan is a post-modern Gujarati poet. English translations of his poems have appeared in a number of prestigious publications. His book of poems was also translated into Japanese and English. Udayan has recited poetry at about 25 places across the world, including at the Harvard. His first book of poems was prescribed as a textbook at SNDT University, Mumbai.
Two of his books have received the Best Poetry Collection of the Year award from the Gujarat State SahityaAcadamy, and the Gujarati SahityaParishad. He writes a weekly column on world poetry in the newspaper ‘Janmabhumi’ and is the editor of poetryindia.com.

The prolific Bengali and English writer and poet with over thirty titles, Subodh is an Associate Professor of English at the City College, Calcutta University, a Fulbright Fellow for 2016/17, a visiting professor of English at the University of Iowa, US, and a participating poet at the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa, apart from chairing state-run Kobita (poetry) Academy. From 2010 to 2016 Subodh was the guest editor of the Indian Literature, the flagship journal of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi.

He has participated in many international seminars held in France, Greece, the US, Canada and Taiwan. His works, mostly in Bengali, have been well recognised, and has bagged many prestigious honours like the Sahitya Akademi award and Bangabhushan award from the Bengal government.

Sitanshu is among the most eminent representatives of contemporary Gujarati literature. A much celebrated poet and playwright, he is also a critical theorist, translator and academic. His creative, critical and academic works have received wide acclaim in the country and elsewhere. He has received the Kendra Sahitya Akademi award in 1987.
Sitanshu has been invited to recite his poems at many international literary fora in Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Stuttgard, Moscow, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seoul etc and also in Delhi, Jaipur, Shimla, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Guwahati, Patna, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad etc.
A Fulbright Scholar and a Ford West European Fellowship recipient, Sitanshu has a Doctorate in comparative literature from US and another Doctorate in Indian poetics from Mumbai. He has been a professor and chair of Gujarati at the MS University, Baroda, from 1972, and has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris & University of Pennsylvania.

S.Prasannarajan is an editor and essayist who writes on politics, books and ideas. Having worked with the Times of India, the Indian Express and the India Today in the past, he currently edits the Open Magazine. He lives between New Delhi and London.