One of India’s most prominent and biggest literary agencies, The Book Bakers, launched their first ever online literature festival this April. The literary festival, which took place from 6th April to 12th April, was a week-long affair that saw a staggering gathering of close to 600 authors from about 27 countries, all represented by the agency, spread over 91 sessions. The Lit Fest was streamed live on The Book Bakers Facebook group from 10 a.m. to 9:20 p.m. daily.
With celebrated writers from around the world participating, the Lit Fest intended to connect readers with authors, and bring meaningful conversations to the realm of literature. The online event was a respite for bibliophiles and literature lovers in the Coronavirus lockdown, for it provided them an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the contemporary literary scene.
Sanjeev Mathur, co-founder of the agency says, “The idea was to give literature lovers a unique array of compelling sessions and fantastic authors during this period of lockdown, and we are happy with the infectious enthusiasm everyone has shown.”
Encompassing an eclectic mix of bestselling authors, Bollywood and cricket celebrities, ISKCON preachers, motivational speakers, paranormal experts, business leaders, Armed Forces personnel, leading journalists, political analysts and decorated police officers, the literature festival seemed to be in a league of its own, garnering over 75,000 views and counting.
“The best thing about the festival was that all genres possible were covered, right from the rise of non-fiction to the literature from Kashmir and the North East. Having been represented by The Book Bakers for 6 of my books, I was honoured to be a part of this marathon literature festival which was carried out extremely efficiently”, said noted journalist Ashwini Bhatnagar, whose 6 books with The Book Bakers literary agency are being signed up by 3 production houses for web and film rights.
The sessions on spirituality and success by ISKCON gurus Gauranga Prabhu and Rasika Raman Prabhu were well received, while business leaders like Bhupendra Suri and Runjhun Noopur kept the viewers hooked with their talk on the success of business books in India. Paranormal experts Jay Alani and Sarbajeet Mohanty, in conversation with leading horror writer, Neil D’Silva spooked the audience; while bestselling crime novelists, Kulpreet Yadav, Nupur Anand, Manjiri Prabhu, Anurag Anand, Moitrayee Bhaduri and Debleena Mazumdar were seen alongside Anirban Bhattacharya, producer of the crime show Savdhaan India; and Akash Khurana, noted Bollywood actor-writer.
Bestselling Army biographers and authors, Kiran Nirvan who are co-authoring the book version of Karan Johar’s forthcoming The Kargil Girl; and top cop Aloke Lal, known for carrying out one of the most successful drug raids in police history, kept the audience hooked.
Media personality Vineet Malhotra was a part of several sessions. One session was on the topic of the emergence of sporting biographies, and on the successful journey of the 1983 Cricket World Cup, in which he was in conversation with W.V. Raman, Indian Women’s Cricket team’s head coach; Salil Ankola, former India speedster and actor; and Nikhil Naz, sports anchor and author.
Romance lovers had the opportunity to hear authors Shuchi Kalra, Aarti V Raman, Sujata Parashar, Shilpa Suraj and Kiran Manral live, while the entire team of India’s biggest boy band, A Band Of Boys created hysteria with their singing and antics.
Kashmiri authors were represented by well known authors Ayaz Rasool Nazki, Shabbir Mir and Ashraf Lone. The session on Health and fitness with fitness gurus Rrashima Verma, Chirag Bagadia, Dr. Shantanu Sharma, and Yoginis Pragya Bhatt and Varuna Shunglu was a big hit. NRI authors Menaka Ramakrishnan, Chandana Roy, Jayant Swamy and Sangeeta Bahadur also engaged in enlivening sessions.
The Lit Fest concluded on a high note, with the last session on the theme of Why Bollywood Books Sell Well. “I am elated to have witnessed the superlative growth of the agency over the years, and being part of this festival is like homecoming for me,” said award winning author and co-founder of The Book Bakers, Suhail Mathur, who was seen in the last session with award winning lyricist Sameer Anjaan, actor Tusshar Kapoor, and RJ Stutee Ghosh.