Tata Lit Live: Book Bond with Ashwin Sanghi

Tata Literature Live is an International literary festival that is being held from 30th Oct to 2nd November this year. This four year old literary extravaganza has grown to be one of the best Literature festivals of India and this year it is larger than ever with over 120 writers, journalists and poets and more than 4 prime locations across Mumbai for four days of literary excellence. Imagine an event where you could interact with Ben Okri- Booker Prize winner, Neel Mukherjee – Booker Prize Nominee, ViJay Sheshadri – Pulitzer Poet, Devdutt Pattanaik – Historical Fiction Genius, Barkha Dutt – Do I even need to say, and many more – you wouldn’t want to miss it right? Tata Lit. Live is that very event!

As a promo to the festival, the organizers arranged a Book Bond event for bloggers of Mumbai, at Taj Vivanta and I was fortunate enough to escape from office early for the event, which by the way was AWESOME! The book bond event was an interactive session with Ashwin Sanghi – Chankya Chant fame, and Anil Dharkar – Renowned Indian Columnist and editor, and had topics varying from change in Indian fiction grounds, importance and significance of poetry, digital world of books and knowledge, breaking genre norms and traditional vs self-publishing. Ashwin Shanghi, being an author who himself came into the limelight after his first book Rozabal Line was self-published, talked about how self-publishing was a boon to aspiring authors who were refused the book platform by traditional publishers just because they did not belong to the conventional writers’ cluster (journalists, already famous writers and famous people or people with famous backgrounds.) His rise from a book-keeper to a book-write was an inspiring story. Despite his success his willingness to learn and break away from standard genres and try things was what made me a fan of his. He called himself ‘Ashwin a story teller from a India – A country of stories’, and not ‘Ashwin an author.’

The discussion was thrown open to all the bloggers and when asked about the sudden rise in the number of Indian writers, Ashwin correctly mentioned, “Along with the writers the readers have changed too.” Guess the change in reader base is what has influenced this unprecedented rise of writers and bloggers. When asked why poetry is not as popular as story telling in India, Anil Dharkar said, “Poetry is the final distillation of Literature, of thoughts. But very few get it and poets are even less.” He also announced the shortlist for three coveted Book Awards:
  1. First Book Award – Fiction & Non-Fiction (List has Naseeruddin Shah for his autobiography “And Then One Day)
  2. Book of the year Fiction Non- Fiction (List has Neel Mukherjee for his novel ‘The Lives of Others’ which was also shortlisted for Man Booker Prize 2014, and Ramachandra Guha for ‘Gandhi before India’)
  3. Business Book Award  (List has Dev Prasad, Rajiv Narang and Devika Devaiah, and Rama Bijapurkar)

But the highlight of the evening came after the whole discussion, when Ashwin Sanghi autographed copies of Private India (co-written with Jame Patterson) for all the bloggers in the house. It is said a book’s preface most of the time talks of the fate of the book. Imagine if the pre event was such, how would the four days be?


  1. I used to bunk from office to attend Java tech days. Reminded me of past memories. Keep writing. ☺


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