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The literature of love and longing: Books to sweep you away this Valentine’s Day!

Few holidays induce as vastly differing reactions as Valentine’s Day, or stir up such a storm of emotion. Whether you’re floating on the throes of first love, nursing a broken heart, enjoying the calm fulfillment of your own company, or simply prefer fictional romance to the messiness of the real thing, we have the book for you!

Our Ultimate Valentine’s Day Book List will give you the perfect book to celebrate love and friendship across the spectrum through the most passionate prose and lyrical longing.

Memory of Light
Memory of Light || Ruth Vanita

If there was place and time truly meant for romance, it was 18th-century Lucknow, a vibrant city full of musicians, poets and courtesans, of languorous lovers and lilting poetry. Amidst this milieu Memory of Light weaves the exquisite tale of the love between-two women courtesan Chapla Bai and young poet Nafis Bai as they exchange letters and conversations feeding each other the heady fruit of desire.

French Lover
French Lover || Nasrin Taslima

The greatest and most basic necessity for a healthy relationship is to be able to know and love oneself. French Lover is a young Bengali woman’s search for love and independence in a strange city. Stifled in an unhappy marriage, Nilanjana’s long road to self-discovery is initiated by Benoir Dupont, a blond, blue-eyed handsome Frenchman. In her passionate, sexually liberating relationship with Benoir, she finally begins to have an inkling of her own desires.

Undying Affinity
Undying Affinity || Sara Naveed

You’ll fall in love as much with the city of Lahore as with the book’s protagonist in this simple yet touching romance by Sara Naveed. Caught between her childhood friend, Haroon and handsome professor, Ahmar, little does beautiful, spoiled Zarish know that one individual can completely change her perspective towards life. Packed with romance, drama and tragedy, Undying Affinity will stay in your heart forever.

The Beauty of the Moment
The Beauty of the Moment || Tanaz Bhathena

There’s nothing quite as intense or as memorable as the pangs of first love and this delightful YA romance truly celebrates the thrilling ‘beauty of that moment’When sharp and driven ‘new girl’, Susan meets ‘bad boy ‘ Malcolm, sparks fly. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.

The Rabbit and the Squirrel
The Rabbit and the Squirrel || Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

The critically acclaimed and delightfully illustrated fable for contemporary times  is perfect for lending a dash of elegant whimsy this Valentine’s Day.   Lit with longing, and tender questions of the heart, The Rabbit and the Squirrel is an ode to the enduring pleasures of friendship, traced through the poignant love story of the eponymous Rabbit and the Squirrel who against all odds are fated for togetherness.

The Penguin Book of Classical Indian Love Stories and Lyrics
The Penguin Book of Classical Indian Love Stories and Lyrics || Ruskin Bond

When modern vocabulary fails to evoke romance for you, this extraordinarily lyrical compilation of love stories and poems from the classical literature and folklore of India will come to the rescue. Curated by the master of nuanced emotions, Ruskin Bond and set in regions of great natural beauty where Kamadeva, the god of love, picks his victims with consummate ease, these stories and lyrics celebrate the myriad aspects of love.

An Extreme Love of Coffee
An Extreme Love of Coffee || Harish Bhat

If you think of love as life’s greatest adventure that hits you like a caffeine kick An Extreme Love of Coffee is your cup of (not)tea!  This faced paced mystery romance follows Rahul and Neha who embark upon a quest for treasure, after drinking a  cup of ‘magic’ coffee, discovering their passion for warm frothy concoctions and each other as they race from the plantations of Coorg to Japanese graveyards!

Half Torn Hearts
Half Torn Hearts || Novoneel Chakraborty

Sometimes Valentine’s Day is a time to reminisce and to dwell upon the fact that first cut is the deepest. Half Torn Hearts is both a thrilling suspense story and a  coming-of-age tale of three layered individuals coming to terms with their first loss, which bares the devil that we all possess but are scared of encountering and which eventually becomes the cause of our own ruins.

The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things || Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. With its exquisite prose , it makes for  an unusual, but lyrical Valentine’s Day pick.

The Secrets We Keep
The Secrets We Keep || Sudeep Nagarkar

This thrilling romance will have you hooked from start to finish following the story of  Rahul, an intelligence officer on a secret mission,  who falls in love with the major’s daughter, Akriti. But is anyone who they seem to be, or is Rahul about to face the biggest shock of his life? 

Eleven Ways to Love
Eleven Ways to Love || Sreshtha, Sangeeta, Nadika Nadja, Dhrubo Jyoti, Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, Preeti Vangani, Shrayana Bhattacharya, Nidhi Goyal, Anushree Majumdar, Sharanya Manivannan, Maroosha Muzaffar, D

Love stories coach us to believe that love is selective, somehow, that it can be boxed in and easily defined. With a foreword by the luminary, Gulazar these eleven remarkable essays,  widen the frame of reference: transgender romance; body image issues; race relations; disability; polyamory; class differences; queer love; long distance; caste; loneliness; the single life; the bad boy syndrome . . . and so much more.

TILL THE LAST BREATH by [Durjoy Datta]
Till The Last Breath || Durjoy Datta

This deeply sensitive story explores love in the context of imminent death and  reminds us what it means to be alive. Two patients, a young brilliant girl fighting to stay alive, and a youthful drug addict who can’t wait to die come together in Room 509. Two reputed doctors, fighting their own demons from the past, are trying everything to keep these two patients alive. These last days in the hospital change the two patients, their doctors and all the other people around them in ways they had never imagined.

Singing in the Dark
Singing in the Dark || K. Satchidanandan, Nishi Chawla

If love is vulnerability, these strange times have made us even more vulnerable. This global anthology brings together the finest of poetic responses to the coronavirus pandemic. More than a hundred of the world’s most esteemed poets reflect upon a crisis that has dramatically altered our lives, and laid bare our vulnerabilities.

You Are All I Need
You Are All I Need || Ravinder Singh (Ed.)

This collection of touching stories selected by Ravinder Singh  is an ode to the myriad facets of love . This book will make you laugh, cry, think and feel, all at the same time with its eclectic collection of love stories that will warm the cockles of your heart!

Prem Purana
Prem Purana || Usha Narayanan

No one is untouched by love, not even devas and asuras, kings and nymphs. This collection of celestial love stories from Indian mythology celebrates the love of Ravana and Mandodari, Nala and Damayanto among many eithers. Tormented by passion, tortured by betrayal and wracked by the agony of separation, these stories deify love in its many splendorous forms.

With Love
With Love || TTT

The go-to portal for sweet, sharp, heart-wrenching stories brings this collection of letters that celebrates all the different forms of love and bonds we make, spanning the spectrum from family to our childhood homes , from  former loves and future husbands.  Deeply personal and intimate, these letters are a great choice to peruse on Valentine’s Day.

This Time Next Year
This Time Next Year || Sophie Cousens

A lovely  contemporary romance that will give you all the warm fuzzies. Quinn and Minnie are born on the same day, but their lives follow completely different trajectories even as fate conspires to bring them together. This moving, joyful love story, This Time Next Year explores the way fate leads us to the people we least expect–no matter what the odds.

The Time Traveler’s Wife || Audrey Niffenegger

This book is a hugely popular modern classic for a reason, its heartwarming, innovative and a moving depiction of the effects of time on love. Henry is a time traveler–cursed with a rare genetic anomaly that causes him to live his life on a shifting timeline, skipping back and forth through the years with no control. Despite the fact that Henry’s travels force them apart with no warning, and never knowing when they will be reunited, he and his wife Clare try to lead a life of normalcy based on an abiding and passionate love.

The Fault in Our Stars || John Green

One of the most popular and  moving love stories of our times, this brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love. Despite the tumour-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by [Becky Albertalli]
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda || Becky Albertalli

An  incredibly funny and poignant, coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance! When an email falls into the wrong hands, sixteen year old and not-so-openly-gay Simon finds his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone without fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Worlds apart but together with love

‘We are full of stories’, writes Ravinder Singh as he opens up his collection of love stories from vastly different lives. Stories create empathy, they open up the seams of our capacity for wonder and compassion, and broaden our understanding of the vagaries of human lives. In You Are All I Need, twenty-five authors share their stories and their worlds with us. Today, we bring you a few of those:


‘Something in the Rain’ by Kaustubhi Singh

I take a little walk in my cubicle for one last time because I’ll be given a clearance today. I sit on the brown wooden chair I used to kick when I was so miserable that the doctors had to tie my hands up. Alcohol was my escape. The idea of alcohol was not pleasure but an escape, because when that warm liquor burns your throat, it starts dissolving the hurt stuck down there and slowly numbs you so you don’t feel the hurt. Heartbreak isn’t beautiful; it isn’t some literature; it’s not listening to sad songs or something like that. It’s feeling okay for a minute and then starting to feel their ghost around you, their touch on your skin. You miss them, you miss them so much that you choke on your memories with them.

Dr Mayank Sharma, my shrink, almost my age, tells me that it will always hurt, and it will make one cry and scream till one’s nose is blocked and eyes puffy; that hurt is inevitable but it will hurt less, and I will see and understand why someone did what they did. And I think I understand. When I look back to the day Robbie left me for another woman, he said he had grown out of love and I stood there thinking: Where did I go wrong? But thinking about it now makes me realize I did everything to truly belong to Robbie. I changed myself for him, I changed my ways and choices for him when I should have let him love me for who I was, because that’s what love is, that’s what love is supposed to be—loving someone for who they are.


‘A Tender Ray of Love’ by Nandita Warrier

She was six; he was eight. He found her irritating and called her a ‘complaint box’; she found him obnoxious and called him a ‘monster’. They fought in every get-together.

…She was twelve; he was fourteen. He secretly detested her scholarly attitude; she was swept by his charm and wrote about him in her secret diary.

…She was eighteen; he was twenty. She aspired to be a doctor; he was determined to be one of the ‘Men in Blue’.

Their paths were growing apart, just like their personalities. They rarely met, and when they did, she was more awkward than before. He didn’t seem interested in her and she was torn whether or not to share her feelings with him.

And then something happened. He did something terrible—unforgivable! She had held him in such high regard all along, loved him with all her heart, but he had treated her like trash. She was shattered.

…She was twenty-seven; he was twenty-nine. She was a bright, young surgeon winning people over; he was a lost and bitter soul, spewing venom at everyone.

She was twenty-eight; he was thirty. She was full of dreams; he was broken.

Front cover of You Are All I Need
You Are All I Need||Ravinder Singh

That night, she slept early because she had a morning duty in the ICU. That night, he slept late after emptying a bottle of sleeping pills.

Just as Ramya reached the hospital, she was summoned to the OT for an emergency procedure. ‘Suicide attempt,’ someone whispered. Dr Iyer was instructing the team when Ramya joined them in her OT scrubs. She threw a casual look at the patient and immediately recoiled. It was Rohan! Oh no, how could this be? Memories from her childhood, locked away in some corner, defiantly barged in, making her want to sob.

He looked so pale and pitiable—a mere shadow of the handsome young man she remembered from their last meeting years back! Rohan had had everything going for him—what could have possibly gone so wrong? Sensing her discomfort, Dr Iyer enquired, ‘You know him?’

‘Family friend,’ she uttered nonchalantly, hiding the wave of sadness sweeping over her.


‘Love in the Times of Marriage’ by Aparajita Shishoo

When Adil saw her across the room, his heart skipped a beat. He couldn’t take his eyes off Meera’s radiant face. He decided to walk up to her.

‘Hi,’ Adil said.

Meera was standing alone, enjoying the party her friend, Kanika, had thrown. Meera turned to look at Adil and smiled back at him with a soft ‘hi’.

Adil continued, ‘You seem to be the arty-farty type. What are you doing at a filmy party?’

Meera was a bit tipsy by that time, so she retorted, ‘I am definitely farty, but with some arty. What about you?’

Adil laughed out loud at her candour and asked her again what she was doing at such a party.

‘I am fishing for some juicy stories for my publication. You?’

‘I am trying to make some juicy stories!’ Adil winked at Meera.

Meera laughed and asked, ‘Are you flirting with me?’ ‘Are you noticing?’ Adil said.
Meera shot back, ‘I am ignoring . . . I don’t flirt with boys who have just entered puberty.’
‘Oh! That hurt . . . really hurt!’ Adil said, imitating a heartbreak. ‘By the way, I am twenty-five, well beyond my puberty years.’

Meera laughed again at Adil’s dramatics, and they continued their conversation.

Adil was a cinematographer in the Hindi film industry and the camera was his first love, but right now his own lenses were fixed on Meera’s face. ‘So what brings you to Mumbai?’

‘Change,’ said Meera, after a pause.

…At the other end of the room, Kanika noticed the chemistry between the two and was happy that her friend was finally enjoying flirting and chatting up guys.


Lose yourself in stories that will stay with you for a long, long time. 

Ravinder Singh on Road Safety

Ravinder Singh is a bestselling author. In his books I Too Had  Love Story and Will You Still Love Me?  he passionately advocates the need for road safety.  In our new release, Your Happiness was Hacked authors Vivek Wadhwa and Alex Salkever talk about the importance of detaching from technology in order to lead more enriching lives and one of the issues that they deal with is the use of electronic devices while driving, which have led to increasing cases of accidents
Writing in a similar vein, Ravinder Singh addresses the dangers of using smart phones and how we can use smart devices under checked measures:
Research says that an average smartphone user checks his phone every six and a half minutes. Pretty consistent, isn’t it? But is this consistency something that we should be proud of?
Let us look at the bigger picture for a moment. Smartphones are the product of technology, something that was meant to save our time, make us efficient, and simplify our lives; but we know anything in excess is way more harmful than not having it in the first place. Nothing demonstrates this better than the perils of technology. In fact there is evidence that excessive use of technology can begin to actually rewire our brains to make us less adept at dealing with real human connections.
Linda Stone, who worked on emerging technologies at both Apple and Microsoft, coined the term “continuous partial attention”. This is the state of always being partly tuned into everything, and never being completely tuned into anything. In simple and millennial language: FOMO (Fear of missing out).
And this FOMO is exactly the reason why an average smartphone user checks his phone every six and a half minutes! Of course, there is science behind technology rewiring our mind in way that FOMO becomes our constant state of being, but that’s a different discussion altogether.
In 2016, using mobile phones while driving led to 2100 deaths in India. And these are just the reported figures, released by Ministry of Transport.
It’s not that we are not aware of the fatal risks involved in using mobile phones while driving, but we are so anxious about missing out on calls or social media updates, that we completely ignore the fact that this could cost us our life! By using mobile phones while driving, we not only put our lives in danger, but also the lives of others on the road.
This is not the not the first article that talks about the importance of using technology consciously to ensure road safety. It won’t be the last either. Enough has been said about the dangers, the accident figures, and risks involved. Let us discuss what each one of us can do, to ensure that we don’t fall victim to “distracted driving”, a concise term for falling prey to FOMO while driving:
On the surface:

  1. Find a safe spot:

Should it be urgent to attend to that call/text, find a safe spot, stop the car/bike, and then attend to it. Period. No alternate option here.
And this is not just for the time when you are driving, but also for the moments when someone else is driving the car, and they receive a phone call. Agreed, not every person would take that nudge positively, but how about leveraging the power of reverse psychology here? For instance, when my cab driver receives a call while driving, I don’t question or snap at him, instead, I very patiently tell him – I understand your call is important, but please stop the car on the side, and then attend to it. And voila! In most cases, the driver then chooses to not attend to the call at that moment. This simple nudge, in a positive way, triggers an awareness in the driver’s mind, which leads to him feeling not-so-good about wanting to attend an unnecessary call while driving, and he is then able to better prioritize the importance of attending or not attending to that call, in that instance.

  1. Judicious use of time at the traffic signal:

Agreed, more often than not, traffic signals can be boring and long, and a quick call or response to a text can be accommodated. But again, a ‘quick’ call or ‘a’ text. Getting into a long conversation, while waiting at the traffic signal and not disconnecting the call when the signal turns green, brings you back to square one.

  1. Connect with yourself:

In her widely acclaimed book Thrive, Arianna Huffington says, “Technology allows us to be so hyperconnected to the outside world that we can lose connection to our inner world”. With corporates and societal pressure pushing people to be connected and available all the time, this couldn’t be more true.
And what does this result in? An anxious mind, a stressed body, and a robotic lost soul, functioning on auto-pilot! How about using your driving time to connect with yourself? How about utilizing this driving time, as your “me” time? Isn’t that something we all need, but just can’t seem to have time for?
So, start by turning your phone on silent, no vibration, and not synced with the car audio system. And then, choose what you want to do with your “me” time. It could be anything: listening to the music you love, practising mindfulness (ways to do this while driving are widely available) or just enjoying the journey!

  1. Use Post-its!

Sounds cliched, but extremely effective! Nobody gets up every morning and says to themselves, “Today I am going on have an adventure by talking on phone while driving, because although fatally risky, it gives me the thrill!”. We do what we do, out of habits of convenience that we formed over the years.
Naturally, when you try to change them now, your mind will resist the change. You might turn your phone on silent one day, and then forget from the next. Isn’t this what that happens every time we try to change a habit? The mind loves to be rigid and can trick you into giving up.
A simple reminder, put on your dashboard in a visible spot, can centre you back, remind you the purpose of what you are doing, and hence help you sustain the activity, till it becomes a habit.
Remember, your life is precious. You are precious, for this world, for the people around you, and the people waiting for you back home!
Your Happiness was Hacked turns personal observation into a handy guide to adapting to our new reality of omnipresent technology.

Penguin Fever Schedule

It’s that time of the year again but this time it’s under the autumn sky. Six days of literature extravaganza is going to start from October 26, with numerous literary icons as panelists.
Here are the dates you should mark on your calendar.
October 26, 7PM: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy in conversation with Shohini Ghosh
October 27, 7PM: Zara sa jhoom loo main – Shobhaa De on turning seventy – and having a blast! In conversation with Vidya Balan. Sonia Singh to moderate
October 28, 5PM: Inconvenient Truths: Are we heading for an environmental disaster – Sunita Narain, Prerna Bindra, and Pradip Krishen
October 28, 7PM: The Heart of the Matter – Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, and Sudeep Nagarkar in conversation with RJ Ginnie
October 29, 5PM: The Man from the Hills – Ruskin Bond on life, writing, and his love for lemon cheesecake!
October 29, 7PM: Criminal Minds – Brijesh Singh, Ravi Subramanian, Novoneel Chakraborty. Poonam Saxena will moderate the session
October 30, 7PM: The Line of Beauty – Perumal Murugan, Kannan Sundaram, Bibek Debroy, Rana Safvi, Namita Gokhale as moderator
October 31, 7PM: The Rise of the Elephant – Shashi Tharoor, Gurcharan Das, Sonu Bhasin, Shireen Bhan as moderator
Open Air Library: October 26–31, 11AM onwards
If you haven’t already, register for the Penguin Fever here:
See you there!

The Boy Who Loved — An Exclusive Excerpt

1 January 1999
Hey Raghu Ganguly (that’s me),
I am finally putting pen to paper. The scrunch of the sheets against the fanged nib, the slow absorption of the ink, seeing these unusually curved letters, is definitely satisfying; I’m not sure if writing journal entries to myself like a schizophrenic is the answer I’m looking for. But I have got to try. My head’s dizzy from riding on the sinusoidal wave that has been my life for the last two years. On most days I look for ways to die—the highest building around my house, the sharpest knife in the kitchen, the nearest railway station, a chemist shop that would unquestioningly sell twenty or more sleeping pills to a sixteen-year-old, a packet of rat poison—and on some days I just want to be scolded by Maa–Baba for not acing the mathematics exam, tell Dada how I will beat his IIT score by a mile, or be laughed at for forgetting to take the change from the bania’s shop.
I’m Raghu and I have been lying to myself and everyone around me for precisely two years now. Two years since my best friend of four years died, one whose friendship I thought would outlive the two of us, engraved forever in the space– time continuum. But, as I have realized, nothing lasts forever. Now lying to others is fine, everyone does that and it’s healthy and advisable—how else are you going to survive the suffering in this cruel, cruel world? But lying to yourself? That shit’s hard, that will change you, and that’s why I made the resolution to start writing a journal on the first of this month, what with the start of a new year and all, the last of this century.
I must admit I have been dilly-dallying for a while now and not without reason. It’s hard to hide things in this house with Maa’s sensitive nose never failing to sniff out anything Dada, Baba or I have tried to keep from her. If I were one of those kids who live in palatial houses with staircases and driveways I would have plenty of places to hide this journal, but since I am not, it will have to rest in the loft behind the broken toaster, the defunct Singer sewing machine and the empty suitcases.
So Raghu, let’s not lie to ourselves any longer, shall we? Let’s say the truth, the cold, hard truth and nothing else, and see if that helps us to survive the darkness. If this doesn’t work and I lose, checking out of this life is not hard. It’s just a seven-storey drop from the roof top, a quick slice of the wrist, a slip on the railway track, a playful ingestion of pills or the accidental consumption of rat poison away. But let’s try and focus on the good.
Durga. Durga.
12 January 1999
Today was my first day at the new school, just two months before the start of the tenth-standard board exams. Why Maa– Baba chose to change my school in what’s said to be one of the most crucial year in anyone’s academic life is amusing to say the least—my friendlessness. 
‘If you don’t make friends now, then when will you?’ Maa said. They thought the lack of friends in my life was my school’s problem and had nothing to do with the fact that my friend had been mysteriously found dead, his body floating in the still waters of the school swimming pool. He was last seen with  me. At least that’s what my classmates believe and say. Only I know the truth.
When Dada woke me up this morning, hair parted and sculpted to perfection with Brylcreem, teeth sparkling, talcum splotches on his neck, he was grinning from ear to ear. Unlike me he doesn’t have to pretend to be happy. Isn’t smiling too much a sign of madness? He had shown the first symptoms when he picked a private-sector software job over a government position in a Public Sector. Undertaking which would have guaranteed a lifetime of unaccountability. Dada may be an IITian but he’s not the smarter one of us. 
‘Are you excited about the new school, Raghu? New uniform, new people, new everything? Of course you’re excited! I never quite liked your old school. You will make new friends here,’ said Dada with a sense of happiness I didn’t feel. ‘Sure. If they don’t smell the stench of death on me.’ ‘Oh, stop it. It’s been what? Over two years? You know how upset Maa–Baba get,’ said Dada. ‘Trust me, you will love your new school! And don’t talk about Sami at the breakfast table.’ ‘I was joking, Dada. Of course I am excited!’ I said, mimicking his happiness.
Dada falls for these lies easily because he wants to believe them. Like I believed Maa–Baba when they once told me, ‘We really liked Sami. He’s a nice boy.’ Sami, the dead boy, was never liked by Maa–Baba. For Baba it was enough that his parents had chosen to give the boy a Muslim name. Maa had more valid concerns like his poor academic performance, him getting caught with cigarettes in his bag, and Sami’s brother being a school dropout. Despite all the love they showered on me in the first few months after Sami’s death, I thought I saw what could only be described as relief that Sami, the bad influence, was no longer around. Now they use his name to their advantage. ‘Sami would want you to make new friends,’ they would say. I let Maa feed me in the morning. It started a few days after Sami’s death and has stuck ever since.
Maa’s love for me on any given day is easily discernible from the size of the morsels she shoves into my mouth. Today the rice balls and mashed potatoes were humungous. She watched me chew like I was living art. And I ate because I believe the easiest way to fool anyone into not looking inside and finding that throbbing mass of sadness is to ingest food. A person who eats well is not truly sad. While we ate, Baba lamented the pathetic fielding placement of the Indian team and India’s questionable foreign policy simultaneously.
‘These bloody Musalmans, these filthy Pakistanis! They shoot our soldiers…
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6 Sessions to Look Out for at JLF ’17

It’s that time of the year!
10 years since the first JLF, the Festival has grown into the world’s largest free event of its kind. Having hosted 1300 speakers and welcomed nearly 1.2 million book lovers, its success has been astonishing and heartwarming.
Some of the biggest Penguin authors have rocked the stage at JLF and this year promises to be even better. From commercial superstars to critical bigwigs, this year we are getting the crème de la crème from our author roster.
Here are a few of the sessions you’ll not want to miss at the Festival.
Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in conversation
People usually run out of superlatives when talking about the evergreen Gulzar. One of the greatest artists to ever grace the JLF, Gulzar Sahib’s session, along with Pavan K. Varma, will be on his latest work – Suspected Poems. You’ll not want to miss his musings on poetry, literature and the state of the world.
Tabish Khair
Manju Kapur and Tabish Khair in conversation with Ashok Ferrey
Currently teaching English at Aarhus University in Denmark, Tabish Khair was born and educated in Bihar. At the session, the former journalist will be talking to Ashok Ferrey about the context and inspiration for his works. He will also talk about his book Jihadi Jane, a powerful novel about two Muslim girls who decide to join ISIS.
You can also catch him at the Festival along with Saeed Naqvi, Qaisra Shahraz, Sadia Dehlvi and Ornit Shani as they talk of the conflicts and polarities of being an Indian Muslim in an increasingly divided world.
Ashok Ferrey
Ashok Ferrey, Kyoko Yoshida and Marina Perezagua in conversation with Sunil Sethi
Ashok Ferrey will be in conversation with Sunil Sethi on the pursuit of fiction that involves a leap of faith between material and literary reality. He will be joined by other notable contemporary writers as they also discuss how writers enter and access fictional journey. The bestselling Sri Lankan author will also explore the devil within as he discusses his latest book The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons.
From talking about the thin red line between a person’s beliefs and politics with Tabish Khair to joining Ashwin Sanghi on his talk about the art of writing thrillers, Ashok Ferrey will also be at various other sessions with other authors.
Ravinder Singh
Ira Trivedi and Ravinder Singh in conversation with Lucy Beresford
Romantic fiction reaches out across time and history to every successive generation with tales of love. The King of Romance, Ravinder Singh’s session is about love in contemporary India. The author who is known for writing from the heart, about the heart will speak about the psychology and the changing mores of love in our times.
Devdutt Pattanaik
Devdutt Pattanaik introduced by Amrita Tripathi
Ancient Greece and India have both bequeathed a lasting body of myth to the world. In his latest work Olympus, Devdutt Pattanaik attempts to understand how an Indian reader raised on a steady diet of local myths and legends might respond to classical Greek mythology. By reversing the gaze, he explores the fascinating connections between these stories and sagas. At the Festival, Pattanaik will talk about both the mythologies and their lasting legacy.
Devdutt Pattanaik will have two more sessions at JLF – on the history and legacy of the Vedas and on his book The Girl Who Chose.
Arshia Sattar
Arshia Sattar and Volga in conversation with Vayu Naidu
A symbol of chastity and loyalty, the goddess Sita has evolved into a feminist icon for her silent strength and endurance. In her session, Arshia Sattar will talk about her highly acclaimed translation of the ‘Uttara Kanda’. She will talk about the sacrifice, choice and the complex moral universe of the Ramayana.
Arshia Sattar will also be in various other sessions at the Festival discussing atheism in the ancient world to understanding the brilliant A.K. Ramanujan.


The themes of equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins bringing humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers together on stage. Access to these renowned thinkers along with some of the finest writers in the world provides a potentially life-changing opportunity to visitors.
We hope to see you at Jaipur!


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