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5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

If you’re a writer, you must have experienced the treacherous phenomenon called the ‘writer’s block’. It is the phase when you feel stuck and drinking any amount of coffee cannot get you to finish that one page.
Michael Burns, author of Hack Into your Creativity, gives us some brilliant writing tips and prompts for every type of writer to help them out of the ‘block’.
Here are five easy and exciting ways you can overcome writer’s block:
Writing Prompts
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What Happens Next?

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Character Building
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Genres
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Everyday Magic

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Tell us which tip did you find the most helpful.
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7 Things About Nadeem Aslam that will Leave You Spellbound

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When a young Nadeem Aslam – sixteen years of age – fled from his native Pakistan and settled in England, he barely knew the English language. Back home, Urdu-medium schools had dotted the country and English education had been rare and for the affluent few.
In England, as a teenager, learning and writing in English became Nadeem Aslam’s burning desire – a language in which he would go on to produce highly influential works. As part of his self-imposed “crash-course” to learn English, he started by copying out entire novels by hand and studying the content! “That’s how I learned English, looking at the sentences,” Nadeem Aslam says.
Today, as one of the leading writers from the subcontinent who has made an indelible mark on the international stage, Nadeem Aslam has left behind striking footsteps to follow. Here are few of the fascinating things about him that are going to leave you captivated!
Educating himself and developing as a writer.
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In the company of solitude.
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Words flowing from his mind into his hand, then down the pen, and onto the page – blood becoming ink!
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Breaking out!
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Suffering with pleasure.
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A writer builds his own world!
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Excellence is a consequence of hard work and preparation, isn’t it?
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7 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Alice in Wonderland

Today, on the birthday of one of the greatest writers of all time, Lewis Carroll, we bring to you some facts you might not have heard of the book that gave him legendary status.
Alice in Wonderland came out in 1865 and was an instant success. The book is widely credited with changing the landscape of children’s literature, adding nonsensical fun to what had been a genre obsessed with moralizing.
1. The illustrator and the first edition.2Prominent English illustrator John Tenniel was commissioned to create the accompanying art for the story. When he saw an early copy of the book, Tenniel was upset with how badly his drawings had been reproduced forcing Carroll to spend almost half of his annual salary to get it reprinted. Luckily, once it was published, Alice in Wonderland was an instant success. The rejected printings were later sold in the U.S.
2. The real Alice.1Alice was the name of the daughter of Henry Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College at Oxford, where Carroll taught mathematics. Carroll met the dean and Alice’s older brother first and that was how he came to know the entire family.
3. Alice’s Hour in Elfland.3Carroll was inspired to write the story when he was coming up with a story for the young Alice Liddell on a boating trip. He tried out a few different titles for his novel, the original – presented to the 10-year-old Liddell was ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground.’ When it was picked up he decided to call it Alice’s Hour in Elfland. Another rejected idea was ‘Alice Among the Fairies’.
4. Carroll and the newfangled mathematical theories.7Carroll was a very conservative mathematician and he detested the new forms of math emerging at the time compared to the algebra and Euclidian geometry he favoured. Mathematicians say that riddles like the one the Mad Hatter asks Alice about a raven being like a writing desk, were a reflection on the increasing abstraction that was going on in mathematics in the mid-1800s.
5. The original manuscript.4The original manuscript – the hand-written and illustrated version, belongs to the British Library and it rarely leaves London. When New York City’s Morgan Library managed to get hold of it for an exhibition, here’s what The New York Times had to say about it:
[I]t is accompanied by security measures whose details are cloaked in obfuscation befitting Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Jamie Andrews, the head of cultural engagement for the British Library, said that it was not checked on the flight over (‘We don’t freight things like that’), but he would not say exactly where it was on the plane or who exactly was with it
 It did cause a minor stir at the airport. “I showed the customs form to the customs guy at J. F. K.,” Mr. Andrews said. The man looked at the declared value of the manuscript, a number Mr. Andrews would not divulge. “And he said, ‘Jeez, son, what have you got in there, the crown jewels?’ And in a sense it is our crown jewels.”
6. Alice and brand licensing.5Carroll was one of the first authors to work with manufacturers to bring out related products. This is one of the main reasons why Alice’s tale is so popular, even amongst people who haven’t read it. He understood the importance of tie-ins, designed a postage stamp case decorated with images of Alice and allowed her image to adorn cookie tins and other products.
For fans eager to learn more about the origins of Alice’s tale, he produced a facsimile of the original manuscript, a rare move for an author of his day. Later, he even created a shorter version of the book for toddlers.
7. Alice in Wonderland has never been out of print…6..It has also been translated into 176 languages. The sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, sold out within seven weeks of its publication.

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The popularity of Alice in Wonderland, even after more than 150 years, reminds us that Lewis Carroll’s magnum opus has passed the test of time. We hope these facts serve to make you admire him more.

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
Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in conversation
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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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