Scribbles: Literary News by Purple Pencil Project

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We at Purple Pencil Project keep you updated about the latest happenings in the literary world, both national and international, and aim to bring out literary news of the week in this compilation called Scribbles.


Veteran Playwright Girish Karnad passes away

The Indian art and cultural sphere was dealt an unfathomable blow with the passing of veteran playwright and thespian Girish Karnad. A predominantly Kannada writer, Karnad had over the span of his long career collected many prestigious accolades including the Jnanpith Award in 1998 and Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

His plays, written in Kannada, have been translated into English and some Indian languages. He found a new approach of drawing historical and mythological sources from Indian literature to tackle contemporary themes and the existentialist crisis of modern man through characters locked in psychological and philosophical conflicts.

He also dabbled in Indian cinema in the capacity of an actor, starting with Kannada movies and then taking on versatile roles in Bollywood. But he is most fondly remembered as a prolific writer and thinker.

One of the most prominent artistic voices of India, his presence will surely be missed.


JLF Belfast’s 1st edition to be held from June 21st to 23rd in Belfast

The organizers of the famous Jaipur Literature Fest (JLF) will hold the first edition of JLF Belfast in Northern Ireland’s cultural hub and capital, Belfast from June 21st to 23rd. The cultural festival will explore themes that “bind India and Northern Ireland and have deeply affected both nations such as borders and partition, and the concepts of identity and migration, among others” organizer Teamwork Arts said in a statement.

The featured writers include Lucy Caldwell, multi-award-winning author of three novels; Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, iconic Indian transgender rights activist; Pico Iyer, acclaimed travel writer and author of more than a dozen books; esteemed writers Brian Keenan and Patrick Gale; Eric Ngalle Charles, Cameroon-born writer, poet and playwright;  writer and diplomat Navdeep Suri and award-winning poet Ruth Padel.

The three-day festival will have 20 sessions that highlight the multicultural and multi-lingual richness of South Asia.

American Marriage by Tayari Jones wins the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction

Tayari Jones’ American Marriage won the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019. The book has been in the spotlight for a while, having been featured on National Book Award for fiction 2018, Oprah’s Book Club and even former American President Obama’s reading list.

The book highlights themes of racism, class and the flawed justice system of America through the journey of a newly married African-American couple whose marriage undergoes a drastic change after the husband finds wrongfully imprisoned. The wife in the face of this tragedy finds herself getting closer to an old friend André.

The ceremony was held at Bedford Square Gardens, in central London. Tayari Jones was awarded the £30,000 prize and the ‘Bessie’, a limited edition bronze figurine by the artist Grizel Niven.

New Releases

Title of the book: Animalia Indica: The Finest Animal Stories in Indian Literature by Sumana Roy
Description: Extraordinary stories for readers of every stripe. For centuries, the animal kingdom has captured the Indian imagination. And the land of the Panchatantra and the Jataka Tales continues to give rise to literary masterpieces. Some of the greatest stories in modern Indian literature have animals as protagonists. In Animalia Indica, Sumana Roy collects the best fiction written about animals from the past hundred years or so.
Publication:  Aleph Book Company (20 May 2019)                                                                                                                Where to get it: Get the book here.

Web of Stories

Bangalore police stations set up libraries, as a stressbuster for cops

Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police K. Annamalai starts an initiative for libraries in police stations to intellectually stimulate officers in their free time. In a conversation with Indian Express, he told them that they were overwhelmed by the positive responses they received both online and offline from individuals and organizations looking to donate books.

The initiative which began with 20 books each at 17 different police stations of Bengaluru City Police’s south division now has more than 700 books in total now, with Jayanagar leading the race. Each library constitutes of books from different genres including history, law, and order, fiction, and non-fiction apart from inspiring autobiographies, according to police officials.

Literary Awards

The Shakti Bhatt Foundation has invited entries for the 2019 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. In its twelfth year, the prize carries a cash award of Rs 2 lakh and a trophy. The Foundation has invited entries in the following genres: poetry, fiction, graphic novels, creative non-fiction (travel writing, autobiography, biography, and narrative journalism), and drama.

The deadline for publishers and authors to send in first books is July 15, 2019. Books published between June 2018. The specifications for entry are: 1)Books must be published in India. 2) Publications must be in English or translated into English from an Indian language. 3) Vanity press publications are ineligible, the Foundation said in a press release.

The shortlist judges are poet and author Jeet Thayil and author Arshia Sattar, who runs the Sangam House international writers’ residency programme. Three judges will pick the winning entry.

Book-ish Products

Are you an avid Game of Thrones fan? Do you want to A beautiful hand-crank music box that plays you the grand title song of your favorite book-based TV series. Lightweight and portable, this is a definite must-have for GoT fans. Get it here.

Fancy yourself a Sherlock? Dear Watson, this smells like an interesting case. Recreate your favorite detective’s personal space with this subtle smell of leather, freshly delivered newspaper and a hint of pipe smoke. Hand-poured work of fiction that gives a clue of Sherlock’s abode. Get it here.

Akhila Menon

Akhila Menon

Akhila is a connoisseur of hurriedly written poems and random facts. She is often found in the natural habitat of her bed with an open laptop or earmarked book, headphones in and a scalding mug of hot chocolate.

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