24 November, 2020

Writerly Lives

The ICCR literary festival is here at last and it's meant to be an interface between English and Indian languages

Writerly Lives
February 2002 will be a memorable month in Himachal Som's eventful career. The country's ambassador-designate to Italy is between ambassadorial jobs. But the one that he is about to relinquish is dearer to him because it marks a major milestone in the history of literary India. As the outgoing director-general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), he is capping his long tenure in the country's foreign service establishment with an event, the likes of which have never been held on Indian shores. "No bureaucrat can do this kind of a thing alone," says he, even as his organisation readies to co-host the country's first-ever conclave for Indian writers, irrespective of passport loyalties. Originally planned for December 2001, the International Festival of Indian Literature had to be rescheduled because of post-9/11 obsessions with war, fundamentalism and the war on fundamentalism.

Now as Som and his team sit poring over arrangement details of the six-day conference, beginning February 18 at the Vigyan Bhavan, the excitement is palpable. For, never before has the...


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