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Some words, a lot of meaning

Author and poet Annie Zaidi might not be based in Chandigarh, but sitting back home in Mumbai, she still has an understanding, “that there are very few active libraries in the city.

Some words, a lot of meaning


Manpriya Singh 

Author and poet Annie Zaidi might not be based in Chandigarh, but sitting back home in Mumbai, she still has an understanding, “that there are very few active libraries in the city. Also there is a slight problem when it comes to building the reading habit.” The author makes that observation as she announces the dates and schedule of the 6th Chandigarh Literature Festival, and as the conversation moves from books to outreach programme for young readers to whether the Tricity needs more readers or more writers. “There are enough authors and enough people writing, we only need more readers now.”  

Open letter to Yo Yo 

She may have written the famous Open Letter to Honey Singh (about his infamous abusive language and objectification of women) three years ago, but it still finds its way whenever there is any mention of her works. “That was three years ago,” she laughs before talking what else is wrong with art, music or celluloid. “I believe these things move in cycles, so after masculinity and patriarchy, you’ll find females being pushed to corners and then the cycle changes and tables turn.” 

Of women authors & readers 

While not so much about performing arts, she finds there are still some gaps to be filled and issues to be addressed in the literary world.  “So much is changing already, but there is still a huge problem in the literary world. I feel there are more women readers, but the women writers still don’t command equal respect or readership or necessarily sell as much.” Which is one of the reasons, as an author, she has her pet peeves. “I make it a point to never have anything pink or high heels on my cover because that is what usually happens in the publishing world.” 

Love stories sans romance  

Having written several short stories, poems and essays and a novella; her next is a collection of short stories and another novella. Her last novella, titled Gulab, was an eerie romance between a living man and a ghost, perhaps her next might be too! She corrects, “Not romance but a love story. I don’t write romance novels, they are quite dark.” 

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Annual date with literature  

To be organised by the Adab Foundation in association with Department of English and Cultural Studies, the three-day festival starting November 10, will have literature-based performances, innovatively termed Qissebaazi and Poetrification. There will be a platform strictly for young poets and some even unpublished ones, to be curated by Akhil Katyal and Amy Singh. To ensure there are all the elements to attract literary enthusiasts, film and art lovers, Day 2 will see the movie Simran being screened, followed by a discussion with its director Hansal Mehtra, while on Day 3 Anaarkali of Aaarah will be screened, followed by a session with its director Avinash Das. Then, of course, there are the 10 books, selected by critics to be discussed and dissected at the festival to be held on the Panjab University campus. 

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