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Anjum Katyal

Anjum Katyal

Anjum Katyal

What did you like most about Valley of Words 2018?

The ambience of the festival, with its venues spread across the grounds of the hotel, and the stalls offering interesting locally produced NGO products, was charming and inviting, and is a major part of its attraction to those attending.
One of my favourite moments was to see Namita Gokhale interact with students over her book Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions,sharing the stage with fellow writer Anita Agnihotri. Another memorable moment was my candid chat with Jairam Ramesh on his book on Indira Gandhi.

A mix of well known and younger poets; and lots of interaction between the poets and poetry lovers.

A few words of criticism too, please? What could VoW have done better?

A few logistic glitches like changes in session venues and timings could be avoided. Including local cultural talent in the evenings was a good idea, and perhaps that could be expanded this year.
Given its vast popularity in terms of people who like to write poetry, I feel that literary platforms still do not offer enough opportunity for interactions over poetry – conversations, performative readings, discussions, translations.
I think it’s a good trend. The standards are uneven but that is a basic element one should expect from open mics. It is good to encourage fresh talent in such informal settings.

About the Interviewee:

Anjum Katyal has been the Chief Editor, Seagull Books, Calcutta (1987–2006) and Editor, Seagull Theatre Quarterly (1994-2004), as well as the Web Editor, Saregama-HMV (2006-11) and Editor, Art and the City, a web magazine on the contemporary arts in India (2010-13).

As the editorial head of a specialist arts publisher, she was responsible for a broad range of books on art and culture between 1987 and 2006. She is the author of HabibTanvir: Towards an Inclusive Theatre (SAGE, 2012). She has translated HabibTanvir's Charandas Chor and Hirmaki Amar Kahani (The Living Tale of Hirma), as well as Usha Ganguli's Rudali and stories by Mahasweta Devi and Meera Mukherjee. She is translating Habib Tanvir's Bahadur Kalarin.

She has been involved in organising several exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as writing catalogues for exhibitions by Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Somnath Hore, Manu Parekh, Madhvi Parekh, Reba Hore and Nasreen Moochhala.

She has a background in education and teacher training. A published poet, she also sings the blues, and writes on theater and the visual arts.

Her latest book is Badal Sircar: Towards a Theater of Conscience.