Posts made in April, 2015

Literature Studio Summer Scholarship (Season 2) – And here are the winners…

Literature Studio Summer Scholarships were announced for the first time in 2014 and Shreeya Sharma and Shreya Pothula were the winners. Encouraged by the sessions we had with them, we decided to increase the number of scholarships this time. When we announced the Season 2 of Literature Studio Summer Scholarship we weren’t prepared for the sheer quality or the variety of the entries we would be receiving. And as expected, it made judging all the more challenging. But it was a pleasure as always to read evocative short stories, biographical essays, and thought-provoking articles children chose to send in. Congratulations to those who made it to the list. Those who didn’t, please don’t lose heart. All submissions we received this year were of the highest quality and the only factor coming in the way of us awarding you too is the limited number of scholarships. Your writing is precious, and you should be proud of it whether or not you win. And, now, ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the Literature Studio Summer Scholars of 2015: Winners of 100% scholarship (A Creative Writing course worth Rs. 25,000/-)  Aashutosh Mukherjee, a student of class VIII from Delhi, loves to read and likes to try his hand at writing too. He is looking forward to the short story course, as he hopes that this will bring in some discipline in his writing activity. He also looks forward to improving his skill in terms of being able to elaborate on a plot and learning the art of story telling. In his own words: “I will learn to think and express myself under the aegis of Literature Studio.” Lily Sperber is a 15 year old from New York who loves to read, and listen to music. She also enjoys keeping up her Instagram Fanpage, spending time with family and watching TV shows and movies. She is very persistent in accomplishing her goals, and works hard in school. Her main goal is to make a difference in people’s lives, the same way so many have impacted hers. Winners of 50% scholarship (A basic Creative Writing course worth Rs. 12,500/-, with an option to upgrade to the Advanced Course) Meenakshi Sunil is a 15 year old class X student from Wayanad, Kerala, who hopes to one day become a Software Engineer, Creative Writer, and a volunteer for a nongovernmental organization, and also explore the world travelling solo. She is a member of the editorial board of her school magazine and a district level winner in Guitar Western and Carnatic Music. She loves hanging out at Café Coffee Day and eating at KFC and Dominos. Udupi joints are her favorite too. Her favorite books are Diaries of Wimpy Kid, Two States, Malgudi School Days. Tushita Tandon is a 15-year-old student ,studying in class X. She loves to read and spends her spare time writing, which she does a lot a lot. She wishes to go abroad for her higher studies and wants to pursue science in her life ahead. She enjoys dancing and writing poems and short stories. She is her school topper not only in academics but also in co-curricular activities. Congratulations to the winners and we look forward to getting started with the courses. Best, Team at Literature Studio...

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5th Writers’ Circle – Three welcomes, a farewell, and much much more

Yesterday, we had the 5th Writers’ Circle, and what a fantastic evening it was. Apart from the fantastic readings and discussions, this circle was special for several reasons. Three Welcomes: We had three new people joining us this time. Tanvi participated as a reader and the most attentive one at that. Rinku, who is still discovering the writer in her, was there to experience the Circle. We hope to see her pick up her writing instruments and start scribbling away pretty soon. Amitabha, a filmmaker, was there for inspiration, and we do hope we managed to inspire him to some extent. A Farewell: Ninad, a regular member of our group, is leaving the city for what sounds like a long time. Though he will be participating by sending in his stories every month, it won’t be the same as having him here with us. So we organized a small sendoff for him. We wish him the best, and he will be sorely missed. A Film: We watched a short clip of a film by Amitabha, starring Ninad. It was decided that we will watch one whole 40-minute-long film in the next writers’ circle. A Musical Performance: We concluded the day with an awesome flute recital by the very talented Raghav. Now we know where all the soulfulness in his writing comes from. Brilliant writer and now a brilliant musician too. A Brilliant Guest Writer: Vineetha Mokkil, the author of a happy place, joined us for an hour. She shared insights about writing and publishing short stories – the roadblocks, the challenges, and the opportunities. She signed books for the participants while we enjoyed Ninad’s farewell cake. So you can see how our Circle is growing. I wish we stay this way for a long, long time.        ...

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Remembering the father of postmodernism – Happy Birthday, Samuel Beckett

Today marks the 109th birthday of Samuel Beckett, and Irish avant-garde playwright, poet, novelist, and theatre director. A popular and one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Beckett is counted amongst the last of the modernists writers. Beckett was strongly influenced by fellow modernist writer James Joyce. In turn, Beckett became an influence for many writers after him due to which Beckett is considered as one of the fathers of the postmodernism movement. Born into a protestant, middle-class Irish family, Beckett is often called a recluse and is known to have bouts of depression even as a young man. He once remarked on his childhood, “I had little talent for happiness.” His “depression” found its way in his writings as well and is especially evident in Vladimir and Estragon’s endless wait in one of his most famous work Waiting for Godot (translation of his own original French play, En attendant Godot). Several of Beckett’s experiences from his travel through Ireland, France, England, and Germany had appearance in his writings. “No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.” – Samuel Beckett Beckett made Paris his home in 1937 and though he wrote in French as well as English, majority of his works were written in French. His works have been translated into over twenty languages. His works presented the absurdity of human existence and were rich in black humour. Along with Waiting for Godot, Endgame (Fin de partie), Krapp’s Last Tape, and Happy Days were also very successful and still read across the globe. His three famous novels – Molloy, Malone Dies (Malone meurt), and The Unnamable (L’innommable) – are often regarded as a trilogy; though Beckett explicitly refused to acknowledge them as such. Beckett also created a treasure in poetry; his first major publication – Whoroscope – was in fact a poem. His poetry is equally complex, and at times baffling, as his prose. -Article by Priyanka Kharbanda...

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Remembering the Champion of Street Theatre – Happy Birthday, Safdar Hashmi

A communist playwright and director, Safdar Hashmi is best remembered for his powerful street plays. Hashmi was born on 12 April 1954 in Delhi. He spent his early years in Delhi and Aligarh. Hashmi became associated with the cultural unit of Communist Party of India’s student wing during his years spent in Delhi University where he earned his bachelors and masters degree in English literature. And it was also during this time that he became a part of IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association). Eventually Hashmi created his own theatre group in 1973, called Jan Natya Manch, which is popularly known by its acronym JANAM. Hashmi is believed to have brought the culture of protest to Indian street theatre; a fact that harboured much criticism and opposition towards him. Though JANAM’s performance of political plays were the primary medium of Hashmi’s political activism; he also worked  for newspaper and even as a lecturer during the emergency of 1975. He also wrote books for children and on Indian theatre; and even produced some shows for Doordarshan. However, in 1984 he left all other jobs and political activism became his sole focus. He performed several plays with JANAM, often critiquing the current political scenario/personalities. And it was during one such performance that Safdar Hashmi was attacked fatally by a crowd. On 1 January 1989 he was performing ‘Halla Bol’ in Ghaziabad supporting the then Communist Party candidate. The performance was disrupted by goons. Hashmi was grievously injured and succumbed to his injuries. “Comrade Safdar, we do not mourn you, we remember you in celebration.” Qamar Hashmi, mother of Safdar Hashmi His shocking death at the age of 34 was a great loss to Indian theatre, though the spirit of Hashmi is still continues to be celebrated. His works, his struggle, and his brutal death is often remembered by artists and “comrades” as a source of inspiration. In 1989, several artists collaborated to found Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, popularly known as SAHMAT. It strives to keep the essence of Hashmi alive. Every year SAHMAT celebrates 1 January as the ‘day of resolve’. -Article by Priyanka Kharbanda...

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Remembering William Wordsworth || The Incurable Romantic

William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumberland. Having spent much of his childhood surrounded by the surreal landscapes of the Lake District, Wordsworth grew up with an affinity to nature and this trait found its way into his poetry. Wordsworth, along with his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is credited with leading the way for the Romantic Age of Poetry with their collaborative publication of the Lyrical Ballads in 1798. Wordsworth lost his mother when he was eight years old and his father five years later. Wordsworth’s younger sister, Dorothy, was a poet and a diarist. The siblings shared a close bond with each other throughout their life. Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher. -William Wordsworth Wordsworth is believed to have made his first attempts at verse when he attended Hawkshead Grammar School. Wordsworth published his first poem (a sonnet) in 1787 in The European Magazine, and that same year he started at St. John’s College in Cambridge, graduating in 1791. Before his final semester, he went on a walking tour of Europe during which came in contact with the French Revolution. It was during this time, and his subsequent stay in France, that he became interested in the concerns of the “common man”. These experiences moulded his political views as well as his creative expressions and his views were often reflected in his works. How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold. -William Wordsworth Wordsworth published his first collections of poems, An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches, in 1793. But his most famous work, the semiautobiographical The Prelude (1850), is often termed as “the crowning achievement of English romanticism” and is thought to have heralded a new genre of poetry. Wordsworth worked on the poem, which was then titled “Poem to Coleridge”, throughout his life, revising it several times, but the actual publication happened posthumously. William Wordsworth died from an aggravated case of pleurisy on at Rydal Mount on 23 April 1850 at the age of 70. His wife Mary published the “Poem to Coleridge” as The Prelude three months later. The poem almost passed unnoticed at the time, but has since come to be recognized as a masterpiece....

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