Tag Archives: TFA

Launch of Show Me A Hero

I was a bit leery of today’s event – for one thing, the book in question has a giant cricket ball on the cover, with a batsman silhouetted against it mid-stroke. I am one of those unfortunate bigots who not only does not like cricket but switches off intellectually every time it is mentioned in conversation. (It also doesn’t help that the author looks like a wee fresher in college and I wanted to pinch his cheeks, but I contained myself and didn’t mention it. At all. Ever.) But I feel a sort of TFA solidarity nowadays, and I do feel a little, well, like I should go and read and buy newer authors even if they’re crap or talk about cricket.

Cover design by "omendu"

Show Me a Hero is Aditya Sudarshan‘s second novel. It’s described as a murder mystery and a coming-of-age novel (my personal favourite sort), and follows two young men, just out of college, as they attempt to document the life of an excellent but unloved batsman. (Sudarshan likened him to Sachin Tendulkar in terms of skill, but his complete opposite in terms of respectability.)

There was some awkwardness with the “launching” – how does one launch a book, anyway? Arul Mani recollected someone who literally threw the book at the audience, which seems the closest to appropriate to me, but apparently will not actually do. Mani waved the book embarrassedly in the air, and that did for us.

Based on the two extracts Sudarshan read out, and the ten pages I have just read myself, I wouldn’t say that Sudarshan has fabulous prose – but he is functional, accessible, and peppers his otherwise slightly flat narrative with little gems of insight (someone help me un-cliché that!) that make the reading surprisingly enjoyable.

Arul Mani chaired the discussion, and we had some interesting back and forth. Mani points out that Show Me a Hero makes for a very good coming-of-age novel because its aging, its arrival, is based not on plotted epiphanies but on a more “normal, every day sort of reaching”.

There was some talk about dualities, both in the narrator and in The Writer – something about the common sensical balancing out the naïve, the unadulterated, and open-eyed, the searching for magic. Sudarshan made a Terry Pratchett reference: +5 points.

I’m skipping over a lot of cricket wittering. It was cricket, it was deep and shit, but made little to no sense to me, except for the bit where Sudarshan declared that people worship, romanticise cricket because they make of it a practically metaphysical conceit for their hopes and dreams for the nation as a whole. (I’m paraphrasing. It was cricket!)

Then there were audience questions, when I didn’t take notes – I did pay attention enough to note that Sudarshan has had two books published by two different houses, and has some but not much control over editing and packaging. Which is only to be expected.

Sudarshan gives me the feeling of someone who has read and absorbed a great deal of mature thought, and while intelligent, charming, witty and evocative, is not yet, well, old enough to be the best sort of him he could be. (With apologies to Sudarshan, I am probably the same age as he is.) I’m not sure how Show Me a Hero will appeal to me, but I’ll probably read him for the next few years. I certainly liked short stories of his [that I read just now].)

Anyway. C. K. Meena, ebullient as ever, wrapped things up, and I went home.

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TFA meet yesterday

Sampurna Chattarji and Samhita Arni read out extracts from – wait, let’s start over.

Sampurna Chattarji read out poems from her latest collections, Absent Muses. I have bought said collection, and liked large portions of it, and so I link you here:

Absent Muses

Samhita Arni, who has an impressive writerly resume, read out an excerpt from a single short story, neither the beginning nor the end.

If you don’t see what my problem with this is, you probably don’t have the same problem, and wouldn’t even if I told you.

I like TFA, and Samhita Arni seemed to have oodles and oodles of fun reading her excerpt, and it seems likely she gave us exactly what she wanted to give us. So I am not complaining. What I shall do instead is pretend to redress the balance.

This is Samhita Arni’s website.

This is Samhita Arni’s blog.

This is Samhita Arni

I was not really thrilled with the discussion that followed, since it was not as rooted in the readings as I would have liked. I shall do a little research before the next TFA meet, and see if I can read the writers’ work before I get there, so I can ask them questions based in the text, as opposed to general questions about identities, labels, and the writer’s life, none of which I am more than mildly interested in, because in some ways they feel irrelevant or redundant.

But! Now I have two shiny new authors to stalk. Ill winds etc.

Toto Awards 2011

The Toto Awards 2011 were announced on the 8th of January. I haven’t had the time for a long post about it, but the TFA folks are not as remiss as I am, and so.

Click the pic-link to see the results of TFA’s Toto Awards for 2011:

Toto Funds the Arts: Toto Awards 2011 – Call for Entries

TFA!

Toto Funds the Arts

TOTO FUNDS THE ARTS (TFA) invites submissions for its seventh annual arts awards for young photographers, writers, musicians and bands. This year, there are six awards to be won – one for music (Rs 50,000), two for photography (Rs 25,000 each), two for creative writing in English (Rs 25,000 each), and one for creative writing in Kannada (Rs 25,000).

All submissions must be original and must be received before 15 October 2010. Young persons from all over India between the ages of 18 and 29 are eligible to apply.

About TOTO FUNDS THE ARTS:

Toto Funds the Arts is a non-profit trust set up in 2004 in memory of Angirus ‘Toto’ Vellani, who was intensely passionate about music, literature and film. It nurtures and encourages young artists in India through awards, workshops and other events.