Ananke, a UAE-based digital development platform empowering women through awareness, advocacy and education, welcomes a spectrum of eminent names from the global Indian literary fraternity to its roster of speakers at the virtual Women in Literature Festival 2021 (WLF2021). The organization has also teamed up with renowned publishers including eShe, Readomania, Seagull Books, Yoda Press and Zubaan Books to trigger inclusive conversations about literature in the digital realm.
Recently announcing the complete schedules for Day 1 and Day 2, Ananke’s WLF2021 showcases a series of impactful talks and exciting sessions. These include a conversation with Sunandini Banerjee, Senior Editor and Graphic Designer at Seagull Books, on publishing, the Seagull Story and how to upset the ‘status quo’ about notions of who gets to publish what and from where with emphasis on ‘translating the world.’
Other sessions include a fireside chat with poet Arundhathi Subramaniam focusing on being the contemporary woman poet, the challenges, what feminism means to her, the poetry itself — ranging from the rage poem to the anthem poem. The chat, facilitated by Fatima Ijaz, will also to touch on the subversive and empowering voices among women mystics in India.
The event also includes two panels curated by Zubaan Books, a leading, New Delhi-based, feminist publishing house: Globalizing Women in Literature Through Translations and Publisher’s Corner. The latter panel seeks to trigger a dialogue focusing independent and feminist publishers usually small, fiercely political, passionate and committed. How they battle corporate giants and define themselves as people who have set out to change the world. In this panel, publishers from across South Asia talk about what motivates them, why they choose to do what they do, why they love their work, and what success and survival mean.
Talking about their participation, publisher Readomania said: “We are proud to be a partner in this wonderful initiative. Readomania has been at the forefront to lend support and amplify women’s voices through its books. Many books like Baanjh by Susmita Mukherjee, the anthology Defiant Dreams, The Anatomy of Choice by Harshali Singh, Lost and Found in Banaras by Mona Verma, The Doodler of Dimashq by Kirthi Jayakumar have showcased strong voices and dealt with feminist themes.”
Talking about her participation in the festival and her session titled Changing the Narrative on day two of the event (March 31st, 2021), Sutapa Basu, (a Readomania) author of Padmavati, The Legend of Genghis Khan, and The Curse of Nader Shah, said: “Women in Literature Festival 2021 (WLF) by Ananke is a wonderful initiative to celebrate the achievements of women writers. I am looking forward to participating in this Festival of Women in Literature.”
Also joining the event, the New Delhi-based founder and editor of eShe magazine Aekta Kapoor said: “Dialogue is the key that unlocks the door to peace. Constructive, respectful dialogue not only builds empathy and dismantles the illusion of ‘the other’, it also generates new ideas, innovation and progress. Initiatives such as the Women in Literature Festival offer a platform for this kind of dialogue and exchange of ideas and energy.’
“Art and literature have the power to provoke new thought, erase prejudices and initiate dialogue. They are exactly the antidote for a world fractured by conflict.” – Aekta Kapoor.
She added: “Art and literature have the power to provoke new thought, erase prejudices and initiate dialogue. They are exactly the antidote for a world fractured by conflict.”
Another Readomania writer, the eminent Radhika Maira Tabrez, author of In The Light of Darkness, The Emancipation of Farzana Siddique, said: “Platforms like WLF21 help bring women’s issues, achievements, and contributions where they rightly belong – front and center. I am excited to be part of these conversations that will help take the cause of women empowerment forward; in a world that needs it now, more than ever.”
One of the festival’s collaborators, Arpita Das, Founder-Publisher of the award-winning New Delhi-based independent publishing house, Yoda Press, and an Executive Board Member of PublisHer, said: “Women’s voices in literature are voices of sanity, nuance, creativity and sisterhood. Every opportunity to amplify these is as valuable as it is vital, particularly in these beleaguered times. At Yoda Press we try to live by this belief on a daily basis.”
Panellists include a glittering array of writers, translators, poets, rights advocates and academicians such as Sheela Reddy, Amrita Mukherjee, Aekta Kapoor, Anupama Jain, Deepti Menon, Lakshana Palat, Aanchal Malhotra, Bishan Samaddar, Saurav Dutt, Mandy Sanghera, Farzana Doctor, Piyusha Vir, Mini Shivakumar Menon, Kirthi Jayakumar, Radhika Maira Tabrez, Arpita Das, Sutapa Basu, Jenny Bhatt, Purva Grover, Aparna Nagesh and more.
“Women’s voices in literature are voices of sanity, nuance, creativity and sisterhood. Every opportunity to amplify these is as valuable as it is vital, particularly in these beleaguered times. At Yoda Press we try to live by this belief on a daily basis.” – Arpita Das.
Through this festival, Ananke strives to not just celebrate creativity of female fiction and non-fiction writers, but to highlight female literary history and showcase – many a times – invisibilized women writers in cultural festival line-ups. The Women in Literature Festival plans to create global conversations about how literature produced by women needs to be highlighted, promoted and celebrated globally via translations, digital documentation and more.
Talking about the event, Ananke’s Founder and Executive Editor, Sabin Muzaffar said: “I really do think we need a continuous, inclusive and diversity-focused conversation about literature especially during these trying times of the Pandemic. This can perhaps instil humanism in all of us, which is under threat and being eroded on a daily basis. And by the pandemic, I am not just referring to COVID19, but also the pandemic of hatred, discrimination and racism against those who do not look like us.”
Adding, she said: “At Ananke, we have always striven to create impactful digital spaces for women to hold inclusive conversations about an array of topics and issues. We keep on hearing statements that there aren’t enough women available for public speaking opportunities and we have continuously proven those claims wrong. We keep seeing manels even on subjects of women’s rights and empowerment. While we do think an inclusive conversation is essential to trigger impact, if we do not have proper representation especially on issues centring women, I fear there will never be change in the status quo.”
Partnering with leading authors, literary & feminist entities and publishers including Zuka Books, Readomania, Seagull Books, Zubaan Books, the Gender Security Project, Authors Alliance Pakistan, Ananke hopes to set a new standard in literary festivals where there is greater visibility of female literati as well as diversified conversation on inclusion.
Use this link to register to the event (registrations close on March 26th, 2021): https://forms.gle/pxicUMXAARxMGnuNA
Event Hashtag: #WLF2021 #WomeninLitFest
Ananke is a non-profit, digital platform empowering through awareness, advocacy and education. Launched in 2014 in Dubai UAE, the organization strives to trigger conversations on inclusion, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the digital realm. Breaking barriers to empower women, the organization is a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) nominee for 2019 and 2020. Recently, Ananke hosted the first ever digital Girl Summit across the MENA and Subcontinent regions with attendees from all over the world. For more information, visit: https://www.anankemag.com
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