Tata Literature Live! is Mumbai’s largest international literary festival. Featuring authors, poets, thought leaders and more it is an intelectually stimulating event for people of all ages. The types of sessions include from book launches, panel discussions, straight talks, debates, performances and workshops – for both, kids and adults.
The tenth edition of the festival will take place from Thursday, 14th November to Sunday, 17th November 2019 in 3 locations across the city of Mumbai. N.C.P.A in South Mumbai, S.P.I.C.E in Bandra West and Prithvi in Juhu.
Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is 10 years old! When we open our doors on November 14, it will be to a landmark event. Some of you will have grown ten years older with us; some of you will be here for the first time. To all of you, our ever growing audience, we say welcome and thank you.
I remember the day the distinguished trio of Mumbai citizens, Gerson da Cunha, Sheilu Srinivasan and Padmini Mirchandani asked me, ‘Shouldn’t our city have an international literary festival?’ Yes, of course I said, ours is India’s most cosmopolitan city with a wonderful literary tradition, so Mumbai must have a litfest. “So you will do it?” they said in unison. After a moment’s thought (which lasted two days), I said ‘Why not?’ After all, how difficult would it be to organise a festival? Ring a few authors, get a sponsor or two, draw up a schedule, and you are ready to go. We all learn things the hard way.
The most incredible part of this decade long journey is what has not changed. Most of the Literature Live! team that works on the festival and makes it happen has been together right through the years. That’s a wonderful advertisement for team spirit and commitment to the cause. I am not mentioning them individually but you will find the team members on this website. They deserve our applause. As does our Advisory Board, in particular Georgina Brown, Saumya Balsari and Sid Khanna who have gone out of their way to help.
Without the Tata group, the festival couldn’t possibly take place on the scale and of the quality that has been maintained through the decade. No sponsor could possibly be as supportive, and as willing to go along with us on the expansion of the festival, adding first, the Prithvi Theatre complex and then St Paul’s Institute complex last year so that the festival is now in three geographical locations of Mumbai — Nariman Point, Bandra and Juhu. Tata’s R Gopalakrishnan was our starting point, then came Mukund Rajan and now Harish Bhat, all of them have embraced the festival warmly and completely. Atul Agrawal, supported by Jayaa Sapkale, has been the Tata team that has worked with the festival all through the ten years, taking the rough with the smooth in their stride.
The National Centre for Performing Arts is not just our main venue: it’s a vital part of the festival. Khushroo Suntook, NCPA’s Chairman, has been the most supportive ally you could hope to find, and the NCPA team works with us for the festival tirelessly and without complaint (even when a couple of years ago, an insistent crowd pushed the closed glass door of Experimental Theatre so hard that it broke down!) We started with just one auditorium at NCPA; ten years later we use as many as 6 spaces in the complex!
Last, but not least, there’s the QTP team which brings youthful energy and immense organisation skills to the clock-work running of the festival. Finally, if you like this website and our Social Media posts and comments, the work is done by the young Method team.
Every year, we make additions to our litfest: this year there are two. The first is the Little Festival, a festival for children of NGO-assisted schools who will be at NCPA and Prithvi over two days. I am sure they will add much colour and vibrancy to the litfest. The other addition is the Open Air Plaza, NCPA’s delightful green space which will now give a festive air to our event.
A literary festival can only be as good as the people who participate in it. Take a look at the writers and performers who will be part of our lives for four days. It’s a wonderful list, promising much food for thought. In fact, a veritable feast!