Coronavirus Outbreak: From Fatima Bhutto's books project to Mohini Gupta's 'Mother Tongue Twisters' — a social media guide
During the ongoing lockdown in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, there are several cultural initiatives on social media that offer audiences a community to engage with. Here's a list, updated daily:
During the ongoing lockdown in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, there are several cultural initiatives on social media that offer audiences a community to engage with. Here's a list:
Stay Home, Stay Reading by Fatima Bhutto and Sanam Maher
In a bid to stay home and encourage reading, writer Fatima Bhutto and journalist Sanam Maher present short readings from writers around the world, across different genres of writing. Each writer will share two videos. One, a short reading of their own work that they want to share with readers. And two, a video of them recommending books. The project started with Bhutto reading from her book The Runaways, and has so far also seen readings by Alexander Chee, Omar bin Musa, Rupi Kaur, Susan Abulhawa, Max Porter, Aanchal Malhotra, Maher, and Sinéad Gleeson.
Videos on both founders’ Instagram accounts, here and here.
Mother Tongue Twisters by Mohini Gupta
Writer and translator Mohini Gupta’s initiative is a multilingual platform that collects original poetry and curates contemporary poetry, in Indian languages, for young readers. Besides poems will also be puns and wordplay, nonsense verses, and rhyme and repetition, since such sounds can appeal more to young audiences. The languages and dialects of this collection will range across English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Kumaoni, Santhali, Sylheti, Maithili, and Marwari. Through bringing together sounds and stories from the collective Indian consciousness, the platform aims to represent the layered ‘Indian experience.’
More information on their website, Instagram, and Facebook.
The JCB Prize Catch Up
The JCB Prize for Literature has announced a two-week series aimed at giving readers and aspiring writers the opportunity to connect with Indian authors. The conversations will revolve around life in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, facing reality, and the world of fiction. They will also discuss the challenges of isolation and social distancing, including loneliness and sickness, and their impact on the creative process. Writers will also discuss their personal processes and techniques. Writers include Shubhangi Swarup, Benyamin, Amitabha Bagchi, Vivek Shanbhag, Roshan Ali, Chandrahas Choudhury, Mukta Sathe and Arunava Sinha.
Talks will be streamed live on JCB Prize’s Instagram.
Focused on learning and knowledge, and with an aim to offer new perspectives on a range of topics, Avid Learning is offering online art and cultural conversations and sessions. Among the speakers are Meenakshi Shedde, Mortimer Chatterjee, Meher Marfatia, Himanshu Seth, and Pooja Vir. The topics of these talks will include city history, photography, archives, art history, creative writing, music appreciation, culinary arts innovations, fashion tips, theatre appreciation, sustainable living, and more.
Sessions can be seen on Avid Learning’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts.
Poetry Live by Kitab Khana and Indian Novels Collective
For two weeks, Kitab Khana in association with the Indian Novels Collective will be hosting live poetry readings. With over 60 poets reciting poetry in different languages, the initiative aims to remind audiences to look to poetry for comfort in uncertain times. Among the poets are Arundhathi Subramaniam, Anjali Purohit, Gauhar Raza, Kamal Vora, Hemant Divate, Srilata K, and Medha Singh.
Recitals will be streamed live on Kitab Khana’s Instagram account.
Talks by Roli Books
Roli books has organised live talks by authors on their social media accounts. Among them are Alan Wilkins’ talk on '10 Incredible Sporting Moments’, Kashyap Deorah on ‘Startups in the context of COVID-19,’ and Sunetra Choudhury on ‘Black Warrant and the recent hangings at Tihar.’
Talks will be streamed live on Roli Books’ Twitter account.
Poets on Couches by The Paris Review
In this video series, poets read and discuss the poems that are getting them through these challenging times; broadcast straight from their couches to viewers’. The first video sees Stephanie Burt reading Killarney Clary’s poem Untitled [There are more of us].
Videos on The Paris Review’s Instagram.
Lockdown Journal by Sunila Galappatti
Dramaturg and theatre director Sunila Galappatti’s Lockdown Journal invites submissions in the form of journal entries, archiving journal entries during the coronavirus outbreak. Launched on 20 March, the website has accounts of people from different parts of the world, experiencing varying degrees of lockdown.
Read the Lockdown Journal here. Read more about it here.
Brave New World by Jaipur Literature Festival
An online literature series, Brave New World celebrates books, their power, and positivity. Among the speakers will be author Abhinav Chandrachud in conversation with journalist Pragya Tiwari about Bombay’s 1896 bubonic plague and its repercussions; Baroness Helena Kennedy with writer Bee Rowlatt about freedom of thought; The New World Disorder and the Indian Imperative co-authors Shashi Tharoor and Samir Saran; and Leila author Prayaag Akbar with author Amrita Tripathi will talk about dystopian fiction and its increasingly real presence. Each session will conclude with a live question and answer segment with audiences.
Sessions will be streamed on JLF’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.
SAF 2020 x You by the Serendipity Arts Festival
Serendipity Arts Festival's digital experience SAF 2020 x You starts from 25 April and offers webinars, performances, readings, and workshops. Sessions will be held by Serendipity Arts Festival music director Sneha Khanwalkar, and artists like Bickram Ghosh, Ranjit Barot, Vidyya Shivadas, Ravi Agarwal, and Astad Deboo, among others. Ranga Shankara Theatre, envisioned by thespian Arundhati Nag, will also do special readings and hold storytelling sessions for children. Also on offer are workshops on theatre, music, and the culinary arts.
More information here.
This list will be updated regularly as more initiatives are announced. Also check out our comprehensive database of free cultural resources — books, comics, museum tours, performances, courses — available online.
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