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Commonwealth Writers Conversation: at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, India.

Commonwealth Writers will host a panel discussion on the short story form at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival 2014 (8-13 January 2014).

The panel is made up of Romesh Gunesekera (Chair), Urvashi Butalia, Rana Dasgupta and Palash Krishna Mehrotra. These writers delight and provoke with their craftsmanship, moving through many worlds in  the briefest length of words. They will look at what the short story can achieve, how it breaks expectations, and the power of the format to change minds.      

The panel is from Commonwealth Writers Conversations – an ongoing series bringing together writers, creative and social thinkers as well as new and established audiences in different locations around the world.  

Lucy Hannah, Programme Manager at the Commonwealth Foundation, said:Commonwealth Writers is excited to be part of the festival and in the first year of our re-launched short story prize, we’re thrilled to have such an illustrious panel to explore what the format can achieve.” 

Notes to Editors: 

Commonwealth Writers is the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, an intergovernmental development organization, promoting participatory governance. The programme supports the craft of writing, working with creative expression for social change, both in the sense of advocacy, and also in the sense of creating spaces for emerging and established writers to share their work and make connections. 


Romesh Gunesekera is the author of four novels: Reef, shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Guardian Fiction Prize, The Sandglass, winner of the inaugural BBC Asia Award, Heaven’s Edge, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and a New York Times Notable Book, and The Match. He has published two collections of short stories: his acclaimed debut Monkfish Moon, and a bilingual limited edition book O Colleccionador de Especiarias. He grew up in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, and now lives in London.  

Urvashi Butalia, a feminist historian, is the Director of Zubaan, a renowned publishing house, and co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house. Her writing has appeared in many publications including The Guardian, The Statesman, The Times of India and magazines including Outlook, the New Internationalist and India Today. Her books include Making a Difference, Women and the Hindu Right, In Other Words: New Writing by Indian Women, Speaking Peace: Women’s Voices from Kashmir and The Other Side of Silence. She has written extensively on gender, communalism and fundamentalism. In 2011 she received the Padma Shri award (the Republic of India’s fourth highest civilian award) for excellence in literature and education.

Rana Dasgupta was born in 1971, and grew up in the UK. He worked for a marketing consultancy in London and New York for a few years before moving to Delhi to write. His first novel, Tokyo Cancelled, a thirteen-part story cycle, was published in 2005 to widespread acclaim and has been translated into nine languages. It was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Vodafone Crossword Award. His novel, Solo, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Capital, a non-fiction exploration of life and money in twenty-first century Delhi, will appear in early 2014. Dasgupta now lives permanently in Delhi, and writes for several periodicals, including the Guardian. 

Palash Krishna Mehrotra was born in Bombay in 1975, and educated at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, the Delhi School of Economics, and Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of Eunuch Park: Fifteen Stories of Love and Destruction and The Butterfly Generation: A Personal Journey into the Passions and Follies of India’s Technicolour Youth. He is the editor of an anthology, Recess: The Penguin Book of Schooldays and is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. He also writes a fortnightly column for Mail Today. He lives in New Delhi and Dehradun.