Thursday, January 31, 2008 by Abhinav Maurya
SMS Poetry has one simple guideline: The entire poem must be short enough to fit into a single 160-character SMS (blanks and punctuation marks count as characters and a line break counts as two). Always a big draw, this contest is now in its fourth year at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
Flash Fiction (also called micro-fiction or short-shorts) presents a simple challenge: Tell a story with all the classical elements: a beginning, a middle and an end, a conflict and a resolution, a credible protagonist... but do so in a very limited number of words (not more than 300 words to be specific). Flash Fiction is now in its third year at the Kala Ghoda writing contests.
The Slam is about performance poetry. Poets get on stage and perform their work. The audience has a say in whether they stay or leave. Reality show style, except Slams predate reality television. The slam made its debut last year (the first in India, actually) to much enjoyment from the audience and the participants. It involves writing four poems on four assigned topics (this year's topics being Name, Place, Animal, and Thing) and performing them in front of judges and an audience.
Making its debut this year, this contest widens the genres that Kala Ghoda contests cover, into the interesting area of non-fiction. The twist here is that the essays must, like everything else these days, adjust to the age of information overload: They must make their point in up to 500 words. We call them flash essays in a nod to the term flash fiction.
This is a new idea, and Caferati's most ambitious. And this despite the fact that there are no guaranteed winners. The Open Book Pitch lets writers submit pitches to publishers and literary agents. (Some of the biggest names in Indian publishing including Penguin India, HarperCollins, and Random House India are signed up, as are some of the exciting newer ones like Siyahi.) The process is anonymous both ways: The writers do not have direct access to the talent scouts from the publishers and agents, and the scouts do not see any personally identifying information until they see something they like. The prize? A chance to be published.
15 minutes for seven out of the nine days of the festival. The event mixes writing with performance. Each Open Mike session will have 6 slots of up to 2 minutes each. These slots are booked on a first-come-first-serve basis every day.
15 minutes for seven our of the nine days of the festival. The event mixes the word with the visual arts. Participants submit 2-minute films via email. The organizers will choose the best films should we get more entries than time permits them to show.
A pseudo wall will be erected at the venue. Audience members will be invited to leave their own writing to be displayed there. The organizers will also encourage email submissions.
Conducted by: Sarnath Banerjee and Samit Basu
The workshop, by two well-known pioneers in the field, will cover graphic stories and graphic reportage.
Conducted by: Neeru NandaChildren's author Neeru Nanda works with the children, inculcating in them a love for story-telling.
Conducted by: Jeet Thayil
Thayil, a prominent poet and a musician, will lead this master class on the art of performance poetry.
Conducted by: Jane Bhandari and Marilyn Noronha
How do you write for kids? How do you hold their attention? Two writers and poets who also teach children, lead this workshop.
Conducted by: Anita Roy
An editor from a prominent publishing house will tell budding writers all the secrets of making a good impression with publishers.
Conducted by: Anuvab Pal
This workshop by a playwright and film writer who has had his plays performed in the USA and India, will introduce participants to the nuts and bolts of playwriting.
Conducted by: Kavita Bhanot
Fiction writing is always a big draw at Kala Ghoda. Here, a literary agent and trainer put budding authors through boot camp.
Conducted by: Kavitha Rao
A practicing journalist who writes for publications around the world teaches the basics of making a living as a pen-for-hire.
Conducted by: Manisha Lakhe
Writing for the screen is a different game, and you need to learn the rules. This workshop gets you thinking the right way.
Conducted by: Rimi B. Chatterjee
India is famous for the number of languages its citizens speak and write. And this workshop will cover the practical problems involved in the process of translation and the publication of translated work.
Conducted by: Sampurna ChattarjiThis workshop will look at poetry as play. The attempt will be not to teach poetry, or even write poetry, but to experience poetry - with one's body, with one's senses, with sometimes an abandonment of logic and sometimes a rigorous application of it.