Photos: Reading at a book crawl on a lazy Sunday

Love the idea of a book crawl, that is a pub crawl but you get drunk on books instead. You move from book store to book store to check out the novels, comics and other things on sale and to hopefully meet readers and people who are part of the love of reading. When Book and Brews approached me with their unique Book Crawl idea and asked me to participate, of course I said yes. This was the first reading I did from Cult of Chaos  and it was nice to see so many turn up on a lazy Sunday afternoon to hear out how I added in a tadka of tantrism into the book. Leaving you all with some photos.

(photos courtesy: Book and Brews, Darshan CG)

Event: Occult quiz and book discussion in British Council, Chennai

I’m finally heading to Chennai with the occult quiz. It’s been a couple of years since friends, fans and quiz enthusiasts are asking me to bring the creepy occult quiz to them. So i’m so so excited to announce this.

It’s tomorrow, 5-6pm at the British Council, Chennai. You can RSVP to Susan: susan.chettri@britishcouncil.org or on the Facebook event page. Needless to say, come over peeps. It’s going to be super fun.

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Event: Author as librarian at Goobe’s Book Republic

What happens when an author becomes a librarian? As far as I remember, I’ve always wanted to be a librarian, or own a bookstore and have harboured a dream of sitting in one, selling and recommending books to readers like me. I actually do that, in airport stores, or bookstores on weekends, lurk, and suggest people what to read.

I’ve always had this fantasy of recommending books to readers. The kind that I like, that are full of spaceships, monsters, supernatural and a tadka of ghosts.

I will be hanging about for a few hours, sitting on the cashier seat, recommend the books and authors I love reading, sign my own books and talk to customers in a role-play of being a librarian.  So I fixed with the amazing Ravi, at the indie bookstore Goobe’s Book Republic, to make my fantasy come true. For a few hours on Saturday, I will be womaning their desk, recommending books to readers, indulging in long conversations about favourite parts of favourite authors and selling and signing books! 

There’s another reason. A dire one.

In recent years, a few of my favourite indie bookstores have shut down across the country. All these stores, run by passionate people, couldn’t sustain because of competition from either chainstores or online stores.
It’s heart wrenching for an author to see bookstores where she has spend years, to be so unceremoniously shut down. I think where reading is concerned, indie bookstores are the best way to encourage people, through one-on-one interactions, listening to readers and keeping a quality collection.

Which is why I hope this little event brings in more from the community and sales. Goobe starts it, but I hope to do this, build meaningful relationships with indie booksellers and readers in other cities too. After all books should be a way to love, exchange, laugh and celebrate reading.

Come over, if you’re around in Bangalore, want to read something new, and say hello.
DAY / TIME: July 1, Saturday, 4.20pm to 7.20pm
Say yay on Facebook page.

Photos: How to rock a book launch at the British Council Library

My latest book, The Matsya Curse, was partly edited at the Chichester University, where I was for three months, on a Charles Wallace India Trust writing fellowship, galavanting, interacting with authors and teachers and basically learning so much.  That’s the reason when it came to the book’s launch I decided to approach the British Council Library, Bangalore for it.

And oh, what a launch it was!

There’s still a heady hangover from it as I am writing this. There was a quiz, done by geeky spouse Ashwani and friend Prasad which was won by 11-year olds. I knew about four questions from the total fifteen and Leighton, the head of Bangalore BCL mentioned that he didn’t know any over Twitter. The quiz was followed by an excerpt reading from The Matsya Curse and then a conversatino between me and Samhita Arni. Sam was wonderful with her questions, well-read and covered all aspects of the book, be it tantrism, feminism, Indian mythology in fantasy or how much time it takes to write a book. Phew. What wonderfulness.  Leaving you with a few photographs taken by the fab photograph and friend Darshan CG. Now back to planning more quizzes for you. Look out this space for announcements.

Photos: A talk on trends in graphic novels and comics

I recently had a chance to talk about Indian graphic novels and comics that have come out in the last seven odd years. It’s a fascinating mix of novels made to reflect on social changes, satire, city narratives, anthologies, fantasy, superhero genre, mythology, biography and also a slide on the evolution of the Indian Comic Con and how it pushed the comics industry forward. I had prepared this talk for a UK audience at the Cartoon Museum so was glad that someone in India asked me to do it. The event, so well organised by Badri and Kusai of Gathr happened in the chic Nicobar.  A fabulous turnout, interested audience and people who had curious questions. Loved doing this talk! Thanks Gathr for the opportunity. More on its Facebook page.

(Images courtesy Gathr)

Event: A tantric quiz, a book launch and complete glee

What’s a book launch without a tantric quiz? To formally announce the launch of my new novel, The Matsya Curse, we have organised a quiz which tests your knowledge of supernatural, folklore and tantrism. If Goddess-forbid, a quiz bores you, there will be a quick book reading from The Matsya Curse and a fiery session with author Samhita Arni (of the Sita’s Ramayana fame) on our evil plan to push in a feminist agenda through humour. And samosa and tea. Free. Seriously. Come, come! There’s no reason not to.

This Sunday. At British Council Library, Bangalore

It’s happening at 4pm at the lovely venue that’s the British Council Library. It’s a Sunday post-lunch session, there’s no traffic on the road and there are delectable books to be won.

Venue: British Council Library, Bangalore

Date: 11th June

Time: 4pm

Facebook Events Page

Do come along. I would be so thrilled to see you there!

 

 

 

 

Event: A graphic reading party in Bangalore

A reading party, a rather modern phenomenon of people coming together and being introduced to a genre or to read together, silently, sitting in a pub or a cafe, is a wonderful idea. Which is why when Gathr approached me for this event, I was quite excited. It’s happening this Thursday in Bangalore. I will be doing a talk on my love of comics, showing people the books I have, read other people’s collection of graphic novels and mostly celebrate the Indian comics genre. I hope there are more reading parties like this, that people sign up for and more and more people pick up Indian-made comics. Come over, peeps, if comics are your kind of a thing.
Details

The fifth edition of our odd juxtaposition of reading and party finds us focusing on modern Indian graphic novels, a genre that is really finding its feet. We’ve curated a set of some of the most interesting new works available for your reading pleasure. Continue reading “Event: A graphic reading party in Bangalore”

The Matsya Curse is out for pre-order. Yay!

It’s called The Matsya Curse. And it’s here.

Am superbly thrilled to share the cover of my latest book with you all. Anantya Tantrist is back. And so is this adventure, which is crazier than the last one.  The cover’s been done by the wonderful, wonderful George Mathen. (Read about how I convinced him to do it here). And well, it’s out, it’s coming and I’m going gaga and have lost the art of writing a bit. On preorder now.

Tantrik detective Anantya Tantrist is back, smart-ass comments, dark mantras and all

In Banaras, Bhairava, a black tantrik, sets out to win control of life through mass murder, aided by an army of pretas. In Delhi, a tribal supernatural melts to death in a five-star hotel on the same night that an ancient demonologist is murdered. All this while, the government and the Central Association of Tantriks choose to look the other way and gods, demi-gods, immortals and rakshasas all join Bhairava’s army.

All that stands between the murdering bosses and the hapless masses is unofficial detective Anantya Tantrist, armed with a boneblade, a tote of mandalas and a cocky attitude. Just as she begins to see a pattern between a goddess selling art, a miracle-producing minister, an undead mob attacking a rock concert and her immortal friend throwing a tantrum, Anantya faces her most personal hell: her ex-boyfriend Neel has come back from the dead and is trying to kill her. He’s not the only one, of course. A powerful rakshasi wants her head, a pair of demi-gods wants her blood and the trolls are trying to squash her to pulp.

She cannot even sleep off the exhaustion, because each time she drops off, Bhairava invades her mind, trying to consume it. Join Anantya as she faces her most formidable enemy yet in the ultimate battle for her mind and her city.

“A remarkable tale,” says Anand Neelakanthan, author of Asura and Bahubali.  Please to pre-order and read.

Looking at speculative fiction beyond mythology

Is speculative fiction beyond mythology possible in the literature coming out from our country? Till now, most of the speculative fiction that has come out of the country (even mine) has been heavily inspired or uses characters from our rich Hindu mythology. I take the topic head on in this talk at the LitFestX. This video is from 2015, so a little dated and since I’ve spoken there, there has been a lot of amazing books that have come out in the genre, but I’m adding it now because frankly, at that time, I lost track of things and never added this in my blog. See if you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on the topic. Have thoughts, disagree? Add to the comments below.

Media Mentions: HT Brunch, Scroll, Bangalore Mirror

Last few months, got a few journalists asking me to give a quote for a lot of interesting stories they were working on for their media houses. Listing down my absolute favourite ones! This is more for my reference than your reading, but go ahead and read it if you’re looking for interesting stories around storytelling.

Shattering the idea of feminism with wit – Bangalore Mirror

This was a fantastic story that talked about new age women in all careers who are trying to face-off chauvinism, patriarchy and bigotry with humour, wit and a slice of lemon. I loved the story, though I didn’t have to say much I’ve always struggled with the idea of feminism and what it represents in India (aka feminazi) though I bet Anantya would disagree.

 

Who I want to see at Jaipur Literature Festival – HT Brunch

Douglas Adams! That’s who. Imaginethe author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy  coming down to Jaipur with his massive wit and observing the whole gamut of the festival and the bustle crowd around literature without a book in their hand. He would have a blast, I tell you.  I loved the answers of others in this too. Read the whole article online here.

Reared by the wolves – Firstpost.com

Firstpost did a great article on why we remain fascinated by the human child that grew up in the jungle, aka Mowgli. I got to add my two bits along with Ashwin Sanghi and others.

 

“Shweta Taneja, a speculative fiction author and a Charles Wallace Writing Fellow, offers this perspective: “I feel the idea of growing up in the wild, away from social norms, is tied up to having a re-look at society and what construes social norms and civilisation. When a character grows up in the jungle so to say, his/her perspective to our society is fresh, explorative, almost child-like in its curiosity, innocent and simplicity. This kind of storytelling is a way to explore the society that we live in from a fresh, almost innocent perspective. The writer, who is invariably city-based and grew up in the civilised environment looks at the jungle/forest space as something which is chaotic and dangerous, but at the same time has codes that are untouched and untainted by the civilized codes.”


Have a story you’re doing? Write to me. I would love to give in my two bits.