I had been looking forward to the first session in the Palace Hall after lunch- British novelist Sebastian Faulks being interviewed by journalist Rosie Boycott. Faulks began by introducing his upcoming book, Faulks on Fiction, in which he evaluates many fictional characters (including Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice and Ronald Merrick from Paul Scott’s epic Raj Quartet). He not only discussed his works so far, such as the iconic Birdsong, Charlotte Gray, Engleby, and the recent James Bond novel Devil May Care, but also his life as a journalist. His recent novel A Week in December (which I have reviewed here), featuring seven characters and set in the week before Christmas, was evaluated in great detail and some amount of airtime was dedicated to the research conducted on hedge funds and investment banks- even though, I couldn’t agree with 60% of his thoughts on the bankers and I wondered what an LMH Unionite and current hedge fund employee, who shared his same surname, would have thought as well. The session was followed by book signing at the nearby tent, where my newly purchased A Week in December was soon adorned with his signature.
We couldn’t attend the remainder of the afternoon sessions since we had to attend the evening service at our church, a stone’s throw away.
However, the following were slated to happen in other talks elsewhere (and at the same venue):
- Namita Gokhale on the various interpretations of Sita, the wife of Indian king Rama.
- Novelist and broadcaster Kishwar Desai on her novel based on a sensational family murder case set between Punjab (India) and UK.
- Readings by writer and bureaucrat NS Madhavan.
- Historian Simon Schama’s musings on Barack Obama and the recent mid-term elections
- British director Hannah Rothschild’s discussion on the art of documentary film-making.
- Readings by poet Vivek Narayanan.
- Readings by author Jaisree Misra.