Lit fests for dummies Advertisement

Lit fests for dummies

Where we ask the regulars for a survival guide

By ELLE team  January 20th, 2015

A session is going downhill when…

A panel of strangers can’t even agree on what the topic of debate means.

None of them has actually read or seen the other’s work.

The faulty microphone is making their voices echo so much that no one knows what anybody is saying, but everyone nods and carries on pretending they know what’s going on.

The real horror? The audience interaction. Three odd people, who actually want to hold a panel of their own, will tell you what they think about everything on earth in the guise of a question. 

Pragya Tiwari


When you meet your literary idol…

Always ask them to sign your book or pose for a photograph. Most authors love this – we get far less public attention than you’d think or we’d like.

What you shouldn’t do is try to use the occasion to shine. I’ve seen readers shimmy up to the nicest authors and then say something absolutely rude, just to get noticed. It is unsettling and can spoil it for everybody. 

The nicest thing you can do is say: “Just a signature will do. No need for a personalised message.” Nothing in the world is sweeter to the battle-weary author struggling to rhyme something with Kavyanjali. Salmon jelly?

Sidin Vadukut


How not to pitch your manuscript…

If you ask an editor for her email address and she gives you her company one, take it. Demands for her personal email address will make her fear you.

Not stalking an editor back to her hotel helps as well, especially if you’re not staying at the same hotel yourself.

Offering an editor a free future reading if she signs on your book on tarot is not necessarily a persuasive hard-sell.

Pradipta Sarkar


Ace the after-party…

Wear a polite smile at all times. Most people are there to talk to famous people and you’re merely a stopover on the way. 

Don’t go to a party that doesn’t serve alcohol. All the good people will be at the party that does. 

Wear heavy silver beads and a sari to come across as arty. The downside is that once everyone is drunk and dancing to ‘Chikni Chameli’, it’s tougher to pull those off if you’re uncomfortable in them to begin with.  

Deepanjana Pal

ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is on from January 21 to 25.