This week, India joins the list of countries with their own crime writing festival. The inaugural two-day Crime Writers Festival in Delhi grew out of the Jaipur Literature Festival, where one of the new festival's directors, Namita Gokhale, conducted a session on "Crime and Punishment." Gokhale added, "It’s an important subset of literature and also serves as a barometer for the society . . . something that’s definitely worth exploring."
The event brings together crime reporters and journalists, authors, film directors, publishers, agents, and curators and collectors of crime stories. Ashwin Sanghi, another of the festival advisors and speakers, said, "Commercial writing in general did not take off (in India) primarily because of our snobbish attitude towards it. Most Indian authors were busy churning out literary fiction and publishers continued actively searching for the next Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, or Jhumpa Lahiri. They could hardly be bothered with finding the Indian equivalent of Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, Jack Higgins, or Tom Clancy."
Featured guests include international crime authors such as Håkan Nesser, Caryl Ferey, and David Stuart Davies, who will join Indian authors Amrita Chowdhary, Amrita Tripathi, Aroon Raman, Ashwin Sanghi, Hussain Zaidi, Jerry Pinto, Lady Kishwar Desai, Mahendra Jakhar, and many more. Film directors Dibakar Banerjee and Piyush Jha will also be on hand, representing the crime-on-film section.
Best of all, if you happen to be in the area and can take advantage of the festival's many programs, they are all free and open to the public.