Writing the Future - IIT Delhi

Posted by Nishant Shah at Nov 03, 2008 07:51 AM |
The First Ever Asia-Pacific Festival of Writing: An internationally-supported event for emerging and established writers, scholars of contemporary literature from Asia and the Pacific, publishers, and all those interested in new writing from the region -- New Delhi and Shimla, India, October 2008



The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership are pleased to collaborate in organising Indian and international support to hold the first ever Asia-Pacific Festival of Writing in New Delhi.


This unique Festival, which combines a regional focus with a truly international reach, seeks to raise the profile of the enormously rich literature and thought of the Asia Pacific region.


As the attached Program shows, the Festival has been planned in some detail and has already generated considerable interest through its website (http://www.apwriters.com)


Several writers and academics of international standing have agreed to be part of the enterprise and have brought their expertise and – above all – enthusiasm to the initiative.


Registered participants include writers and scholars from Australia, Bangladesh, Fiji, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, UK and USA, amongst others. This spontaneous show of interest, we feel, is in itself a true measure not only of the vitality and reach of the Festival but of the felt need for such self-expression and interaction across the region. 




Our goal is to:


bring the excitement of reading new literature to a wide audience across the region;


enable young writers and university students to interact with well-known writers; and


encourage cultural cross-talk & literary debate across a variety of regional languages


focus on new forms of writing engendered by e-media such as internet (blogs, chats etc.)


To this end, we have organized the following forums for literary interaction:




Creative writing workshops for emerging writers from the region, taught by writers of international repute - a festival feature that is familiar in the West but has never before been part of South Asian literary events. Emerging writers in the West have over the past decades gained tremendous benefit and advantage from workshops with peers and established writers, but there are few equivalent opportunities in Asia. This festival hopes to change this situation.


Translation workshops, undertaken in collaboration with the Indian Academy of Letters and the Jamia Millia University. These workshops will be held in four languages (Hindi/Urdu, Bengali, Malayalam and Tamil) at venues in Southern India (Mysore) and Eastern India (Kolkata) as well as in Delhi.  Translators of  national standing are involved in this initiative.


A major academic conference on new writing from Asia and the Pacific

The conference will examine contemporary writing from the region, the value of writing programs, the contrasts and synergies between traditional oral forms of literature and new forms of writing influenced by multi-media, the state of national literary studies, and notions of writing in relation to regional, hybrid and/or diasposric identities globalization, cosmopolitanism, post-colonialism, and other associated issues.


Public events featuring established writers and performers of international repute.

These will include readings by emerging and established writers; panel discussions with publishers, literary agents, and writers; book launches; and cultural performance by Indian poets, theatre-people and singers.

Local and international established writers who conduct workshops and participate in the public events will visit schools and colleges in New Delhi to read from their work and talk about their writing process. Engaging with youth is a very important and intrinsic part of the conceptualisation of this festival.




It is our belief that this Festival is the timely start of an important new form of cultural cooperation which will provide valuable opportunities for new writers in the region for years to come. It will eventually provide a forum that challenges outmoded boundaries between academic and creative texts, between traditional pasts and technological futures, between the new and old media and between genres, cultures and institutions.     


One of the more unusual features of this festival is that the IIT will host the ‘Writing the Future’ conference together with a host of other Indian institutions who have generously extended their support. These include:


The Indian Council for Cultural Relations

The Sanskriti Foundation

The Indian Institute for Advanced Studies

The Sahitya Akademi or National Academy of Letters

Jamia Millia Islamia University

Scope Plus

Kusuma Trust and the Centre for Internet and Society


To repeat, this festival, an initiative of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, international scholarly collaboration and the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership, is the first ever festival of its kind being held in the region. It offers a unique blend of academic interaction, creative writing workshops and public events where writers interact with participants, publishers and other players in the global literary arena.


The aim of the festival is, finally, to together ‘write the future’.


ASPI-CIS Partnership


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Nishant Shah

Dr. Nishant Shah is the co-founder and board member of the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, India, and is a professor at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media at Leuphana University in Germany, and is Dean of Research at ArtEZ Graduate School, the Netherlands.