Home >mint-lounge >business-of-life >Penguin Fever is here

For the average bookworm, the lit-fest circuit is usually the only way to catch glimpses of favourite authors. Opportunities to interact with them, however, are often limited. Looking to make sure that younger readers get to engage with their favourite writers is publishing house Penguin Random House, which kicked off the ninth edition of its annual Spring Fever festival on Thursday.

This year’s iteration, a special edition coinciding with the publisher’s 30th anniversary, is titled Penguin Fever 2017 and will run till 31 October at the India Habitat Centre (IHC) amphitheatre. The festival began with a session by Arundhati Roy on her latest book, The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness.

“We were sure we didn’t want to be a literary festival. Even in the most popular ones, the audience hardly gets to interact with the authors. So our main objective with Penguin Fever 2017 is to make it engaging and also have a wide variety for the audience to choose from," says Hemal Sodhi, senior vice-president, marketing, Penguin Random House.

The IHC amphitheatre is also displaying a “library" of books from Penguin Random House that readers can browse through.

In the evenings, the amphitheatre will host sessions with prominent authors published by Penguin. On Friday, Shobhaa De will be in conversation with actor Vidya Balan on turning 70. Some of the best-known names on the Indian literary scene, including Ruskin Bond, Perumal Murugan, Shashi Tharoor, Gurcharan Das and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, will be speaking during the festival.

Shashi Tharoor is one of the speakers at this year’s event.
Shashi Tharoor is one of the speakers at this year’s event.

“Spring Fever has always been one of my favourite festivals and I’m delighted to participate in Penguin Fever, this year’s special edition. This is a great platform for writers to interact with their readers," says Bond, the author of well-known novels such as The Night Train At Deoli, The Blue Umbrella and Love Among The Bookshelves.

The topics for the sessions range from environment and rural life to romance and crime thrillers. “For example, our session with Perumal Murugan, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Kannan Sundaram and Bibek Debroy will speak about the beauty of varied languages and how translation can affect the emotions of the reader. Do the authors work in close proximity with the translator, how do they choose their translator, etc. There is enough for everyone—all genres and all age groups of readers—in this festival," says Sodhi.

Penguin Fever is on till 31 October, 11am-8pm, at India Habitat Centre. Seating on first-come, first-served basis.

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