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Lekhana will always be very special to me. It was the first festival (in 2013) that gave me a chance to read my work in public at a time when I was still unpublished," says Mahesh Rao, author of The Smoke Is Rising and a collection of short stories titled One Point Two Billion.

He will return to Lekhana this year to talk about his latest collection of short stories and short fiction in general.

Organized by Sangam House, an international writers’ residency programme founded by writers Arshia Sattar and D.W. Gibson, the fifth edition of Lekhana will be held this weekend at Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS). The theme is “Sound of Silence".

“Bangalore writers often meet at festivals in other cities, but we almost never get together as a community that reads and writes in our own city. It’s always good to know that the person who thinks just like you actually lives on the next street and not across the country," says Sattar.

“There is a refreshing intimacy about the event: Audience and writers sit on the stairs and chat or wander off to have lunch together," says Rao.

The festival will kick off with the screening of An Old Dog’s Diary, a film that captures the life and work of painter F.N. Souza. Over three days, writers such as Anjum Hasan, Raghu Karnad and Srinath Perur will discuss their work.

In the Capital, the 24th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair will start on Saturday.

Organized by the National Book Trust, in association with the India Trade Promotion Organization, the theme is “Vividh Bharat—The Cultural Heritage Of India". The guest of honour country, China, will hold symposiums and shows at its pavilion.

Over the nine days, there will be performances and discussions. Children can look forward to interactive storytelling sessions, a workshop on animation by Gioia Smid, the director of Netherlands’ Fiep Amsterdam company, and a balloon-puppet workshop. Lekhana will be held from 8-10 January, 10am onwards, at IIHS, Sadashivanagar, Bengaluru. For details, visit Facebook.com/LekhanaBangalore.

The New Delhi World Book Fair will be held from 9-17 January, 11am onwards, at Pragati Maidan, Delhi. Tickets, 10 for children and 20 for adults, available at the venue and some Metro stations. For details, visit Newdelhiworldbookfair.gov.in.

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