I really liked that the writers speaking were reading from work by other writers; so often at readings you'll encounter someone who self-indulgently reads way too much of their own writing, because they are madly in love with themselves and the sound of their prose. Reading someone else's work tends to rein in that tendency. And they chose good selections too -- my favorite was probably Amitava Kumar's reading from Hanif Kureishi, but I also like the excerpt Ginu Kamani read, though I didn't quite catch the author's name (frustrating).
It was also just great meeting (or re-meeting) some of the S. Asian writers I've been e-mailing back and forth with. (Pooja, who is halfway through my book, reassured me that so far, she doesn't hate it. Whew.) I feel like in the last few years we've started to see a real explosion in the desi writing community in America, an evolution that I'm glad DesiLit can be a small part of. I'm hopeful that we can make a truly supportive and energized space for exchange of ideas, critique, and crash space at literary events. :-)
I was particularly delighted to hear from someone last night who was thinking of coming to Chicago for Kriti, if she could get time off work -- I told her that she could fly in Friday evening after work; she'd miss some stuff, like Chitra's reading, but that the bulk of the activities will be Saturday and Sunday morning. That's the plan right now, at any rate...
Looking forward to today's festival activities, though I gather that it'll take me a good hour to get out to the Queens Museum for the Writing the City panel and the Sex and the Suitor readings. No worries -- I can always read on the train. :-)
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Regarding reading aloud: I think one thing a lot of people don’t remember, whether reading their own work or other people’s, is that reading a given piece aloud takes a lot longer than reading that piece silently.
The rule of thumb I use is that it takes about two minutes to read a page from a printed book out loud, so a 10-page piece (which seems really short if you’re reading it silently, only about 4000 words) takes about 20 minutes to read aloud.
It’s too late now, but next year at WisCon, let’s organize a reading of other people’s stuff.
Actually, every year at the WisCon smut panel, we read at least some stuff by other people. So there’s precedent. 🙂