New Delhi: To celebrate the wonders of the written word and the synergy it creates with several sports, Ekamra Sports Literature Festival Season 2 – Asia’s largest literature festival – proved once again that it is the quality of good writing that will always dominate the world of literature as it kicked off on a wintry morning at The Lemon Tree Hotel at Aerocity in New Delhi on 14th December 2019.
Cricket being our religion of sorts, the first day’s inaugural session 281 & Beyond was the most befitting star at the swimming pool lawns with author R Kaushik, former India spinner Murali Kartik in conversation with moderator Arup Ghosh. While the author explained the process of what brought about the book, Kartik was emphatic that not only is VVS Laxman a wonderful friend but will always be considered a great player.
Spokesperson, Ekamra Sports Literature Festival Shireen Sethi was ecstatic at the overwhelming response to the festival, “It’s a great feeling to see such enthusiasm for sports writing in India. Having been part of Indian media for so long, it is so heartening to see sports journalists tell poignant, funny, inspiring and above all compelling stories in the form of books. The Festival is showcasing biographies, sports fiction, autobiographies and sensitive issues that find resonance in the world of sport .
She also gave the credit where it is due. “Of course, the authors must be applauded for coming out with such amazing honest and immensely readable personal stories.”
In the second session The Sports Imprint – its Future Milee Ashwarya od Penguin Random; Arcopol Chaudhuri of Harper Collins; Karthik Venkatesh of Westland spoke about what it will take to increase the number of sports books being published in the country.
It was followed by The Fire Burns Blue – A History of Women’s Cricket in India in which writer Karunya Keshav spoke about the prodigious amount of research that went into writing about women’s cricket. She also spoke about her co-author Sidhanta Patnaik who passed away earlier this year but contributed immensely to the book until the very end.
In another session What’s Good About Falling had author Prajwal Hegde in a freewheeling chat in a session with India’s Davis Cup Captain Rohit Rajpal. The two talked about how lonely the world is for all those sportspersons who want to excel in their respective fields.
From the Heart with India’s ace sprinter and medal hopeful Dutee Chand was a no-holds- barred session. Dutee rued how lack of funds and sponsors come in the way of her training for the next Olympics in 2020. “With no competition coming from women athletes, I have to train with the men athletes in Bhubaneswar, and also, don’t get enough support for me to train for a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” she lamented. She also openly spoke about the controversies revolving around her sexuality.
The session The Full Monty was the one which got the most thunderous applause as former England Cricketer Monty Panesar gave everyone the honest account of his cricketing days. Talking about his book life he said, “When I am talking about my career I want to be true and give an honest account as to how I became a cricketer in slightly difficult times, especially coming from totally different background”. Further remembering about his cricketing days he said, “Cricket is still the best thing that has happened in my life” and how getting his hero Sachin Tendulkar out was a “dream comes true.”
The final session Cricket: 2.0 the T20 Revolution had author Tim Wigmore with T20 WC winning bowler Joginder Sharma.
The Session explored the various facets of T2O affecting and enriching the game of cricket. Joginder Sharma said, “After the historic win at T20 WC in 2007, the craze for shorter format of the game has seen exponential growth. T20 gives best exposure to state players and this is the best format of the game.” Tim Wigmore commented that “T20 is sports that never stand still. Since the first IPL match in India, the popularity has soared and has got new audience, Indian players should play lot more overseas for more exposure.” Tim also emphasized on the need to invest in bowling attack.