Akash Kapur is an author and journalist who lives in Auroville, India. His work has appeared, among other places, in The Atlantic, Granta, The Hindu, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Outlook. He is the author of India Becoming: Journey Through a Changing Landscape (Penguin 2012) and editor of Auroville: Dream and Reality (Penguin 2017), an anthology of writing from Auroville. He is at work on a book on the quest for utopia, set in Auroville.
Amitava Kumar is the author of several works of non-fiction and two novels. His latest book, Immigrant, Montana: A Novel, is forthcoming; the Indian edition, entitled The Lovers, was recently published. Kumar’s writing has appeared in Harper’s, The Guardian, New Yorker, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. His essay “Pyre,” published in Granta, was selected by Jonathan Franzen for Best American Essays 2016. Kumar is Professor of English at Vassar College and a Guggenheim Fellow
Anu Majumdar was born in Allahabad. Discovering Sri Aurobindo while in college in Kolkata was a life-changing experience which led her to Auroville in 1979. She has worked in different areas such as the Matrimandir construction site and as a dancer-choreographer with the Auroville Dance Lab. At present her interest lies in city planning as a means to enable Auroville further. Her books include Refugees from Paradise & God Enchanter, (fiction), Island of Infinity & Infinity Papers (YA), as well as two collections of poetry. Auroville: A City for the Future is her first non-fiction book.
Anushka Ravishankar used to write computer programmes before she switched to writing absurd verse for children. She has written over thirty books for children, including picture books in verse, chapter books, retellings of folk tales and non-fiction. Several of them have been published internationally and have won awards. Some of her books are Catch That Crocodile, Moin and the Monster, To Market To Market and Tiger on a Tree. She has worked in an editorial capacity at Tara Books and Scholastic India. In 2012, she co-founded Duckbill Books, which publishes funny, edgy and exciting Indian books for children and young adults. She is currently the Regional Advisor for the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), India.
Arun Kumar retired from Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2015. He is currently the Malcolm Adisheshiah Chair Professor at the Institute of Social Sciences. His books include The Black Economy in India, Understanding Black Economy and Black Money, Indian Economy Since Independence: Persisting Colonial Disruption, Challenges Facing Indian Universities and the forthcoming Demonetization and Black Economy.He regularly participates in public discourse on current subjects.
Bama Faustina is a Dalit writer born in 1957, at Puthupatty, Tamil Nadu, India. Fighting impossible odds she went through school and college and trained as a teacher to impart values aimed at building self-esteem and social consciousness. Besides Karukku (1992), her first novel, she has published Sangati (1994), Kisumbukkaran (1996), Vanmam (2002), Oru Thathavum Erumayum (2004), Kondattam (2009), and Manusi (2011) in Tamil. Through her novels as well as several short stories and articles she focuses on themes related to caste domination and social discrimination. Her works have been translated into English, French, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. Bama’s significant contribution is that through the act of writing, she not only transgresses caste boundaries, she also demolishes the conventional exclusions of language and genre. Bama, who spent some years in a convent as a nun, is the most celebrated contemporary Dalit woman writer. She has been at the forefront of Dalit literary activism and has given Dalit aesthetics a visibility it had previously lacked in the literary scene of India. In 2000, the English translation of Karukku (translated by Lakshmi Holmström) won the Crossword Book Award establishing her as a distinct voice in Dalit literature.
Chetan Sharma is the founder of Animagic India, a reputed independent animation studio. He effortlessly dons many hats - filmmaker, animator, writer, storyteller, designer and voiceover artist. He has directed and produced two feature length animated films. He is the winner of the National Award for 'Raju & I' in 2005. He has illustrated over a dozen children's books with eight titles for Karadi Tales. In 2017, he was invited to Pustaka Bookaroo in Malaysia for storytelling and illustrating sessions with children.
Divya Kapur is the Managing Trustee of Bebook Children’s Mobile Library, a not-for-profit Trust that believes that reading and learning can be fun. She also founded and runs Literati, a Bookshop Café in Goa that sells new and old books and organises book readings and other cultural events. The café has been featured in “Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores” by Bob Eckstein and was awarded the Bookstore of the Year 2014 in the Publishing Next Industry Awards. She earlier practised law in Delhi and helped organise an international lawyers conference for a French-based organisation UIA. She is also a trustee of Samvada, an organisation that works with development issues, particularly with the youth and was actively involved with the Janwadi Mahila Samiti, which is under the aegis of AIDWA in Delhi.
Gulzar is a poet, author, lyricist, filmmaker, and screenplay and dialogue writer. One of the towering figures of Indian cinema, culture and literature, he was born in Dina (now in Pakistan), his career in cinema took off as an assistant to filmmaker Bimal Roy. A stalwart of Indian literature and one of the finest poets in Urdu/Hindustani, he has a number of poetry and short-story collections to his credit. He has published two volumes of his translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s poems, Baaghbaan and NindiyaChor. He is also one of the finest writers for children in the country. He is a recipient of the SahityaAkademi Award and the Padma Bhushan. In 2008, he was awarded an Oscar for his song ‘Jai ho’ in Slumdog Millionaire. He received the DadasahebPhalke Award in 2014.
Gurmehar Kaur is a social activist and ambassador of Postcards for Peace, a non-profit charitable organisation. She is pursuing English literature at Lady Shri Ram College for Women while also working on her book Small Acts of Freedom' which will be released in January. TIME magazine hailed her as 'free speech warrior' in their annual Next Generation Leader's list.
Hema Malini wears many hats with admirable ease. One of the most enduring divas of Hindi cinema, she is also a producer and director for films and television, dancer and choreographer par excellence, magazine editor, an active member of Parliament and now a singer. In an industry where the male star has traditionally driven the commercial success of films, Hema was an exception, with her name alone sufficing to ensure a film’s box-office glory. She was, arguably, India’s first female superstar. Apart from starring in mainstream super-hits like Johnny Mera Naam, Jugnu, Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and, more recently, Baghban, she received critical acclaim for her performances in Lal Patthar, Khushboo, Kinara, Meera, Ek Chadar Maili Si and Razia Sultan. She is one of our greatest cultural icons, someone who has truly lived life on her own terms.
Imayam is the pen name of V Annamalai, a well known Tamil author. His books include novels like Koveru Kazhudaigal (translated into English as Beasts of Burden by Lakshmi Holmstrom), Arumugam, Chedal and En Katha; short story collections Manbaram, Video Mariamman, Kolai Cheval, Savu Soru, and Narumanam; and the novella Pethavan (translated into English as The Begetter). His works have also been translated into Kannada and Telugu. His awards include the Agni Aksra Award and the Thamizh Thendral Thiru Vi Ka Award from the government of Tamil Nadu. He has been invited to speak on aspects of modern Tamil literature and Dalit literature in Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and in universities in Kerala and Mumbai.