Kamini Mahadevan has had a long and exciting innings in publishing. She was with Penguin Books India for almost two decades and retired from there as Consultant Editor. Responsible for the quasi-academic, non-fiction, Penguin Classics, and translations lists, she had the privilege of publishing several eminent and award-winning authors, from UR Ananthamurthy, David Shulman and V Narayana Rao, Arundhathi Subramaniam and Vijay Nambisan to Romila Thapar, Shashi Tharoor, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Rustom Bharucha, Samanth Subramanian and Sanjaya Baru, among many others. She now lives in Bangalore and freelances.
Kanimozhi Karunanidhi is a Tamil poet, journalist and politician. Currently a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, she is also the Secretary of the DMK’s Women’s wing. She conceptualised and organised a festival of Tamil folk arts, Chennai Sangamam, showcasing Tamil Nadu's traditional art forms for five years. She is passionate about the welfare of marginalised people and has actively worked with the Government of Tamil Nadu to advance the cause of transgendered people and has also served as an Advisor to the Department for the Differently-abled in the Government of Tamil Nadu. She was elected President of The Hindu Employees Union Association, the first woman to hold this position. She has collections of poetry including Karuvarai Vasanai, Agathinai, Paarvaigal, Karukkum Marudhani, and Sigarangalil Uraigirathu Kaalam to her name. These have been translated into English, Italian, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and German. She has also translated works of Tamil poets into English.
Kavitha Muralidharan is a bilingual journalist from Tamil Nadu with over 15 years of experience in covering a wide range of issues from politics to culture and cinema. She is also a poet and a translator. She has a poetry collection and a collection of essays to her credit. Her translation of an anonymous woman’s blog writings on Iraqi war has been critically acclaimed in Tamil literary circles. She is currently an independent journalist contributing to major print and online news magazines. She won the PII-ICRC award for reporting for her story on Sri Lankan war in 2009. She has also been a recipient of numerous awards including Vijay TV’s best woman journalist award in 2014.
Kombai S Anwar is a writer, photographer and filmmaker, with an abiding interest in history. He has documented the history of the Muslims of Madras from 1600 to 2000 CE for the Madras Gazetteer Project. He was commissioned by the Archaeological Survey of India to make a series of short films on the Big Temple at Thanjavur, as part of the 1000th year commemorative celebrations of the famous World Heritage Monument. His film Yaadhum (All), on the history and identity of the Tamil Muslim community, has won several awards. He is now working on YouTube projects and writes a regular column for The Hindu.
Lara Fergus grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney and gave up a science degree to become a contemporary dancer. Some years and an ankle injury later, she gave that up to see the world and wash dishes. She spent seven years living overseas, mostly in France. In that time, she completed degrees in writing, women’s studies and international law, and worked with various advocacy organisations, including for newly arrived immigrant and refugee women. Lara has worked as a researcher and writer on human rights —particularly violence against women — for two decades, with organisations such as Amnesty International, White Ribbon, VicHealth, the United Nations and the Victorian State Government on policy to prevent violence against women. Most recently she was Director of Policy and Evaluation of the Foundation to Prevent Violence against Women and Children. She lives in Melbourne with her partner Maryse, writes before work and dances on the weekends. My Sister Chaos is her first novel and she is now writing her second.
Lakshmi Karunakaran is an arts-based educator from Bengaluru. She currently runs Buguri Community Libraries through her work at Hasiru Dala, an organisation working for the betterment of informal waste workers. Based in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Tumkuru, Buguri Community Libraries bring the joy of reading and sharing stories in communities where children of informal waste workers live. She also works at Radio Active 904 Mhz, a community radio channel, producing shows on arts, education, culture and personal transformation. She writes for Teacher Plus, a magazine for contemporary teachers.
Lisa Brown is a New York Times bestselling illustrator, author and cartoonist. Her picture books include The Airport Book, How to Be, Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, and The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming and Goldfish Ghost, both by Lemony Snicket, to whom she is allegedly married. She lives in San Francisco and teaches in the illustration department of the California College of the Arts. Her upcoming book is a graphic novel ghost story for young people.
Madhavi Menon is Professor of English at Ashoka University, and the author, most recently, of Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India. She has also written several books on Shakespeare and queer theory, and edited Shakesqueer: A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Currently, she is working on a book about the laws governing sexuality in India, titled The Law of Desire. Her opinion pieces on desire, identity, and the law have been published in Scroll, Indian Express, and The Hindu. Her extended family lives in Madras/Chennai, and so she considers this her second home.
Malavika Nataraj has been writing for nearly two decades, starting out with stories in local magazines and later writing feature articles for both print and online media. Educated in India and the U.K, she holds degrees in Economics and Marketing. She began her career in advertising and went on to work for a research and consulting firm in London, UK. She became a freelance writer in 2007 and in 2008, she won an award at the Wimbledon Book Fest (UK) for her short story ‘Waiting’. Since then, she has carried on writing full-time and her work - which includes feature articles, art and music reviews, copywriting and web content - spans a variety of subjects and relates to many different audiences. Her first book for children, Suraya’s Gift, was published in October 2015.
Mani Rao is a poet, translator and scholar. She has nine books of poetry including New & Selected Poems; two books in translation Bhagavad Gita as a poem, and Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader. Her latest book Living Mantra: Mantra, Deity and Visionary Experience Today (2019) is an anthropology of mantra-experience among Hindu-tantric practitioners in Andhra-Telangana. Mani’s poems and essays are, or are forthcoming in, journals including Wasafiri, Meanjin, Washington Square, Fulcrum, West CoastLine, Interim and Poetry Magazine, and in anthologies including WW Norton’s Language for a New Century, Penguin’s 60 Indian Poets, and the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. She has held residencies at Omi Ledig House (2018), Iowa IWP (2005 and 2009) and was the 2006 University of Iowa International Programs writer-in-residence. Mani has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNLV, and a PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University.
Manisha Koirala is one of India’s leading film actors. Born into the prominent Koirala family in Nepal, Manisha made her Bollywood debut with Saudagar in 1991, before going on to establish herself as one of the leading actresses with films such as 1942: A Love Story, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Bombay, Khamoshi: The Musical, Dil Se, Mann, Lajja and Company. She took a break from acting in 2012 to return five years later with the coming-of-age drama Dear Maya, Netflix's Lust Stories and Sanju. She was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999 and 2015 and was involved in the relief works after the Nepal earthquake 2015. She promotes causes such as women's rights, prevention of violence against women, prevention of human trafficking and cancer awareness. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and has been cancer-free since 2013.
Manjula Padmanabhan is an author, playwright, artist and cartoonist. Her play Harvest won the 1997 Onassis Award for Theatre, in Greece. Her weekly comic strip Sukiyaki appears in ‘Business Line’, a Chennai-based financial newspaper. She writes a weekly column about her life in the US called Here, There & Elsewhere in ‘Blink’, the Saturday Magazine of The Hindu BusinessLine. Her books include the novels Escape and The Island of Lost Girls, centered on gender conflict in a brutal future world.
Manwara Begum is currently the Vice President of Safai Sena, one of the largest organisations of, by and for wastepickers in India. She has an experience of more than 20 years in working with waste in various capacities. She is a vocal advocate of rights for waste workers, especially female waste workers and their health. She is currently working as a sanitation worker at the Netaji Nagar Post Office, New Delhi.
Meghna Gulzar began her professional career in 1989 as a freelance writer for The Times of India and other publications. Her poems have also been published in anthologies of the Poetry Society of India. A graduate in Sociology from St Xaviers’ College, Mumbai, Meghna worked with noted filmmaker Saeed Akhtar Mirza as an assistant director on the National Award-winning film Naseem; and went on to do a short course in filmmaking from the Tisch School of Arts, New York University, New York. She assisted her father – poet, writer & director Gulzar - on his films Maachis and Hu Tu Tu. Along with scripting her own films, Meghna has made documentaries for Doordarshan on contemporary issues such as domestic help in Mumbai and the burgeoning of private security agencies in Mumbai and directed music videos for several music albums, corporate ad films and also anchored several TV shows including The Amul India Show. Her first feature film, Filhaal… (2002) was about surrogate motherhood. Meghna directed A Pocketful of Poems, a short film on the celluloid and literary works of Gulzar, for the Sahitya Akademi. Her second feature film Just Married (2007) explored the fragile relationship between two people in an arranged marriage. Meghna’s short film Pooranmaashi was among the bouquet of films in Dus Kahaaniyaan (2007). In 2010, Meghna conceived and directed Closer, a documentary on Pervasive Developmental Disorders for the Special Child Trust. Heads & Tales, Meghna’s English translation of the screenplays of Aandhi and Hu Tu Tu, was published in 2014. Talvar, Meghna’s feature film based on the Noida Double-Murder case of 2008, released on October 2, 2015, to rave reviews and tremendous audience appreciation. Meghna’s last feature film Raazi — based on the true story of a young girl, who is married into a Pakistani military family and sent to Pakistan as a spy for India, in 1971 — released on May 11, 2018. Because He Is..., her biography on her father first published in 2004, was released as a new updated edition in September 2018. Meghna is currently working on her next film, based on Acid Violence and explores the story of survivor Laxmi Agarwal. A film on the life of Field Marshal Sam H F J Manekshaw MC is also in the pipeline.
Mini Kapoor has been a journalist for more than 20 years, with publications including Outlook and The Indian Express. At the latter she was Books Editor and Opinion Editor. She is now Ideas Editor at The Hindu.
Mukund Padmanabhan is the Editor of The Hindu. Earlier, Editor of The Hindu BusinessLine, Mukund is an MPhil in Philosophy and worked briefly as a lecturer in the University of Delhi before switching to journalism. He worked for the magazine Sunday in Kolkata and The Indian Express before joining The Hindu in 1997. He is interested in and has written about politics, legal affairs, and literature. He was an adjunct faculty of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, where he taught law and advanced writing to postgraduate students. He curates two festivals of theatre and music — The Hindu Theatre Fest and The Hindu November Fest — on behalf of his newspaper group. Also, an annual thought conclave – The Huddle.