Crime writers festival to begin Friday

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) As the second edition of the Crime Writers Festival begins in the national capital on Friday, die-hard fans can look forward to a thrilling week-end of suspense and nail-biting sessions on plots, styles, films and characters.

Going by the stellar line-up of crime and thriller writers, film-makers and script-writers from across India and the world, the three- day festival, an initiative of the Crime Writer’s Forum for South Asia, is sure to provide edge-of-the-seat excitement to the audience.

The main highlight would be the session paying tribute to the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup, a British forensics expert who will examine the different kinds of poisons used by Christie in her novels. Harkup will be in conversation with Dom Hastings, director of ‘Bloody Scotland’, Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival.

“We are thrilled that writers from France, Israel, Italy Spain, Sweden and the UK are here for the festival — apart from some great Indian writers. Among the many highlights is the the session by Kathryn Harkup, as we are celebrating 125 years of Agatha Christie. This year, we also have a special session on the badlands of Bollywood, with film maker Sudhir Mishra,” said festival director Kishwar Desai.

Other highlights will be sessions by Veronique Ovalde, a leading French crime novelist who will bring a huge dose of urban mystery; while Liad Shoham, an Isreali lawyer turned crime novelist examines legal thrillers with Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nundy and lawyer Niharika Karanjawala.

And, a crime writers festival would be incomplete without discussing detectives — a special session between Italian writer Piergiorgio Pulixi and Spanish author Clara Penalver where they will talk about the sleuths they have created.

Interestingly, the festival will also discuss the rising crime figures in metropolitan cities like Delhi.

“In the session on urban crime with author Veronique Ovalde, we will discuss the city scape in Delhi which leads to anger, aggression, and even murder. Delhi shares some similarities with other capital cities around the glob,” Desai said.

Crime writers in Hindi would be represented by well-known authors like Amit Khan.

Writer and film maker Piyush Jha felt there is a significant increase in the readership for crime fiction.

“I am excited about the festival as it is a gathering of fellow Indian and international crime writers who are at the top of their game. It’s a place to chat and bond and even pick each other’s brains. It is also a great place to meet crime-fiction fans and engage and understand from them their likes and dislikes,” said Jha, who will be releasing the book ‘Raaksha – India’s No.1 Serial Killer’ during the festival.

Desai attested to the fact that the genre of crime fiction is on the rise.

“We have so many more authors wanting to participate than even last year and so one knows the genre is expanding. Earlier , writing crime fiction was something to be frowned upon, now everyone wants to be a crime novelist! Or make a film based on crime. In fact almost every successful Bollywood film has a crime at the heart of it,” Desai added.

The Hindustan Times sponsored event, of which Siyahi is a co-producer, would be held at Oxford bookstore and Alliance Francaise, Delhi.

Going beyond literature and fiction, the festival will also showcase movies which explore how crime-in-the-real has been fantasised by pop culture. There will be Gulzar’s Achanak (1973). Another film, ‘The French Connection (1971), a William Friedkin’s classic, is based on Robin Moore’s real-life expose of drug trafficking between France and the US. The third film, “The Fifth Estate” (2013) based on the Julian Assange affair, gives an idea of contemporary cinema’s attitudes towards real crime.

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