West indian literature

Festival to celebrate independent bookstores

Some of the biggest names in publishing and the creative arts will come together next week at what is billed as the first cultural event of its kind in the country – The Indie Bookstore Festival.

The 10-day festival starting February 18 has a lineup of more than 20 authors and 10 independent bookstores in the country. Organized by Preeti Chaturvedi, CEO of The Sunflower Seeds, the event aims to bring attention back to independent booksellers in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

Actress Sonali Bendre, founder of Sonali’s Book Club and main mentor of the festival, said independent bookstores are run by people who are passionate about reading and she wanted to support them in any way possible.

“The whole experience of walking into a bookstore and looking at the shelves full automatically puts a smile on your face – it’s like being a kid in a candy store! And you can never walk away with just one book – the beauty of independent bookstores is that they would also personally recommend which books to buy based on your preferences,” she said.

Speaking about the idea of ​​the festival, Chaturvedi said that being in the industry, you keep hearing about some iconic bookstores closing during the pandemic.

“It’s time we started having a conversation about independent bookstores in the country. The book trade is different from other businesses because independent booksellers are the guardians of thought and culture and we need to partner with them to make sure they thrive,” she said.

“It is with this intention that we have organized the festival and some of the biggest names in arts and culture have come forward to support us – whether it’s best-selling authors like Andy Griffiths, Durjoy Dutta, Ravinder Singh, Anita Nair or Indian cinema icons like Vishal Bharadwaj, Rahul Rawail and Imtiaz Ali,” Chaturvedi added.

Ritu Vaishnav, co-founder of KoolSchool, a festival partner bookstore, said independent bookstores are definitely more than the sum of their parts, more than places to buy and sell.

According to Trushant Tamgaonkar, executive director of one of Mumbai’s flagship bookstores, Title Waves, this is a much needed initiative.

“Independent booksellers are also reinventing themselves to bring value to their customers. And I am confident that we will continue to reinvent ourselves and thrive in the times ahead. »

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