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Monday, 17 September 2012

Comica Conversation: Visions of India


The Comica Festival, in association with the South Asian Literature Festival, is to host an event with Indian artist Amruta Patil in London at the end of September.

A writer and painter with an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Amruta has become India’s first female graphic novelist and an internationally acclaimed author and artist. On Friday September 28th, she will engage in a Comica Conversation with the award-winning novelist Neel Mukherjee at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road.

They will discuss her debut, Kari, a powerful queer coming-of-age graphic novel about lost love, subsequent survival and lesbian friendship between Kari and the dying Angel. In his review, Neel extolled the book as “...worth reading for this exquisitely witty and crackling friendship alone. In three unsentimental pages Patil sketches out Angel’s death; I could barely keep my hands from shaking after reading those three immensely vast, restrained, even austere pages.”

Neel also praised Amruta’s writing as “...a thing of radiant beauty: witty, smart and swaggering, brightly knowing without ever falling into archness, illuminated by frequent flashes of poetry.”

Amruta and Neel will also discuss her much-anticipated new graphic novel entitled Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean. The first in a trilogy, this tells a tale drawn from the opening chapter of the Mahabharat, one of the greatest epics from India. With her evocative illustrations, Amruta relates this story through the recollections of some of the main characters. She has experimented with the story by choosing three relatively quiet protagonists, using them as ‘sutradhars’, or storytellers, for different parts of the tale, with a backdrop that sprawls across heaven and earth.

The cast includes gods, demigods, queens, sages, seers, seductresses, hermits, kings, warriors, and navigators of the multiverse. Amruta will be speaking with Neel about the process of adapting the great Epic into graphic novel form, and what readers can expect as her trilogy unfolds.

The conversation will be introduced and hosted by Paul Gravett, co-director of Comica Festival. Following the conversation, Amruta will be signing copies of Kari and a limited supply of advance copies of Adi Parva (published in October by Harper Collins).

Neel Mukherjee’s award-winning debut novel, A Life Apart was published in 2010. His second novel, The Lives of Others, is out in January 2014. He reviews fiction and graphic novels regularly for The Times and is also a contributing editor for Boston Review, where he starts a column from the beginning of next year.

• You can read Neel Mukherjee’s complete review of Kari here, and read Paul Gravett’s profile of and interview with Amruta Patil here.

• Comica Conversation: Visions of India, 6.30-7.30pm, in the Third Floor Gallery at Foyles Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB

More info on the Comic Festival web site 

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