LOGOS - English Literary Festival Day 1

By Salini Johnson
From St.Stephen's College, New Delhi
Posted Feb 1st 2013 6:00AM

Everything from Narnia to Middle Earth to the moors in Wuthering Heights sprang up from the audience. Each entry as diverse as the vibrant stickynotes on which they were written were collected and stuck on the wall – a kaleidoscopic treat to all facing the speaker. The occasion was LOGOS 2012-13, the annual festival of the English Literary Society of St. Stephen's College, Delhi held on the 29th and 30th of January 2013.

The inaugural address by Dr. Emma Dawson Varughese turned out to be an interactive speech of sorts as she asked the audience to jot down the names of places in literature unforgettable to them. Hence the initial exercise with the sticky notes that also ensured the audience getting a feel of this year's theme of the College's Literary Festival, Literature and Geography. Dr. Varughese talked about negotiating landscapes in literary works, ranging from landmarks in fantasy to travel literature. To explore various themes related to this, excerpts from varied authors and their books were cited by Dr. Varughese whose book Reading New India: Post-Millenial Indian Fiction in English was launched in the recently concluded Jaipur Literature Festival.

Fiction at times hindered by technology was another interesting observation made by the keynote speaker, referring, for instance, to the Google Maps. One could gather cold facts about a particular place but an aesthetic sense of the place is lost to the user of technology most of the time. This is where literature bestows the much-needed emotional quotient to the otherwise drab geographical descriptions by engaging the reader through a character. As a result, good books will invariably stand the test of time and this is what LOGOS is also aiming to do – celebrating the everlasting pleasure of engaging with literature.

Another equally interesting treat the English Literary Society had in store was an electrifying session of Poetry Reading with Ms. Nitoo Das. The otherwise lazy afternoon was enlivened by a delightful feast of poetry of varied hues and sounds by established poets as well as amateurs in addition to the most intriguing Ms. Das. Having various prestigious publications to her credit, Ms. Das had the audience enraptured by her eclectic mix of poetry. In her poems, common everyday objects are reincarnated with words that render them mesmerizingly magical. Her brilliant creativity in poems like How to cut a fish, Map of India and At age eleven had the listeners asking for more. The session also witnessed fresh and vibrant poetry from some of the audience like Dr. Anannya Dasgupta and Dr. Akhil Katyal, among others. It was truly a melting pot of ideas that echoed the identities of people and the exuberance of their creativity.

Not just talks and poetry reading sessions but LOGOS also had competitions lined up to let the creative juices flow. The Poetry Writing Competition, the Book Cover Designing Competition and especially the Spell Bee contest saw students from and outside Delhi University display their best to be the best. As Malaika Dhar-James of NIFT, Delhi put it, "I'm on a creative high from Jaipur Lit Fest and I'm glad this continued and got enriched here at LOGOS!". Just as the stiff talks on stages advanced to informal chit-chats in the company of tea and samosas (provided unfailingly by the English Literary Society), LOGOS too continued to its second day.
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