The making of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), under the editorship of James Murray and others, was a monumental 50-year task requiring thousands of volunteers. In his book, The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary, British-American author and journalist Simon Winchester, tells the story of the OED and its early editors. Winchester’s popular book, The Surgeon of Crowthorne, also tells the odd story of the murderer who contributed extensively from his prison cell. Renowned politician and author Shashi Tharoor’s latest book Tharoorosaurus covers the etymologies and eccentricities of the words in the English language. In conversation with Supriya Nair, they discuss the English vocabulary and this constantly evolving tome of lexicons.

Cherished institutions seem fragile, political classes are in disarray, economic misery fuels populist anger, people knowingly accept being lied to, partisan rancor dominates, spectacular indecency rules―these aspects of a society in crisis fascinated Shakespeare and shaped some of his most memorable plays. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology and unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues and the cynicism and opportunism of the various enablers and hangers-on who surround them, and imagined how they might be stopped. As world-renowned Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt of Harvard shows, Shakespeare’s work, in this as in so many other ways, remains vitally relevant today. Greenblatt will be in conversation with historian and author Victoria de Grazia. De Grazia’s latest book is The Perfect Fascist.


The digital age is transforming how readers and audiences interpret and consume literary fiction. Ann Cleeves, Anosh Irani, Emma Donoghue, and Devyani Saltzman discuss the creative collaborations that enable the movement from script to screen and how text-driven narratives get transformed into dynamic scripts and immersive moving images. Bestselling author Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series has been dramatized onscreen as Vera and the Jimmy Perez novels as the series Shetland. Celebrated novelist and playwright Anosh Irani’s one-man show, Buffoon, won the 2020 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, and his latest book is titled Translated from the Gibberish: Seven Stories and One Half Truth. Award-winning author Emma Donoghue’s book Room has been adapted into a movie and a play. Writer and curator Devyani Saltzman latest book is Shooting Water: A Memoir of Second Chances, Family, and Filmmaking. She is currently the Director of Public Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario.


A session that brings together two outstanding and heartwarming accounts of the power of resilience, tenacity, and courage. Author and broadcaster Harnarayan Singh’s book One Game at a Time: My Journey from Small Town Alberta to Hockey’s Biggest Stage is a breathtaking narrative of his experiences of balancing his faith and culture on the road of becoming one of Canada’s most beloved hockey presenters. The book details his years of struggle and endurance in the face of hardship and racism and breaking through societal barriers to achieve his dream. Author and entrepreneur Samra Zafar’s book A Good Wife: Escaping The Life I Never Chose is a haunted retelling of her journey of abuse and fight against socio-cultural taboos and discrimination. The book rakes through her attempts to carve out a different path for herself and her daughters through education and the search for courage and power in the face of extreme oppression. In conversation with writer and translator Manjushree Thapa, they explore the source of their inspiration and strength.


Climate change is no longer impending. We are currently in the throes of a grave environmental and existential crisis, and frighteningly aware of it. David Wallace-Wells’ latest book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, expanded from his viral article in New York Magazine, alerts us in unsparing detail to the extent of damage and despair awaiting us, and presses us to imagine more effective ways to negotiate the future. Explorer and author James Raffan has worked extensively on culture and climate change. His latest book, Ice Walker, follows a polar bear’s precarious existence in the changing Arctic. With global temperatures rising and ice caps melting, the book sharply spotlights the chilling reality of climate change and the fragile balance between mankind and nature. In conversation with Marcus Moench they analyze measures to mitigate the greatest challenge humanity faces today.


Telling a story means more than just reading it out. It is a play of dramatic actions, voice modulations, and projection. In this episode of Kahaani Online, storyteller Rohini Vij not only tells you a heart-warming tale about a kind boy and his drum but also teaches you different tricks and tips so that YOU can tell YOUR story better!



(Age 10-12yrs)

Travel writing is one of the most ancient forms of literature but does it have any relevance in the age of the internet, globalisation and Google Maps? British journalist and broadcaster Anthony Sattin has written extensively on history, culture, and travel. His books include Young Lawrence: A Portrait of the Legend as a Young Man and The Pharaoh’s Shadow: Travels in Ancient and Modern Egypt. Poet and novelist Ruth Padel’s recent books are Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life and We are All from Somewhere Else: Poetry and Prose on Migration and Survival. She has also written Tigers in Red Weather, a journey across Asian forests in search of wild tigers, and is working on a follow-up book on elephants. Canadian travel writer Will Ferguson is well known for his books such as The Finder and Beyond Belfast: A 560 Mile Journey Across Northern Ireland On Sore Feet.British travel writer and journalist Monisha Rajesh is the award-winning author of Around India in 80 Trains and her most recent book Around the World in 80 Trains..Together, they read from their work, discuss the genre and the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on travel writing with historian and Festival co-director William Dalrymple.


Join us for a conversation with famed mythologist, author, and illustrator Devdutt Pattanaik and theatre artists and writers Ravi Jain and Miriam Fernandes for a deep dive into the world of the Mahabharata through the lens of Jain and Fernandes’ stage adaptation of the ancient text. The conversation will speak to the relevance and importance of these myths in our modern world and how these epic stories can help us unpack the chaos around us. Why Not Theatre’s new theatrical adaptation of the Mahabharata takes a modern twist on the ancient Indian epic, with the session also providing a sneak peek into the process of creating the show as well as its Bhagavad Gita mini-opera.


Mahabharata was commissioned by the Shaw Festival and the World Premiere will be presented by the Shaw in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. The Bhagavad Gita was developed with the support of a Creative Residency at the Canadian Opera Company.

Food has associations that take it well beyond a means of sustenance. Food triggers emotions, memories, culture, and identity, which is not an exhaustive list. Added to that is the creativity of the production of food as it travels across continents while still holding identifiable allegiance to its origins and provenance. Listen in to three master chefs as they share their interpretations of food, ingredients, and recipes. Acclaimed chef and author Meeru Dhalwala is the co-owner of Vij's Restaurant. Her books include Vij's Indian: Our Stories, Spices and Cherished Recipes, Vij's Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, and Vij's At Home: Relax, Honey: The Warmth and Ease of India Cooking. Celebrated Indian-born British chef and restaurateur Asma Khan of Netflix's Chef's Table is the owner of Darjeeling Express in London. She is also the author of Asma's Indian Kitchen. Chef and activist Joshna Maharaj's debut book is Take Back the Tray. She hosts Kitchen Helpdesk, a weekly food column on CBC Radio, and co-hosts a food podcast called HotPlate. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy,  these three outstanding master chefs come together in this session to exchange ideas and, perhaps, recipes.


In Burning the Books, Richard Ovenden, the chief librarian of the Bodleian in Oxford, charts 3000 years of neglect and literary vandalism in libraries across the world and the consequences for human culture and the sum of human knowledge. Beginning with the library of King Ashurbanipal of the Assyrian empire, he journeys us through continents and centuries as he tells us of the history of books and ideas, and the libraries that house them. Vickery Bowles, City Librarian at the Toronto Public Library, speaks of what needs to be done in terms of public policy and funding to nurture and sustain the library system. In conversation with author and Editorial Director of Harvard University Press Sharmila Sen, they explore the inner life of the libraries.


In this episode, award winning-puppeteer and shadow grapher Drew Colby, who has been performing puppetry in Africa and the UK for over 30 years, performs Anansi and Five, a traditional tale from Africa and the West Indies, with shadow puppets about the trickster spider-man Anansi and the number five!


(Age: 4-6yrs)