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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Jaipur Literature Festival - Jan 22nd

The doors are as always open to everyone and this is what makes JLF so important and why it must not change, despite the calls for controlling the crowds and the numbers.The pressure for these soldiers seems to have well and truly lifted. 

The day starts with Margaret Atwood in conversation with Naomi Alderman, her Rolex Mentee on her latest book "The Heart goes Last" about Stan and Charmaine who are deeply affected by the economic downturn and end up living in their car. They then agree to participate in a programme where they do time in prison and time in the community and the novel takes off from there into one of Atwood's interesting and often bizarre dystopias. She was inspired to write this novel when she participated in a protest to prevent the farm programme from being shut down in the local prison. 

Margaret Atwood
The Art of Memoir was explored by a whole panel of writers. Brigid Keenan of "Diplomatic Baggage" fame, reciting little Miss Muffet to us in Hindi to the delight of the crowd,  launching her latest book about her childhood in India.  As a trailing spouse the act of writing was an act of desperation for her. She had grown up in an era where it was frowned upon to talk about yourself, yet the writing gave her some sanity as she moved from Kashmir, to Syria to Kazakstan and a host of other places with her diplomat husband. 

For Blake Morrison the author of "When did you last see your Father" it was about paying homage to his father after his death and to discovering so much about both parents, which he did not know. Facts which took him by surprise such as his mother's objection to being identified as a Catholic.  

For Stephen Fry who has written three memoirs about his life, on his bipolar depression, his addiction to cocaine and his homosexuality he found the whole process important in solidyfying who he really was but not necessarily cathartic. 

For Helen MacDonald writer of "H is for Hawk" it was five years of trying to deal with the death of her father and going off the rails while training a goshawk.

Christina Lamb did not feel as if she fitted into this panel as she was reporting from a war zone but with her photographic eye and realising that she was the one who could tell the story she was the Eye and the I in her story. 

For Esther Freud of "Hideously Kinky" her starting point was some years of childhood spent in Morocco which made her choose her narrator as a young child. What she was able to remember were the smells, the sensations of that time. The detail was filled through imagination. 

"Bernini's Beloved" by Sarah McPhee was a staggering session listening to the author talking about her years in uncovering the story of Constanze, Berninis mistress who was having an affair at the same time with Berninis brother Luigi. Bernini ordered that she be slashed for her behaviour and she faced court and jail as a fallen woman. The starting point  for the author was the marble bust of Constanze which had all the passion and perfection of Berninis art in it, together with the emotional turmoil and bond which clearly this lover had evoked in him. 

Sarah McPhee
The day ended with a show stopper - Bharka Dutt in conversation with Shobhaa De to launch Barkha's new book "The Unquiet Land"- a collection of columns that Bharka has written about her past, about current politics, the Kashmir question and reporting from the front line as well as her relationship with Congress and BJP. Two wonderful examples of women who are confident and outspoken on all the glaring issues in India today whether it be the empowerment of women or religious tolerance. 
The power house of Barkha Dutt and Shobhaa De

The night fun began with Scavengers and Midival Pundits playing for a large crowd. 

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