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    Celebrating sisterhood: Women writers to debate gender constructs in digital era


    A Women Writers' Festival debuts in city tomorrow after Mumbai and Delhi editions

    A Women Writers' Festival debuts in city tomorrow after Mumbai and Delhi editions
    BENGALURU: When Ryan Broderick, deputy global news director of Buzzfeed, was apparently looking for feminist literature at a London bookstore last year, he could not get his hands on anything but the "bare minimum". There was Pride and Prejudice, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl.

    While there is a huge body of work from the long history of feminist writing the world over, it may not always be available for mainstream consumption. Taking a step towards a gendered public discourse is the Women Writers' Festival, which will be held in Indiranagar on Thursday . Organised in Mumbai and Delhi earlier, the event is making its way to Bengaluru for the first time. The idea is to bridge the gender gap, create spaces, public discourses and conversations that put the spotlight on women.

    "Mostly , each woman is left cheering for herself or fighting her own battle whether at work or in a social setting.This is because women are not as networked as they ought to be," says communications consultant Rupali Mehra, who is curating the festival along with Shaili Chopra, founder of storytelling platform She The People, and author Kiran Manral. That is why, Mehra continues, celebrating sisterhood becomes important. The day-long event will encompass various forms of writing including blogging, flash and Twitter fiction, journalistic writing, essays, poetry and opinion pieces, explains Manral.This, she says, makes it distinct from a regular literature festival. There will be panel discussions around gender constructs in the digital age, role and portrayal of women in mythology and women and humour.

    This festival promises to be of, by and for women, with the common thread -negotiating the politics of being feminine in India. "It is all right if men feel left out of the panels. For a change, let them sit in the audience and listen.We encourage them to join the dialogue. Now it is up to them to raise the bar and become more inclusive," says Chopra. Author Shinie Antony , a panelist, says that it is important for such festivals to see beyond traditional issues associated with feminism and embrace the changing and evolving concerns. The organiser of the Bangalore Literature Festival and the Bengaluru Poetry Festival feels that sometimes mainstream literature festivals sideline women's issues or include them for tokenism. "Here, we can get together and put the good, bad and ugly about being a woman in India under the microscope."

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