Soma Bose in Kolkata January 2024
New Delhi (India), February13: My year started on a wonderfully eventful note. I have been connecting with readers and enthusiasts at multiple events! Each meeting provided a unique opportunity to delve into my book of short stories, sharing insights, laughter, and heartfelt discussions.
January started with some thrilling news. I was honoured to be named the Emerging Writer of the Year in Fiction at the Kolkata Literary Carnival on January 13, 2024. I am immensely grateful to Ukiyoto Publishing House for presenting this award to me. This award marks a milestone in my journey as an author, being the first such recognition for my book Frenny and Other Women You Have Met. The entire experience has been nothing short of incredible, and I’m deeply grateful for the support and encouragement from readers, fellow authors, and the literary community.
Soon after, I had the honour to participate in a thought-provoking panel discussion at the 47th Kolkata International Book Fair. I shared my views on the topic ‘Women Supporting Women’ alongside esteemed personalities. The panel included internationally acclaimed dancer and social reformer Alokananda Roy, acclaimed actor and author Barun Chanda, academician Dr Kaberi Chatterjee, and former Regional Director of ICCR Goutam De. The discussion was moderated brilliantly by Sohini Das, Director of the Association of Women in Business.
Alokananda Roy’s insights on gender and her work with transgender individuals were truly enlightening. She embodies inspiration for women across society, advocating for inclusivity and empowerment. Barun Chanda’s appreciation for my story ‘Frenny’ touched me profoundly, emphasizing how friendship transcends age. His perspective on gender equality also resonated deeply with listeners.
Dr Kaberi Chatterjee’s dual role as a homemaker and professor showcased the strength of women in diverse spheres. She spoke eloquently about the role of homemakers. I was glad to hear her views and how well they resonated with my book. Goutam De’s anecdotes, especially about mothers-in-law supporting daughters-in-law as also depicted in my book, left everyone inspired. Sohini Das’s thorough understanding of the book and engaging moderation enriched the discussion. It was heartening to see all panellists deeply engaged, reflecting their commitment to the subject.
Later in the month, I had the absolute pleasure of engaging with the bright minds at Sushila Birla High School, alongside actor Biplab Dasgupta, in a program aimed at fostering self-actualization and awareness on various crucial issues. Our talks centred on career guidance and honing public speaking, essential aspects for the holistic development of young individuals.
Biplab Dasgupta’s insightful research and observations on my stories added a new dimension to our discussion. His understanding of each character and storyline sparked a dynamic exchange of ideas, leaving us all enriched. The students’ participation was also remarkable. Their thought-provoking questions challenged us to delve deeper into the topics of our talks. The intelligence and curiosity of our young audience were palpable!
Kudos to the organizers for such a well-coordinated event. The enthusiasm and engagement from both students and faculty made this talk a memorable experience. Here’s to empowering the next generation with knowledge and inspiration!
Reflecting on these recent experiences as an author fills me with immense gratitude and inspiration. I am humbled by the recognition of my work and the opportunity to share insights. These discussions, interactions, and exchanges with fellow authors, readers, and students have been truly invaluable.
January 2024 has been a standout month for me as an author, and the Kolkata Literary Meet was the icing on the cake! Kolkata exudes both sophistication and simplicity. The city’s distinctive architecture, its hustle and bustle, its warmth and vibrance, its intellectual depth—all combine to create a unique charm. These qualities of the city were palpable in the Kolkata Literary Meet. The Literary Meet buzzed with sessions that spanned four venues and covered an array of subjects. With this Meet, Tata Steel, the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and the Victoria Memorial Hall organized an event that brimmed with intellectual stimulation and showcased the best in literature and culture. The Victoria Memorial grounds provided a stunning backdrop to the event.
I had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at this event. The session titled “Like a Prayer” found me in conversation with esteemed author Nilanjana Sengupta, moderated by the insightful Shahana Chatterjee. Together, we delved into the realms of home, prayer, and the multifaceted lives of women. It was an opportunity to share and exchange thoughts on the themes close to my heart, as explored in my book Frenny and Other Women You Have Met.
The discussion ranged across various social and cultural topics, touching upon the nuances of women’s lives and the intersectionality of identity. I had the chance to read an excerpt from my book, offering a glimpse into the lives of the women whose stories I’ve been lucky to tell. What made the conversation extra special for me were Nilanjana Sengupta’s insights on religion and culture. Her perspectives added layers of depth to our dialogue, enriching our understanding of the diverse experiences of women across different cultural contexts.
Shahana Chatterjee’s thought-provoking questions kept us engaged, prompting introspection and sparking new ideas. I was also impressed by the questions posed by the audience during the session. It was heartening to witness the genuine curiosity and engagement of readers. Their inquiries reaffirmed the significance of storytelling in fostering empathy and understanding.
Events like these remind us of the power of literature to ignite meaningful discourse and inspire change. As an author passionate about telling women’s stories, the Kolkata Literary Meet was an invaluable platform to connect with fellow enthusiasts, exchange ideas, and celebrate the role of stories in fostering empathy and understanding. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity and look forward to continuing the conversation on women’s lives and experiences. Thank you to everyone who joined us!
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