WHO WOULD have thought that listening to stories about feminist publishing would be such fun? Those who came to the British Council expecting sad stories were in for a surprise. Ritu's subtle sense of humour and flair for narration made Kali's interaction with well known women "almost theatre" as a listener pointed out. Surely, there should have been more listeners and more men in the audience!
Taslima Nasreen, Zohra Sehgal, Qurratulain Hyder, Lakshmi Sahgal... they came across as not just words on a page but as vibrant personalities. Brave, quirky, lovable. But why do their autobiographies not get the attention they deserve? Why doesn't actress Zohra, who at 93 is still busy with films, TV and radio talks, get as much space in reviews as say, Shashi Kapoor? Is there not a bias against women's writing, asked Ritu. How is it that Qurratulain finds such few publishers when "River of Fire", her novel is such a significant work?
Taslima's autobiography, in which she brilliantly interweaves the story of her life with the rise of fundamentalism in Bangladesh, had no takers till Kali decided to publish it.
"Kali has tried to make women visible and their lives. We will continue to publish these wonderful writers," Ritu promised.
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