The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) has established itself as one of the largest literature festivals in the world, putting a spotlight on literary works and literary artists from India, Indian-heritage and -influence from around the world. For the first time ever, the JLF festival brings its exploration of all things Indian literature to Canada with JLF Toronto 2019, taking place at the Fermenting Cellar at Toronto’s iconic Distillery District.
We had the pleasure of kicking of the inaugural event with an intimate chat with one of Canada’s renowned Indo-Canadians, Anosh Irani, a novelist and playwright with a number of works – and subsequent awards – to his name.
Born and raised in Mumbai, Anosh moved to Vancouver, Canada in 1998 to study at the University of British Columbia and pursue his passion for writing. His writing works have received critical acclaim across the spectrum. He is a celebrated playwright who made his debut in October 2003 with The Matka King, a full-length play that premiered at the Arts Club Theatre Company in Vancouver. Bombay Black, part of the The Bombay Plays anthology with The Matka King, won 5 Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2006, including one for Outstanding New Play. The anthology itself has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.
Beyond plays, he is an accomplished novelist as well, with four critically acclaimed and award-winning novels to his name: The Cripple and His Talismans (2004), The Song of Kahunsha (2006), Dahanu Road (2010), and The Parcel (2016).
There are soft-spoken people, and then there is Anosh. A humble gentleman, polite as ever. He made his way through the crowd to a quiet corner of the event venue to have a conversation with us about his journey as a playwright, the impact plays have on exploring culture, and the value events like JLF give to writers such as him. Given enough time, we could have chatted for hours on end exploring the intricate details of life as a playwright, and how works come together.
Cover Image: Boman Irani. Provided courtesy of JLF Toronto