BENGALURU: Business book writers have very few platforms unlike fiction writers. Most literature fests in India are heavily fiction driven and in the non-fiction category, the prominence is given to politics. “Business writers get a raw deal, unless they are already superstars,” says Benedict Paramanand, co-founder and curator, Bangalore BizLitFest, ahead of the two-day event on Oct. 30 and 31.
While Netflix series Bad Boy Billionaires has been at the centre of much talk, the section – The Fugitives’ Saga – will hear the stories of businessmen through K Giriprakash, author of The Vijay Mallya Story; Pavan C Lall, author of Flawed: The Rise and Fall of India’s Diamond Mogul Nirav Modi; and Tamal Bandyopadhyay, author of Sahara: The Untold Story.
Writing on the Wall will look into how authors are influencing the climate change and sustainability discourse, where Navi Radjou, co-author of Do Better With Less – Frugal Innovation for Sustainable Growth; Meghaa Gupta, author of Unearthed – An Environmental History of Independent India; and Harini Nagendra, author of Cities and Canopies, faculty member at Azim Premji University, will comprise the panel.
Other segments include ‘Indian Start-Ups – Adventures and Lessons from the Trenches’ and ‘Social Entrepreneurship – How to Get the Best of the Two Worlds’. Much has changed since last year’s fest, admits Paramanand, pointing out that the charm of a literature festival is listening to your favourite author in flesh and blood, easy conversations and the opportunity to make connections.
“For attendees to a business literature fest, it’s like learning from the masters. Since we use a story-telling approach, a business fest doesn’t turn out to be dreary. But virtual is a new world altogether. The biggest challenge is choosing the best virtual platform. While the popular ones are good for a simple meeting, the new-age ones offer dynamic and creative ways of engaging with the audience,” says Paramanand, who tied up with airmeet.com, a Bengaluru-based start-up.
The other challenge they are concerned about is the uncertainty about the number who will really register and watch. With a sense of virtual communication fatigue having set in, and work from home having enhanced workload, Paramanand feels assumptions of having a big audience because it is virtual, is foolish. “We had to make sessions sharper and more interesting to attract people. Pricing is another big challenge. Since BBLF is a business litfest, we are sure of running it like a business. The free webinar culture is making our effort to raise some revenue from tickets very difficult,” he says, adding that platform costs are significant as well. For details, visit bangalorebizlitfest.com
The BBLF has announced Mihir Dalal as the choice for the 2020 BBLF CK Prahalad Best Business Book Award for his work Big Billion Startup – The Flipkart Story. The award, instituted in memory of late management guru, Prof. C K Prahalad, carries a citation and a cash prize of `1 lakh. Dalal’s book was among the five shortlisted from 35 business books published in 2019.