Balaji Vittal, a graduate in Civil Engineering from Jadavpur University, is a second-generation Calcuttan. His bestselling book R.D. Burman: The Man, The Music, co-authored with Anirudha Bhattacharjee, won the President’s Swarn Kamal Award at the 2011 National Film Awards. Their next book, Gaata Rahe Mera Dil – 50 Classic Hindi Film Songs, was awarded the Excellence in Writing on Cinema at the 17th Mumbai Film Festival in 2015. Balaji freelances for Ei Shomoy, MetroPlus (The Hindu), Scroll, Quint and IBN Live.
Ruskin Bond is an award-winning Indian author of British descent, much renowned for his role in promoting children’s literature in India. He has written over 500 short stories, essays and novellas and more than 50 books for children. His first novel, The Room on the Roof, written at 17, received the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. In June 2017 Lone Fox Dancing: My Autobiography was published. He has received the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and the Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar.
Mahadev Toppo is a retired bank officer, well known tribal thinker, and poet and actor from Jharkhand. The anguish of tribals and the problems confronting them have been articulated through a collection of 44 poems titled Jungle Pahad Ke Paath.
Anirudha Bhattacharjee is the co-author, along with Balaji Vittal, of R.D. Burman: The Man, The Music which won the President’s Swarn Kamal Award for the Best book on Cinema at the National Film Awards for 2011. Bhattacharjee has also authored a book of lists on Amitabh Bachchan. His recently released Gaata Rahe Mera Dil – 50 Classic Hindi films Songs, co-authored with Balaji Vittal, was awarded the Excellence in Writing on Cinema at the 17th Mumbai Film Festival in November 2015. A die-hard fan of Hitchcock, Ray, Kishore Kumar, the Burmans and football, he is a well-known name on the Indian quizzing circuit, and is considered the leading expert on pre-1985 Hindi and Bengali music and cinema. Bhattacharjee is currently working on multiple books and is employed with IBM as a Project Manager.
Mohua Maji is a sociologist, novelist, fiction and article writer. She has also translated stories into many languages, including English, Bengali, and Punjabi. She is the author of two novels, Main Borisimala and Marang Goda Nilkanth Hua. She has received several honours and awards, including the International Literary Award (2007) by Katha UK, and the Jharkhand Ratna. She is Ex-Chairperson, State Commission for Women, and currently Central President, Women’s Wing, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.
Nilotpal Mrinal is an author, poet and social activist. He is also the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar 2016 winner for his debut novel, Dark Horse – Ek Ankahi Dasta. Born in 1984 in Santhal Paragana, a remote area of Jharkhand, Nilotpal Mrinal has already established himself among readers and literary intellectuals with his first novel. A graduate of St. Xavier's College, Ranchi, Nilotpal has been involved with political and social activities for several years. Along with playing a special role in student movements, Mrinal has already reached TV platforms in the field of folk music. These days, he's started trying his luck at poet-concerts as well.
Niranjan Iyengar is a screenwriter and lyricist particularly known for his work with director Karan Johar. He is also author of the book, The Making of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Iyengar also hosts the talk show Look Who's talking with Niranjan, which is aired on Zee Café. He has also worked on hit films Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Wake Up Sid, My Name Is Khan, Ra.One, Student of the Year, and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
Sayema Rehman is a radio presenter. She has done both her Masters and M.Phil in Social Work from Delhi University. She is the voice behind Radio Mirchi’s popular series, Ek Purani Kahaani.
Abdullah Khan is a Mumbai-based screenwriter, lyricist and novelist. He was born in a poor Muslim village near Motihari, Bihar, and initially educated in madarsa and Urdu medium schools. In mid¬-90s, he discovered that George Orwell was born in Motihari and this 'Orwellian' connection with his home district drew him towards literature. Abdullah’s writings have appeared in Brooklyn Rail (New York), Wasafiri (London), The Hindu (India), The Daily Star (Bangladesh) and Friday Times (Pakistan). He has written a film called Viraam which was screened at Cannes Film Festival, 2017 and was released in theatres in December 2017. Patna Blues, his first novel, has been published by Juggernaut books in hardcover. He has also contributed to a non-fiction anthology India Now & in Transition with other contributors such as Shashi Tharoor, Ramchandra Guha, Sunil Khilanani. At present, he is working on a TV show for a well known Indian TV channel.
MALAY KUMAR ROY
Malay Roy is a communications professional-turned-author. From the early 1950s to the early ’60s, Roy spent around 10 years as a young boy in Hazaribagh in the Chhotanagpur district of Jharkhand, then a part of Bihar. After completing his Senior Cambridge from St Xavier’s School, Hazaribagh, Roy graduated from St Xavier’s College, Calcutta, and then did his Masters in English Literature from Jadavpur University. Later, he spent nearly 50 years in the corporate sector where he worked in communications, which left little time for much else. After retirement, he began to write about his memories of Hazaribagh where he spent his boyhood years. In his recent book, An Elsewhere Place, Roy vividly describes Hazaribagh’s tranquil landscape, its changing seasons and its unhurried pace of life.
HARIVANSH NARAYAN SINGH
Harivansh Narayan Singh is the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. A journalist by profession, he has worked as additional media advisor to former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. Born in 1956, in Balia, UP, to a middle-class family, Harivansh has an MA in Economics and a diploma in journalism from Banaras Hindu University. He has authored and edited several books in Hindi, especially on Bihar and Jharkhand, and has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to the language.
Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil is a well known Indian writer, critic and literary historian. She is best known for her much-acclaimed book on Delhi's lesser-known monuments called Invisible City: The hidden Monuments of India and a well-received collection of short stories, Release & Other Stories. Her PhD. on the Progressive Writers' Movement as Reflected in Urdu Literature has been published by Oxford University Press as Liking Progress, Loving Change. Rakhshanda Jalil runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature and culture.
After his corporate stint in finance and accounts for about five years, Hussain Haidry moved to Mumbai almost two years ago to pursue writing, and now works as a performance poet, lyricist and screenwriter. He writes poems and songs in Hindi-Urdu and on his observations on life and people around him. He has written lyrics for the recently released films Qarib Qarib Singlle and Mukkabaaz. His spoken word poems, Hindustani Musalmaan and Lat, were among the first Hindi-Urdu poems to be appreciated in the spoken word arena. He also worked with The Viral Fever as a Staff Writer.
Rasika is best known for her performance in feature films Kshay (2012) and Qissa (2015) and, more recently, short films Chutney and The School Bag. From theatre and web series to hosting and acting in TV shows, feature films and short films, Rasika has been a part of every medium. Some of her popular work includes the stage play The Vagina Monologues, TV show POW - Bandi Yuddh Ke (2016) and TVF's web series Humorously Yours. Her forthcoming work is Nandita Das's Manto, Yoddlee films’ Hamid and Humara movies’ Mahatma. She is currently shooting for a web show called 'Mirzapur' for Amazon prime.
Rekha Bhardwaj is an Indian singer and live performer. She has received two Filmfare and one National Award. In addition to Hindi, she has also sung in Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi and Malayalam. Bhardwaj was born in Delhi and moved to Mumbai when she married the noted film director, composer and playback singer Vishal Bhardwaj in 1991.
Chandramohan Kisku is a well-known writer and poet who writes in Hindi and Santhali. His Hindi writings have been published in Kisad, Prabhat News, Contemporary Indian Literature, Tribal India, Vishwagatha and Santhali writings in Sili, Chithi Sakam, Panja, Aiben Saakwa, Sandhayani, Savheed Adang. His published works include Muluj Landa (Santali Poetry Book), Facebook (Santali Tale Collection), Sidu-Kanhu Tikinag Hoohte (Anuva The novel, Santali translation of Bengali novel, Siddu-Kanhur Dake by Mahasweta Devi), Angra (Santhali translation of English poetry collection of Angaur by Jacinta Kerketta), Bir-Bururu Rayag Seched (Translation of Mahadev Toppo's collection of poems, Jungle Pahaad ke Paath) and Subarnakha
Satya Vyas is from the current generation of professionals-turned-amateur writers. A law graduate from BHU, and a logistics professional, he has created a niche for himself in new age Hindi writing. His first novel, Banaras Talkies, is a bestseller, and has been selected as one of the top 5 Hindi books of 2015 by Amazon India. Dilli Darbaar , his second novel, was No.1 in the Jagran-Neilsen survey for the best selling Hindi novel and has featured in the second list also. An avid reader, blogger, and poet, Vyas is currently working on a couple of screenplays. He resides in Rourkela.
Professor Alok Rai taught English literature at Allahabad University and Delhi University and was also Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT, Delhi. Born and bred in Allahabad, Rai grew up in a Hindi-Urdu environment which explains his strong linguistic background. He wrote a PhD dissertation on George Orwell and later published books on the author while also writing on the formation of modern Hindi. His translation of his grandfather Premchand’s Nirmala brought the poignant story to English readers. His interests include Modern English Literature, and cultural processes in modern North India, with particular reference to language and literature.
Uday Prakash is a Hindi poet, scholar, journalist, translator and short story writer. He has worked as an administrator, editor, researcher, and TV director, and also writes for major dailies and periodicals. He has received several awards for his collection of short stories, Mohan Das, which has been translated into English, seven Indian languages, and been adapted by the author as a screenplay (Mohandas). His best known and longest continuous story is Peelee Chhatri Wali Ladki. His first novel, Cheeni Baba, is forthcoming. Prakash has translated works by many international poets and writers into Hindi, including Pablo Neruda, Federico García Lorca, H. Luis Borges, Paul Éluard, C.P. Cavafy, Adam Jędrzejewski, and Tadeusz Różewicz. Awards include the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Puraskar (1980), the Sahityakaar Samman by the Hindi Akademi (1999), and the SAARC Literary Award (2009).
Vidya Shah is a composer, musician, and writer from New Delhi. She was initially trained in Carnatic music, and later received guidance in Khayal, Thumri Dadra and Ghazal. She is a recipient of the Charles Wallace Award and a Senior Fellowship from the Government of India for her project Women on Record, a performance highlighting the contributions of the forgotten women performers in the gramophone era. Vidya combines her music with a deep understanding of its social history, which comes through in performances such as the Last Mughal with author William Dalrymple.
Sanjay Sahay was born on 21st September 1960. His mother Susheela Sahay was a noted Gandian and social worker/ activist. His father was a close associate of Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan and a long-time parliamentarian. Sanjay is a known short story writer and cultural activist. His collection of short stories, Surang, was published in 1998. His stories regularly appear in Hans, and other famous literary journals. The story, Sheshant, earned wide acclaim and on the same story, he produced the film Patang which was directed by renowned director Gautam Ghosh. This film earned the National Award for the Best Hindi Feature Film in 1994. His story, Topi, won him the Katha Award in 1996/97. Topi was named by India Today as one of the 20 best stories of the last 20 years.
Ashutosh Chaturvedi is the Editor-in-Chief of Prabhat Khabar. He has 30 years of experience in journalism and was associated with the BBC for eight years. Chaturvedi started his career as a trainee journalist in Maya and then moved to India Today, Sunday Observer, Dainik Jagran, followed by the BBC. He was also a key member of the launch team of the BBC Hindi website. Prior to moving to Prabhat Khabar, Chaturvedi was editor of Amar Ujala, overseeing the entire news operation of the group.