Gautam Kishanchandani, an MBBS graduate, shifted careers from medicine to filmmaking after being blown away by a Mani Ratnam film. He began his film career on Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Black Friday’ where he handled dual responsibilities as an assistant director and the casting director. He is one of the earliest professional casting directors in Bollywood and has cast for films like ‘No Smoking’, ‘DevD’, ‘Gulal’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and more recently, ‘Pataakha’. He is currently developing a script close to his heart which he intends to direct soon.
Nilanjana S Roy is an award-winning novelist and journalist. The Wildings (2012) won the Shakti Bhatt First Book award. It was followed by a sequel, The Hundred Names of Darkness (2013). She writes a regular the column for the Financial Times on books and reading, and has contributed to the New York Times, Granta, the BBC and the Business Standard among others. Her other anthologies and essay collections include The Girl Who Ate Books: Adventures in Reading (2016), Patriots, Poets & Prisoners: Selections from The Modern Review(2017) and A Matter of Taste: The Penguin Book of Indian Writing On Food (2004).
Akshaya Kumar is a professor in the department of English and Cultural Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh. His cores areas of interest include Indian poetry and Comparative Literature. Besides contributing a number of research papers, articles and book reviews, he has published two books- (i) A.K.Ramanujan: In Profile and Fragment (2004), and (ii) Poetry, Politics and Culture(2009). World Literature Today identified the latter books as one among the top sixty significant books on Indian writings. He has recently been commissioned by a leading publisher to write A Critical History of Punjabi Literature.
ANNIE ZAIDI is the festival director of Chandigarh Literature Festival 2018. She writes across several genres including reportage, fiction, drama, and comics. She is the author of ‘Gulab’, a novella, ‘Love Stories # 1 to 14’, a collection of short stories, and a collection of essays ‘Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales’ which was short-listed for the prestigious Vodafone Crossword Book Awards (non-fiction, 2010). She is also the co-author of ‘The Good Indian Girl’, a series of inter-linked narratives that trace young women’s lives and liberties. She has published one book of illustrated poems, ‘Crush’; other poems have appeared in a range of literary journals including The Little Magazine, Cordite, and Big Bridge. She won the Prakriti prize for poetry in 2011.
Zaidi has edited ‘Unbound: 2000 Years of Indian Women’s Writing’, an anthology of selected extracts from some of the most significant texts written by Indian women, cutting across many languages and literary forms, and ‘Equal Halves’, an anthology of essays about well-known and accomplished Indian women married to equally famous men.
Her essays and short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies including Eat the Sky; Drink the Ocean, Walking Towards Ourselves, Mumbai Noir, Dharavi, Journeys Through Rajasthan, Women Changing India, 21 Under 40, and the Griffith Review’s ‘New Asia Now’ and ‘Our Sporting Life’ editions.
Zaidi is also a filmmaker. Her first documentary ‘In Her Words: The Journey of Indian Women’ traces the lives and struggles of women in India down the ages through the literature they have produced. She has written and directed five fictional short films including ‘Decibel’ that was part of the omnibus, Shor Se Shuruaat.