With the Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) just around the corner, we had a chat with its founder and one of our favourite authors, Manjiri Prabhu. She talks about her passion for PILF, what Punekars can look forward to this season, books and more… 

First off, tell me a little bit about yourself… 

I am a mystery fiction author, a short filmmaker, a dreamer, traveller, animal lover…

How did the Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) kick off in the first place? 

PILF happened because of Pune’s need for a Litfest in the first place. It was a tough beginning. But we persisted and I believe that PILF was actually and truly born in 2014, because despite numerous adversities, tougher than the first year, and literally financed from our pockets, it was a huge success. Finally the festival took firm roots in 2015, thanks to our title sponsors Vishwakarma Publications and MIT.

Now, 2016 onwards, I believe that there’s no looking back for this magnificent literary event!

What are you most excited about this season? 

PILF has progressed in leaps and bounds every year. It is very heartening and encouraging to see top level authors and creative personalities recognising PILF as a prominent Literary Festival in India and wanting to be a part of it. This year too we have many leading speakers/authors to be at the festival sharing their views and thoughts on a wide variety of topics. Prominent among them are Narayana Murthy to inaugurate the festival, Anupam Kher, Shobhaa De, Ashwin Sanghi, Rajdeep Sardesai, Maya Mirchandani, Prasoon Joshi, Marathi author Saniya, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Dr. Mohan Agashe, Helen Smith, Mr. Boyd Tonkin (Chair of Man Booker Prize) and many more.

I am also very excited about our Exhibition on Enid Blyton. It will bring alive childhood memories of every single person who loves to read. It will be a unique experience in itself.

I am looking forward to the vast variety of sessions, the thought of meeting talented authors from across India and some parts of the world.

And I am also very excited to soft launch my next mystery thriller ‘The Trail of Four’, my 9th book, at PILF.

This time, is there anything different Punekars can look forward to? 

This time Punekars will be delighted with the sheer variety of sessions, the exhibition and many lawn activities including street plays based on our social theme – children’s rights. We want it to be a complete experience, a heady experience, a much-loved experience! There will be some interesting stalls as well and we are happy to present our very own festival souvenirs.

What’s your favourite aspect about PILF? 

The Inauguration – when I address the audience – and realise that the festival is actually taking place. But of course each participating author/speaker is a celebrity for me and to know that I am in some way instrumental in their interaction with the audience makes me feel very proud and contented. With our limited resources, we look forward to making PILF a memorable experience for authors as well as the audience.

Quick Five

What are you currently reading? 

The Wit and Wisdom of Narayana Murthy.

What was the last piece you wrote? 

Flavours of Italy, for Harmony Magazine about my trip to Matera, Florence and Sienna.

Who is your all-time-favourite author? 

Agatha Christie.

Which is the last film you watched? 

FAN, A Perfect Plan (Un Plan Parfait).

Which is the one book you wish you’d written? 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.