Westland Books announces the release of Against Storytelling, edited by Amit Chaudhuri – The third book under Westland and Ashoka University’s Literary Activism Imprint

30 April 2024, National: The Centre for the Creative and the Critical at Ashoka University and Westland Books are pleased to announce the launch of Against Storytelling, edited by Amit Chaudhuri. The third book under the Literary Activism imprint, Against Storytelling is a collection of essays delivered originally as talks at a Literary Activism symposium.

The impact of the symposium was felt among artists and thinkers both nationally and internationally. The young filmmaker Achal Mishra, who has experimented fascinatingly with non-narrative forms in films like Gamak Ghar, was in the audience at a time when he was still making his first film. Last year, Parul Sehgal, in the New Yorker, quoted from the symposium’s mission statement in her essay, ‘The Tyranny of the Tale’: The Tyranny of the Tale | The New Yorker. Other conferences that take a cue from the 2018 symposium and challenge the primacy of narrative have since followed, such as ‘No More Stories!’ at Brasenose College, Oxford earlier this year.

The book introduces us to ways of thinking about art that go beyond story and storytelling. It features contributions by novelists, poets, and thinkers including Anjum Hasan, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Charles Bernstein, Geoffrey O’Brien, Gurvinder Singh, Jean-Frédéric Chevallier, Jeremy Harding and Tiffany Atkinson, all of whom engage with the belief that what is most absorbing in a novel or film is not necessarily ‘story’.

Amit Chaudhuri, the Director of the Centre for the Creative and the Critical and general editor of the imprint, said, “The literary activism symposia have given writers and artists a forum to counter unspoken assumptions that pervade culture today, and there can be few better examples of this than the essays in this collection.”

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