This year's Indian Summer Festival will welcome a two-time Giller Prize winner, a two-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, and an illustrator and writer described as "the artist of our time" by comedian Margaret Cho.
That's not all. Also coming to Vancouver will be one of the world's most popular graphic-book authors, as well as a celebrated Indian violinist who has composed film scores for films by Mira Nair, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Ismail Merchant and James Ivory.
The Indian Summer Festival takes place from July 6 to 15 with 19 events at 12 venues, featuring 108 artists. It begins with an opening gala at the Roundhouse Community Centre with cuisine curated by legendary Vancouver chef Vikram Vij in accordance with the festival's theme, Tales of War and Peace.
Attendees can enjoy the beats of DJ Rup Sidhu while noshing on treats from a variety of restaurants—including Blue Water Cafe, Cafe Medina, Bauhaus, Jamjar, and Cacao. There will also be dishes by Syrian refugees with the local female collective Tayybeh.
The following night at SFU Woodward's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, authors Pasha Malla and Anosh Irani will discuss their latest novels with the director of the Banff Centre's literary arts program, Devyani Saltzman.
Malla's Fugue States tells the story of a grieving young man and his friend who travel from Canada to Kashmir. Irani, who's also a playwright, was shortlisted for a Governor General's award for Parcel, which is about hijras, a.k.a. eunuchs, living on the margins in Mumbai.
In the past, Indian Summer has put on major concerts at the Orpheum Theatre, and this year is no exception. Violinist L. Subramaniam and tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts will headline an Orpheum show on July 8 entitled "Here Is Where We Meet".
Subramaniam has collaborated in the past with such giants as Yehudi Menuhin, Stéphane Grappelli, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock. Watts, who has won two Grammys, has played with the Rolling Stones, Thelonius Monk, Frank Zappa, and Cannonball Adderly.
Lovers of literature might want to block off July 12 on their calendar because that's when two-time Giller Prize winner M.G. Vassanji will speak at the festival. The author of such novels as The In-Between World of Vikram Lall and The Book of Secrets will be at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby.
On July 13, SFU Woodward's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts will be the site of a discussion called "Dying Words" about disappearing and threatened languages. "One language dies every 14 days," the Indian Summer Festival website states. "By 2100, nearly half of the 7,000 languages that are spoken on earth will have most likely disappeared."
The featured speaker will be Indian linguist and scholar Anvita Abbi, who's conducted extensive research into the six "language families" across India. She has also spent an enormous amount of time studying dying languages in the Andaman Islands off the east coast of India.
It will be followed on the same evening by "A Muse of Fire", in which U.S. graphic artist–author Joe Sacco will speak alongside Indian journalist and novelist Raghu Karnad and Pakistani novelist Kamila Shamsie.
Sacco is a giant in the world of journalistic comics, with books on such topics as the treatment of Palestinians in the Middle East, the Bosnian war, and the Battle of the Somme. He also coauthored Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt with U.S. journalist Chris Hedges.
Karnad has written for Outlook and Tehelka, which have been two of the hardest-hitting Indian publications. Shamsie's A God In Every Stone was shorlisted for the Walter Scott Prize.
Sacco and Karnad will be back at the same venue the following night with New York–based artist and writer Molly Crabapple for an event called "Graphically Speaking". The widely travelled Crabapple has a breadth of experience in various art forms ranging from burlesque to illustrations to performance art. Her drawings and other works of art have appeared in Vanity Fair, Vice, the Paris Review, and in a book by bestselling U.S. author Matt Taibbi.
She also wrote an illustrated memoir, Drawing Blood. Crabapple's multifaceted work earned her such high praise from Margaret Cho (see above), as well as being included in Time magazine's 2016 list of next-generation leaders.
"Her work is a perfect slow-media commentary on our fast-media climate," Time declared.
Also on July 14 at SFU Woodward's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Tennessee-based "literary bluesman" Arthur Flowers will tell the story of Dr. Martin Luther King in a show called "The Promised Land", which combines storytelling, singing, satire, and some magic.
On Indian Summer Festival's final day, sitarist Mohamed Assani and tabla player Amarjeet Singh will perform in "Morning Raga". It will take place in the courtyard at the Ismaili Centre in Burnaby.
That evening, five speakers, including Crabapple and Shamsie, will be part of a 5X15 event, in which each person has the floor for 15 minutes.