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Globally renowned authors enthrall audiences on the fourth day of the 5th DSC Jaipur Literature Festival 2012

The fourth day of the 5th DSC Jaipur Literature Festival saw literary enthusiasts in full swing at the Diggi Palace the venue of the festival.

The session'The Magic of Reality' had Lalla Ward in conversation with Richard Dawkins self-proclaimed atheist and science writer, Richard Dawkins delivered a passionate sermon about the importance of science and how it can teach us to look at the world 'in unfamiliar ways.' He said that scientists transform the way we think about the universe and that it is science alone that can transform the problems of the world.

One of his great hopes is for his work to inspire people with the poetry of science, which he calls 'the poetry of things.' He referred to human DNA as an example, calling it 'the Genetic Book of the Dead,' which housed the encoded wisdom of our ancestors. Dawkins was dismissive of 'the supernatural,' 'paranormal powers' and 'superstition,' saying most practitioners of such arts were 'charlatans' preying on the vulnerable, and that the only real magic was the 'poetic magic' of things that are 'deeply moving,' such as great art or a gorgeous sunset.' He said one should not resort to 'phony explanations' for what one cannot yet understand, and instead, should endeavor to understand it through the methods of science, and if present-day science could not explain it, then 'we should not rest until we have improved our science' and have an explanation. He asked the audience to imagine how someone in Medieval Times would have interpreted a jet plane, or Victorians would have regarded mobile phones, suggesting that to them, it would have seemed like magic, when in fact it was science.

The session 'Adaptations' chaired by Girish Karnad had Lionel Shriver, Vishal Bhardwaj, Richard Flanagan and Tom Stoppard discussed adaption of books into theatre and movies. Lionel Shriver said her novel We need to Talk about Kevin had been 'adapted', but she herself had no experience of doing adaptation herself. She said "early versions of the script had horrified her because it seemed so thin but the director's visual imagery and the actors' interpretation that brought it alive. For me it was an education in a whole other language, a non-language language." She said that the film version 'does not replace the book' and had made her appreciate her own medium more. Novelist Richard Flanagan said it took three years to write the screenplay for The Sound of One Hand Clapping, and when he couldn't sell it, turned it into a novel instead, a very different process since 'a novel is a universe and it's an entirely different creation.' It took him three more years to complete the novel and at the same time he managed to sell the original script. Indian screenwriter and director, Vishal Bhardwaj talked of his Shakespearean film adaptation, Maqbool, based on Macbeth, saying he had decided 'the cops would make the best witches.' Tom Stoppard observed that he has adapted novels into films and television, as well as 'translated' foreign plays into English adaptions. He said, "I realised when he thought about it that 'I seemed to have had more life as an adaptor than as a playwright. It's not usually the way I look at myself.' Stoppard said "I didn't mind people cutting my work to adapt it, but the idea of someone adding to it was 'nauseating.' He said that if he adapted his play Arcadia, he would have to leave at least half out, since the play itself was so long. Shriver joked that in her experience, 'it makes you worried because you realise you didn't need that other half.' Flanagan observed that 'films are not so much about words, they are a fusion of image and sound,' and talked of the constricting tyranny of financial demands in the film industry. Stoppard quipped that 'film is the process of turning money into light, and then back into money.'
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TAGGED: BOOKS, CONFERENCES


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