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Bangalore Authors To Go On A Bookshop Hop

The Bangalore Bookshop Love Weekend 2022 aims to support bookstores

Zac O’Yeah—a Bangalore-based writer— had an idea.

He decided to ask a number of well known authors to spend the weekend, walking from bookshop to bookshop around Bangalore’s Church Street, which most know as the city’s bookshop hub.

O’Yeah’s motivation was simple. Bring up awareness of bookstores. So he called around and found published authors who will join him in this crusade. The list includes well-known writers such as historian Ramchandra Guha, Jeet Thayil, Suresh Menon and Indira Chandrasekhar.

Details of the event are here: https://bangalore.explocity.com/events-in-bangalore/the-bangalore-bookshop-love-weekend-2022-may-28-and-29/

Historian Ramachandra Guha is, understandably, the main draw of the event. He was delighted at this initiative. He told Explocity, "Absolutely wonderful idea. I want to thank Zac O’Yeah and Shatrujeet Nath for instigating this. We’re lucky we have so many bookshops in Bangalore. And Zac has been inclusive, he’s included all the bookshops in the area. Maybe the organisers can make it an annual thing, maybe every year at the end of May we could do this. Bangalore doesn’t just have lots of authors and bookshops, it has a great many readers. After Delhi Bangalore is the biggest book market."

Editor of the literary site—Out Of Print—author and biophysicist Indira Chandrasekhar seemed happy for the event. She told Explocity, “The idea is to revive the fascination for bookshops.” Chandrasekhar said that the concept of using authors not to promote their own books, but to support bookstores—and reading by association—is exciting.

“We’ll all walk around,” she said, “It’s not horribly strict or tightly scheduled. People can get fascinated by a particular aisle in a bookshop and stay back.”

Indira Chandrasekhar was featured in the podcast The Literary City With Ramjee Chandran. Brevity, Bio Physics And The Short Story With Indira Chandrasekhar. Listen on Spotify.

Mayi Gowda, owner of Blossom Book House on  Church Street told Explocity, “Authors (typically) come only for signing and launches. For readers it’s a great way to meet the authors. We are stocking all the authors’ books for this event.”

Zac O'Yeah

We asked O’Yeah how this idea came about.

“It is a collective thing involving all the writers supporting it as well as their favourite bookshops, but I've sort of put it together,” he told Explocity.

“A friend, Shatrujeet Nath, told me a few months back that we should do something to celebrate the bookshops that we love, and who also hopefully love us. So I figured that if I can get 19 writers together for a weekend of fun in our local bookshops, we may break the evil spell of Covid-19 and celebrate book-hopping and browsing offline in real great brick-and-mortar bookshops.

“So, for two days, we will fill their shops with writers and do free programs with discussions about favourite books, anecdotes about unusual bookshop experiences.”

O’Yeah said this was not like at the other lit fests where writers go to plug their latest releases. But rather a salute to the unique bookshop culture of Bangalore's Church Street area.

“We can all get together for books-hopping and perhaps even make Bangalore famous as the bookshop capital of the world” he exulted.

Famous cricket writer and author of the literary book, “Why Don’t You Write Something I Might Read—Reading, Writing And Arrhythmia”, Suresh Menon, is one of the writers on the bookshop hop.

“I think it’s a marvellous idea,” he said, “Bangalore has some of the finest book shops in the country and Church Street is great. Bangalore also has wonderful writers. It’s a completely different type of lit fest. Lit fests have a disconnect between writers and the audience. Here, there is no us and them. We are as much readers as the people who come to buy books from shops.”

Menon felt bookshops needed to be supported. “{They} deserve to be feted for making sure during the pandemic people got their books through Covid. It’s a way of thanking them.”

Menon said his love affair with the city’s bookstores started when he began to travel. “I’ve found books (in Bangalore) that I didn’t even find in Strand in New York.”

Suresh Menon was featured in the podcast The Literary City With Ramjee Chandran. The Suresh Menon Guide To Assassination And Lesser Forms Of Literary Criticism, Listen on Spotify.

We asked Mayi Gowda of Blossom Book House what was in it for him.

He laughed, “Of course for us this event means more customers and hopefully more footfalls.”

That is what the event seeks to do anyway.



This piece was updated on 29 May, 2022 to include the events of Day One. The updates are below.

Author and the man behind the event, Zac O'Yeah said, "Yesterday’s event was a big success as all three shops were packed with booklovers and standing room only for latecomers. Some of the attached snaps feature authors at the three hugely entertaining events – ranging from the intimate evening session at Goobe’s Book Republic to the oceans of booklove causing waves in the bigger shops. The audience too shared their bookshop anecdotes during the interactive sessions. Some of the booklovers were returning to shops after two years of being socially too distanced and loved the experience. Other young booklovers who had just moved into the city after the pandemic, some as recently as within the last week, felt elated from discovering – thanks to the media advance reports that alerted them – the bookshops of Bangalore where they could come and chat with likeminded people and local writers, and thus found their footing in a new city! And we welcomed them. And some of the booklovers and authors hung out afterwards in Church Street almost until midnight."

The line up for Day Two, 29 May 2022 is below. 

Sunday 29 May


@Select Book Shop (off-Brigade Road)

Contact: 080-2558 0770


@Higginbotham’s (MG Road)

Contact: 080-2532 5422


@Bookworm (Church Street)

Contact: 98450 76757


Pictures from Day One.

bangalore bookshops
Anita Nair telling Shatrujeet Nath about her detective novels at Blossoms
bangalore bookshops
Booklovers filled The Bookhive, Church Street
bangalore bookshops
Jeet Thayil talking about rare poetry books at Blossoms, Church Street
bangalore bookshops
Standing room only as booklovers meet authors at Goobe's Book Republic
bangalore bookshops
The Bookhive line-up left to right - Anjum Hasan, Chandan Gowda, Shinie Antony, Indira Chandrasekhar

This piece was updated on 30 May, 2022 to include the pics from Day Two of the event. Here is also a recap of days events by Zac O'Yeah.

"Sunday’s events at the Bangalore Bookshop Love Weekend was a totally overwhelming experience. Starting with the proprietor of Select Book Shop, Mr. Murthy, sharing memories about the nearly 100-year-old bookshop’s history and how he’s been part of it since he was a youngster, in front of a packed room full of young booklovers who couldn’t believe that such a shop exists in town. And then authors like Ramachandra Guha and Vasudhendra further blowing their minds with anecdotes about amazing life-changing experiences that they’ve had at Select and other similar bookshops. And then in the afternoon at Higginbotham’s the long and intensive discussion -- in their beautifully restored 1800s courtyard -- went more towards the modern bookshop of today, and what it is good for, such as author Eshwar Sundaresan (in picture) explaining what bibliotherapy is and how books actually can be used to cure mental problems! And finally at the Bookworm the talk was about the bookshop of the future, or the future of bookshops, with many of the authors agreeing that if there were more bookshops like Bookworm the world would definitely be a better place to live in."

bangalore authors
Select proprietor Mr Murthy with a booklover and Ramachandra Guha
bangalore authors bangalore bookstores
Suresh Menon shares bookshop memories at Select
bangalore authors bangalore bookstores
Booklovers filled the garden at Bookworm
bangalore authors bangalore bookstores
Nisha Susan entertains at Bookworm


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