Holi festival 2013. Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08.

Alter ’77 on Mussoorie, writing and Himalayan treks

[Stephen Alter ’77]Mussoorie-based writer Stephen Alter '77 was interviewed by Mid-Day's Raj Kanwar about his thriller, The Rataban Betrayal, its cinematic adaptation and his next book on his Himalayan treks. Stephen is also the founding director of the Mussoorie Writers' Mountain Festival.

After Ruskin Bond, Stephen Alter is perhaps the most well-known writer in Mussoorie.

His latest The Rataban Betrayal, is a ‘literary thriller’ with Mussoorie in its backdrop. Alter doesn’t fit into a straitjacket ethnic profile. He is of American lineage, but was born and raised in Landour Cantonment in Mussoorie. His wife of 35 years, Ameeta, is Punjabi. The Indian diaspora in the US is called ‘American Desis’; likewise, Alter could easily be described as a desi American.

Raj Kanwar: How much success has the Mussoorie Writers’ Mountain Festival achieved?

Stephen Alter: It has been remarkably successful in many ways, bringing together 25 authors, mountaineers, artists, filmmakers and conservationists. It provides an ideal opportunity to celebrate Mussoorie’s literary heritage. Every participant, irrespective of whether he/she is from India or abroad, becomes a Mussoorie writer after attending it. When the festival ends, they all carry some pleasant memories and a feeling of bonhomie and togetherness with fellow writers. The next festival, the sixth one, will begin on November 7 this year.

Read more here…

Image: Rajeev Bhatt

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