The concept of Human Books is on the rise. Also termed as “Talking Books”, they are a series of people who come forward to share their life stories with eager listeners. For the first time, this event is being organised in Delhi. This will be a welcoming change for people who stay glued to social media all day. People will get interact with these Human Books and also the connection between people talking freely will be on the mend.
In India, there existed a tradition of elders sitting beneath trees and small, eager faces and eyes waiting impatiently to listen to the tales of glory and fortune. Many evenings passed like this and somewhere between these times, we all grew up. Slowly this tradition faded away, but not into oblivion.
People have again joined hands to bring this back into our lives, this time under a new name: The Human Book or The Human Library. “Menneskebiblioteket” as it is called in Danish, was developed in Copenhagen in the spring of 2000 as a project for Roskilde Festival by Ronni Abergel and his brother Dany and colleagues Asma Mouna and Christoffer Erichsen.
The original event was open eight hours a day for four days straight and featured over fifty different titles. The broad selection of books provided readers with ample choice to challenge their stereotypes and so they did. More than a thousand readers took advantage leaving books, librarians, organisers and readers stunned at the impact of the Human Library.
But what’s the story behind this? Well, it’s quite interesting. A young and idealistic youth organisation called “Stop the Violence” was self-initiated by the said youths after a mutual friend was stabbed in the nightlife (1993). The brutal attack on their friend, who luckily survived, made the group decide to try and do something about the problem. Their main job was to raise awareness and use peer group education to mobilise Danish youngsters against violence. In a few years’ time, the organisation had 30,000 members all over the country. They were encouraged by the then festival director, Mr Leif Skov, to develop some activities for Roskilde Festival- events that would put the focus on anti-violence, encourage dialogue and help to build positive relations among the festival visitors. Thus, the Human Library was born, as a challenge to the crowds of Northern Europe’s biggest summer festival.
Soon this spread all over the world, like Romania, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Italy, Holland, Slovenia, Belgium, Portugal and Australia. Now this concept of “Talking book” has come to India.
This event, after having an audience in Indore and Hyderabad, is set to roll in Delhi on June 18, 2017, at Innov8 Co- working space in Connaught Place, where it begins at 2 pm and goes on until 7 pm. Each participant will be able to choose from 11 Human Books, curated by the organisers in the last few weeks.
So gear up for Delhi’s first one-of-its-kind experience!!
By: Anamika Bhaumik