Currently in India there are so many arts and literary festivals, the joke goes, that they outnumber the participants. But the bestselling historian William Dalrymple advanced an important belief to me in Goa. He referenced the almost timeless kavi sammelans -- a gathering of poets -- where one bard recited his work and another, responded to it, often on the spot entirely.
Ever since I got into travel writing, I've been told to read the works of Joseph Conrad, Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux, William Dalrymple, Bill Bryson, and other white men. While I learned a lot from their stories, I was also repeatedly left with questions about misogyny and racial insensitivity.
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