A BookStore and Artistic Space in Chennai

Akila Kannadasan tells us about Panuval – a bookstore as well as artistic space in Chennai.

On first sight, the room beyond the rows and rows of books at Panuval Bookstore in Thiruvanmiyur, makes one wonder why three IT professionals in their 30s, who’ve started the venture, have left an empty space in their bookshop. But this is Panuval’s USP — a space that “connects readers with writers”. 

Started in 2013 by friends P. Amutharasan, S. Saravanan, and K. Mugunthan, Panuval, meaning ‘book’ in Tamil, hopes to transform the concept of bookstores from shops to merely pick up books, to a place to meet authors, discuss, read, and celebrate the arts. 

But the Web world had its limitations — they could hardly interact with readers. Soon, a search was on to rent a space that would nurture good books and a community for readers.  

“A book bears a life inside it,” says Amutharasan. “It has to convey something to society. These are the kind of books that we want to provide. A reader with such tastes will not need to learn self-help and spirituality from books, which is why you won’t find them at our bookstore,” he adds. In the three years of its existence, Panuval has held various literary events at its premises — ‘Bharathi 93’ in association with Kalachuvadu magazine, in which they observed the poet’s 93rd death anniversary with readings and discussions on his poems on topics such as women’s empowerment and society; film screenings, including that of Balu Mahendra’s magnum opus Veedu in the presence of the director; author interactions, book launches… they’ve even had a play staged amidst their books. Panuval has turned a platform for other film and book clubs to hold events as well. “There will be some event or the other on the weekends every week,” says Saravanan.


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