The International Kolkata book fair is one of the most anticipated fairs in this nation, as it stands proudly as the largest non-trade book fair in the world, the largest book fair in Asia and boasting of a record number of visitors every year. This year won’t be any different. Like the metaphors in a poem, a literary meet in a bookfair adds to the charm of the event. The Kolkata Literature Festival, KLF, promises to make your visit to Milan Mela all the more worthwhile.
The Kolkata Literature Festival is completing its fourth year in service, with the last few meets bringing together eminent artists from all over the world. This reputed, and undisputedly the most anticipated literary meet in a city known for its vibrant literary culture, is a showstealer at the mammoth winter fair.
Here are ten things to look forward to at this year’s Kolkata Literature Festival :-
1. Reflowering of Bengali Literature.
If there’s one stereotype that Bengalis enjoy – that’s surely going to be branded as the geeky, book loving race of the Indian diaspora. True! We adore our literature as much as we love our fish, biriyani or sweets.
The Bengali literary treasury is extremely rich, and has consistently boasted of some of the best writers and poets in the country. From pure romances, to satirical plays, from detective stories to simple pastoral tales, from crude societal depictions to coming-of-age novels, the oeuvre of bengali literature has been graced by the likes of Manik Bandopadhyay, Sharat Chandra, the master poet Rabindranath and many others.
But an impending question that revolves around the minds of every bengali literature enthusiast is the future of Bengali literature with the middle class bengali diaspora shifting to more anglicized works of fiction/non-fiction. Find out from the likes of Srijato, and Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay from 4pm on the 4th of February.
2. The open house session with Chetan Bhagat, moderated by Monideepa Banerjie.
Some of us hate his works, and some of us are in love with it. However, we can unanimously agree with the fact that Chetan Bhagat’s success story is one which defines unwavering passion coupled with hard work and determination. Chetan Bhagat continues to inspire millions of aspiring writers in this nation, who look forward to making a career out of their desires even after facing tough challenges.
A personal, interactive session with Mr. Bhagat is definitely something that an artist would not like to miss.
3. A dissection of cult Bollywood films.
A panel consisting of eminent film personalities like Manoj Bajpayee and Sudhir Misra is a very exciting prospect. To attend one which discusses about 50 films which changed Indian Cinema is on a category of its own.
This session in the Kolkata Literature Festival commences from 2pm on the 2nd of February.
4. Performance by Dohar.
Bengali music boasts of a rich and very diverse culture. For the ones who are enthusiastic about “Bhatiyali” or “Baul”, Dohar is a popular household name. Come down to the Kolkata Literary Festival on the 3rd of February and bask yourself in the midst of some wonderful bengali folk music.
If you’ve not experimented with your musical taste-buds yet, Dohar’s performance from 8pm is the best way to start things off.
5. What do I do with my Sexuality?
Sexual orientation, and discussions about gender identities is not something that the society readily welcomes, and people who do not adhere to the societal norms about gender expressions have to undergo a massive amount of mental and physical torture everyday.
For many of us, our sexual identity is still a big mystery, and perhaps dealing with it, a more difficult ordeal. Eminent queer activists such as Laxmi Tripathi, and India’s first transgender principal, Manabi Bandyopadhyay are going to be the panellists for a discussion on gender issues at the Kolkata Literature Fest.
The event starts from 2:30 pm on the 4th of February.
” Greater things have succumbed to the power of a discussion, than war ever could.”
6. “Me and Maa”
Divya Dutta is a recurring face in Indian films, and the people in the subcontinent recognise her as one of the most talented actors in the movie industry. Little does one know, that this talented actor is soon going to be a published writer. Her book “Me and Maa” starts a new page in her career as a writer.
Anjum Katyal will be moderating a session with Divya Dutta over her new book “Me and Maa.” She has proven time and again, how good an actor she is. Maybe it’s time we find out about her writing prowess.
Check out the full schedule of the event here :- KLF 2017 – Schedule.
Follow updates on social media by searching with this hashtag :- #KLF17
7. The Indian Lion from Australia.
Dev Patel, the familiar face from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ seems to be a favourite at the Academy Awards. His new movie, ‘Lion’, has received 6 oscar nominations at the 2017 Academy awards. But how much do we know about the man whose accounts inspired this brilliant movie?
Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born Australian businessman was separated from his birth mother. He was adopted by an Australian couple, and as luck plays itself in mysterious ways, he was reunited with his birth-mother 25 years later. An autobiographical account of his experiences, A Long Way From Home, was published in 2014 and later adapted into the 2016 film ‘Lion’.
Saroo Brierley is coming down to the KLF as a panellist to discuss about his miraculous story. ‘A Long Way From Home’ starts from 7pm on the 3rd day of the festival.
8. Bloody Scotland?
How much do you love thrillers, and blood curdling suspense novels? Find out more about these awesome range of nail-biting suspense thrillers here at Kolkata Literature Festival.
9. A session on the influence of Indian Vernaculars.
This is something extremely informative for the literature enthusiasts of this city. The success of Shiva trilogy and other mythological tales are a testimony to the growing interest in the Indian vernaculars. How much are our writers exploiting the rich mythology that we have? Find out at the Kolkata Literature Festival through the words of very eminent panellists.
10. Debate between Fiction and Non-fiction?
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Yes, truth has sometimes been stranger and more startling than fiction itself, and maybe along the same lines, a wide range of bibliophiles have warmed up to non-fiction more than they’ve welcomed fiction. Interest in non-fiction was never unknown, if less, with writers like Thomas Carlyle and George Orwell, gaining immense popularity for their expertise in this field.
However, the re-emergence of non-fictional books in the market, pose a serious competition to the dominance of fictional novels. So how does one figure out what lies in store for us in the future? A literary audience more inclined to thrilling tales from the past? Or the throne occupied by the same old king? “Stories from the real world” starts from 5:30 pm, on the third of February.
Apart from the above mentioned sessions, this year’s Kolkata Literature Festival has a lot of other things to offer. The beauty about the Literature Fest is probably the wide array of subjects and artforms it covers, which always seems to have something or the other for different people. A music enthusiast gets his mouthful of melody, and a literary geek doesn’t return empty-handed either.