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Tales from Literary Festivals

Post by: Kabita Sonowal












“I am delighted to lend my support and personal participation to this first Irrawaddy Literary Festival. Literature has always been a big part of my life and I hope this festival, which brings together some of the finest talent from Burma, the UK and elsewhere will encourage more people to explore the world of literature and further their understanding of the English language.”


-    Aung San Su Kyi, Irrawaddy Literary Festival

The first-ever literary festival in Burma/Myanmar, the Irrawaddy Literary Festival was held from February 1 – 3 held at The Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar. It was a confluence of the literati from various parts of the world and some of the stalwarts who were present were William Dalrymple, Vikram Seth, Jung Chang, Khoo Thwe and Timothy Garton-Ash. This festival highlighted the freedom of expression that was a mere luxury for both artists and citizens in Burma until a couple of months ago. Burmese author Khoo Thwe returned to Burma after 23 years to attend this festival and he said, “Now the fog has lifted… for me it would have been unimaginablet o think 20 years ago that we would have this much freedom, to come and celebrate things that were outlawed in the past.” Further Burma has been home to several literary figures such as British writers Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell and Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.


This festival was organized by Jane Heyn, the wife of Great Britain’s ambassador to Burma.


The Hindu Lit for Life conclave will kick start on February 6 at Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Teen Murti Bhavan, in Delhi. It will start at 5.45 PM and will be attended by Shankkar Aiyar, Brinda Karat, Bibek Debroy and Jayanthi Natarajan. The event will be moderated by Siddharth Varadarajan - Editor, The Hindu. It will be held in Chennai on February 16 and 17. It will be a confluence where the literati will meet designers and bureaucrats and others from various walks of life. Nilanjana Roy, Jeet Thayil, Jerry Pinto, Wendell Rodricks, Rocky Singh, Mayur Sharma and Gopal Krishna Gandhi among others will attend the event. This event will also conduct poetry, art appreciation and writing and illustrating children’s books workshops.


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