Following its thumping success in the inaugural year, the second edition of the LIC Gateway LitFest, India’s only platform to celebrate writings in Indian languages at the national level, will be held at NCPA, Mumbai on February 20 and 21, with a wider canvas of 70 writers representing 15 languages.
This year’s event will line up a number of top writers including several Jnanpith laureates, Sahitya Academy awardees and budding writers from across India to discuss and debate the contemporary regional literature landscape.
Jnanpith awardees such as Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade, Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh, Odia writers Pratibha Rayand Sitakant Mahapatra will be sharing the same dais.
“We received an overwhelming response to the first edition of this unique initiative from the literary fraternity. The need to create a powerful platform for regional literature and writers in a largely English language-dominated milieu found wide resonance with the readers and writers alike. We intend to make this a people’s movement with the inclusion of new programme formats and wider participation of regional literature lovers,” said Festival Director Mohan Kakkanadan.
The event, jointly held by Mumbai-based Malayalam publication Kaakka and communication agency Passion4communication (P4C), has been conceived to put the regional writings on the same pedestal along with Indian writings in English that is hogging the limelight mostly across the literary events.
“The effort is to bring together the writers from different Indian languages at the national level to promote co-existence and co-growth which is vital for preserving our national labyrinth of diversity in linguistics,” said festival Executive Director M Sabarinath.
The two-day festival will have several expert-helmed sessions wherein there will be panel discussions and debates on present-day themes like the impact of real life and fiction in films, the English language venturing into the Indian mythological realm, the impact of social media like Facebook and Whatsapp on Indian poets and poetry, the present state of regional women writers and their non-assimilation in the mainstream literary space, the changes and trends in Marathi literature from the 60s to the 90s, issues faced by contemporary Malayalam literature and the crucial issue of translation losing its flavor and used as a mere prop to proliferate literary pieces.
The advisory panel for the event is headed by world-renowned film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The members who have graced the panel with their presence are Marathi writer Laxman Gaikwad, banker and writer Ravi Subramanian, former secretary of Kendra Sahitya Akademi and writer Satchidanandan, Oscar award winner Resul Pookkutty, Kochi-Muziris Biennale president and curator Bose Krishnamachari, and editor and film writer Uma da Cunha.
The inaugural edition gave focus to seven languages –Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, and Tamil. There were also exclusive sessions for some of these languages.
Prominent names from the literary and film world who attended the literary carnival last time included Gujarati poet and Padmashri awardee Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Subodh Sarkar (Bengal) Leena Manimakalai, (film-maker and writer from Tamil Nadu), Govind Nihalani, Benyamin (Kerala), Hemant Divatte, Satish Solankurkar (Maharashtra), actor-director Nandita Das, Sachin Ketkar (Gujarat), Kureeppuzha Sreekumar, Kalpetta Narayan, VR Sudhish, Manasi (all Kerala), and Ramu Ramanathan.