Kumaon Literary Festival 2016 reveals a strong line-up of writers

KLF LogoThe second edition of the YES BANK Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF), that will be held from 11th to 15th October 2016, will feature an interesting mix of voices from all kinds of backgrounds and spectrums.

According to media statement by KLF, the festival shall play host to many famous names from the worlds of literature, publishing, cinema and politics. Authors like Amish Tripathi, Ravi Subrimanian, Preeti Shenoy, Jerry Pinto, Tuhin Sinha, Shinie Anotny, Hindol Sengupta, Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil, Nirupama Dutt, and many others have confirmed their presence for the festival. Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Justice A K Sikri, Justice S K Kaul, Shahid Siddiqui, Swapandas Gupta, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Nupur Sharma and other names from the world of politics and law have agreed kindly to be a part of the festival. Biographers like Sathya Saran, Aseem Chabra, Jai Arjun Singh, Akshay Manwani, Yasser Usman, Gautam Chintamani have all consented to be present at the Festival. Many speakers like Afia Aslam, Ali Akbar Natiq, Ameena Saiyid, Asif Farrukhi, Asif Noorani, Dr. Sabyn Javeri, Mohsin Sayeed shall all come from Pakistan to attend the festival. Speakers like Ajay Rawat, Anup Sah, Dr. Shekhar Pathak, Deepak Rawat, Mona Verma, C S Tiwari, Hridayesh Joshi, Sanjay Panday and others from the Uttarakhand heartland are going to be present at different sessions of the festival.

The first three days shall be held at Jim’s Jungle Retreat in Jim Corbett National Park, while the last two days shall be a closed door event at Te Aroha in Dhanachuli.

Thought-provoking panel discussions

The second edition of the Festival shall have sessions on a wide range of subjects.

Following are some of the highlight sessions of this edition of the festival:

Shifting Notions of the Nation State: Will national ideologies dominate global politics in 21st century?

Panellists: Ram Madhav, Swapandas Gupta, Jean Echenoz, Tarun Vijay, Lord Meghnad Desai, Pavan Varma

Moderated by: Bhupendra Chaubey

Voice From the Well: How is Dalit Literature redefining perceptions and mind-sets

Panellists: Nirupama Dutt, Urmila Pawar, Prof. Ashalata Kamble

Moderated by: Jerry Pinto

Scion of Ikshvaku
Amish Tripathi in conversation with Sudha Sadhanand

Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh Din: Will the era of epic lyricists and singers ever return?
Panellists: Swanand Kirkire, Yatindra Mishra, Akshay Manwani
Moderated by: Pankaj Dubey

Yours versus my nationalism – Being on the wrong side of the ‘patriotism’ divide
Panellists: Hindol Sengupta, Shahid Siddiqui, Sunil Alagh, Rana Ayyub
Moderated by: Santosh Desai

The Difficulty of Being Good
Gurcharan Das
in conversation with Rakhi Bakshi

Star-Then & Now: The idea of a star in Hindi cinema over the last decades
Panellists: Aseem Chhabra, Yasser Usman, Jai Arjun Singh, Gautam Chintamani, Akshay Manwani
Moderated by: Mayank Shekhar

Sumant Batra, Founder of KLF l
Sumant Batra, Founder of KLF

YES BANK Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF) is the flagship initiative of NHP Centre. NHP Centre is a not-for-profit body engaged in developing a framework of diverse, creative and integrated initiatives that aid in cultural progress and social consciousness of communities and are essential indicators for measuring the happiness quotient, growth and success of its members.

An independent and not-for-profit annual literary festival held in Uttarakhand, KLF is the first annual international “retreat” and “travelling” literature festival of the country. It is also the first literature festival to be held in a mountain village. Last year, the festival started in Dhanachuli and travelled to Nainital. According to Sumant Batra, “the first (2015) edition of KLF was an unprecedented success positioning the festival amongst the most popular literature festivals of the country”.

“Literature, as a form of intellectual culture, has the potential to both, entertain and educate,” he told Kitaab. “A story can expose readers to different places, time periods, viewpoints and cultures. Readers can gain experiences through literature they would never have access to in ordinary life. Using Kumaon Literary Festival as a vehicle, NHP Centre has successfully initiated a series of projects to apply literary art to capture the imagination and depict the lives of others to increase readers’ ability to empathize with others.”

KLF Eco-System: Not just a lit fest

KLF is conceptualised as an institution with an eco-system comprising of initiatives, projects and activities that are not limited or confined to the 5-day festival. Along with the festival, there is a Literary Bhagidari programme (an initiative to promote broad-based civic participation in community projects). Literary Bhagidari runs its programmes in collaboration and partnership with many organisations like schools, colleges, public and private organisations. YES BANK, India’s third largest private bank, sponsors the Young Talent Award.

Two workshops under the banner of Bhagidari are scheduled on 5th and 6th August at Anushruti, a social initiative of IIT Roorkee and The Doon School respectively. Mr. Jerry Pinto, Ms. Abha Iyengar, and Ms. Fouzia Dastango shall interact and mentor the children during these workshops.

Fellows of Nature (in partnership with the French Embassy in India)

KLF also supports and encourages nature writing. Fellows of Nature (FON) has been founded in partnership with French Institute in India to build a community of nature writers and revive interest in nature writing and reading and, through this form of literature, build awareness and develop respect for nature, and eventually help in conservation. The initiatives of Fellows of Nature will help put the spotlight on critical environment issues through literature. FON has initiated an annual international short story contest on nature writing. The winner will be presented the FON South Asia Short Story Award at KLF 2016. A panel discussion will take place where Mr. Hartingh, President, French Institute in India, will also participate. A fine Collection of Short Stories will be selected from the contest to be published as a book with support from French Institute in India, which will then be released by the French Ambassador in India in the year 2017.

Women Unlimited Series (in partnership with the United Nations Women)

There will also be a Women Unlimited Series Forum, an initiative of NHP Centre, in partnership with United Nations Women, for inclusion of women’s talents, skills and energies in various creative programmes of NHP Centre.  The Forum has started an #ISeries project. The first in the #ISeries is #INarrate – an essay series (blogs) on the shifting narrative of a woman’s journey. Popular contemporary women authors are invited to contribute essays on the issues compelling the modern Indian woman to redefine herself. Contribution to #INarrate is “by invitation” only.

#Have a Safe Journey (in partnership with the Government of India)

In association with the Ministry of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping (Ministry), KLF is launching a nation-wide short story writing contest sponsored by Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on the theme of safety on roads. These short stories can be fictional or real time and communicate a powerful positive message. The project will be launched on 11th August.

The festival’s social programmes include an evening by Fouzia Dastango, the first woman dastango, an evening of gazals by Rashmi Agarwal and probably an evening of poetry by Piyush Mishra. Daleep Akoi, whose property Jim’s Jungle Lodge is co-hosting the festival said, “ KLF is the best thing that could happen to Uttarakhand. It has brought the state on global literary map.”

Besides Rana Kapoor Young Talent Award, KLF, YES BANK and YES INSTITUTE also presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to an eminent writer.

(Kitaab is KLF’s media partner)