Literary festivals of various hues have been creating a revolution of ideas across India in the last few years. However, most literary festivals take place in metro cities and resort towns. This is going to change with a new literary festival being launched in India by the people of the Seemanchal region of Bihar.
SILF is the brainchild of Singapore-based journalist, writer, publisher, and founder of Kitaab, Zafar Anjum, who hails from Kishanganj.
“Most literary festivals take place in metro cities,” said the festival’s founder-director Anjum said. “Through this festival, we are attempting to bring literature to the grassroots. A large part of India still lives in the villages and small towns and with an effort like SILF, we are hoping to shape the hearts and minds of people in small town India,” he said.
The birthplace of Maila Anchal and Maare Gaye Gulfam famed Hindi writer Phanishwar Nath Renu, Seemanchal has remained a much-neglected region of northeastern Bihar. Representing the multicultural ethos of the country, the 10 million people who live in this part of India profess many faiths and speak many languages and dialects.
“This annual literary festival celebrates the spirit of humanity through literature and is dedicated to the people of Seemanchal and the Northeastern part of India,” Anjum said.
Besides Kitaab Singapore, the management and alumni of Insan School, and the book lovers of the region are putting the festival together. The British Council (Eastern India), Urdu Academy Bihar, and AP Foundation are also supporting the festival.
“SILF is also an effort to further the vision of Padmashri late Dr. Syed Hasan, an educationist and founder of “INSAN mission”, said Shefa Syed Hasan, Director of Insan School.
More than 20 writers from India and abroad have confirmed their participation in the two-day festival. Some eminent writers and speakers headlining the festival come from India, Singapore, and UK including Ziya Us Salam, Senior Deputy Editor of The Hindu-Frontline, Milee Ashwarya, Editor in Chief of Commercial and Business books at Penguin Random House India, Rheea Mukherjee, co- founder of Bangalore Writers Workshop and Write Leela Write, Singapore-based journalist P N Balji, Singaporean Tamil writer Jeyanti Sankar, Malay novelist and poet, Isa Kamari, UK-based Urdu poet Dr. Nadeem Zafar Jilani and Mumbai-based Urdu novelist Rahman Abbas. See the full list of writers here.