AKLF 2017 focuses on the inclusiveness of Kolkata say organisers
Said to be India's only literary festival created by a bookstore and Kolkata's first literary festival, the eighth edition of AKLF, presented by Apeejay Surrendra Group and Oxford Bookstores, is slated to begin on January 15 this year.
"This literary festival plans to showcase the city to the world and the world to the city," said Maina Bhagat, one of the two directors of the festival, "not only through literary discussions but also through a youth film festival, a literary festival for the youth, photography exhibitions, poetry cafe and lots more."
AKLF 2017 will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral, established in 1847 and Oxford Bookstore, established in 1919. The festival’s closing event on Jan 18 will be hosted at St John's Church, built in 1787.
"AKLF’s 2017 schedule is woven around starting conversations to make the world a more inclusive place," said Bhagat.
The Festival conversations will also be hosted at Royal Calcutta Turf Club, Tollygunge Club, the campus of iLead and Presidency University, Daga Nikunj and Harrington Street Arts Centre, said the organisers.
"There is no heritage site more intrinsic to Kolkata than the river whose banks it stands on, perhaps the very reason for its existence as a city is this river. In 2017, at the eight edition of our festival, AKLF’s agenda is to start conversations about inclusiveness as the only cure for frayed societies," she said.
Some of the key participants at AKLF 2017 are Shashi Tharoor, Raj Kamal Jha, Amit Chaudhuri, Alka Pande, Shobhaa De, Anita Nair, Arshia Sattar, Devdutt Pattanaik, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jerry Pinto, Kiran Nagarkar, Kunal Basu, Naina Lal Kidwai, Q, Saikat Majumdar, Michael Dwyer, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Nayantara Sahgal, Ritu Menon, and Urvashi Butalia among others.
Said Anjum Katyal, also a director of AKLF, "It's time to open out our cities, our communities and our hearts, to make space for everyone to come in. It's time for each of us to highlight the urgent need for inclusiveness; and we urge everyone to make a start by joining the conversations at AKLF 2017. Our 2017 festival journey, starting today on the banks of the Ganga, will culminate at St. John's Church, where we will end our festival with a candlelight vigil in solidarity with the ideal of an inclusive society.”
Heritage expert G.M. Kapur also spoke about Kolkata’s historical spirit of inclusiveness in creativity and culture.
AKLF 2017 will introduce for the first time, Plug in, as a tribute to Nobel laureate Bob Dylan, showcasing the best young musicians in Kolkata across genres. To be held at St Paul’s Cathedral Grounds, the music festival will kick off in the evening after 7.30 pm from Jan 15 to 17. Headliners include No Strings Attached; Underground Authority; Ritornellos; Paloma & Adil, and Sambit.
In 2017, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival will host The Oxford Junior Literary Festival (OJLF), another first. At this two-day literary festival (Jan 15 and 16) for young readers, children from Future Hope NGO and other shelters outside Kolkata will be the chief guests, said the organisers.
AKLF will introduce Tiny Stories, a global campaign by UNICEF@70 with Shashi Tharoor, author, United Nations peace-keeper, and human rights activist during OJLF with mid and senior school students penning their ‘tiny stories’ on the theme of a ‘A Better World for Every Child’ for the global campaign by UNICEF@70.
“As part of the literary festival, we are organizing workshops with select authors and children to encourage them to write on "What I hope for every child" said Meital Rusdia, Chief, UNICEF West Bengal.
The theme for the inaugural session is Black and White, where Shashi Tharoor will discuss the legacy of the Raj in continuation of his popular speech at the Oxford University that went viral recently followed by an interaction with UK publisher Michael Dwyer.
One of the discussions will be on 'The Superwoman Syndrome How do popular narratives represent Women of Substance?' with Shobhaa De, Naina Lal Kidwai, Rupali Basu, and Sudha Menon as speakers.
The festival will commemorate late writer and activist Mahasweta Devi with a documentary film screening Talking Writing: Four Conversations with Mahasweta Devi directed by Pushan Kripalani followed by a discussion with her contemporary, the leading author Nabaneeta Dev Sen, literary critic and academic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and publisher Naveen Kishore.
There will be special emphasis on poetry and poets through the Poetry Cafe.
An international youth film festival, iLead-O-Scope 2.0, will be held at iLead's campus in collaboration with AKLF on Jan 16 and 17.
The four day long, multi-faceted AKLF 2017 will see the release of Lynn Deas’s book Horse racing in India – A Royal Legacy, Priti Paul's ABCDesi, an unusual first book of English alphabets and Indian imagery, among others, the organisers said.
Shortlist of the Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize will also be announced during AKLF 2017.
In keeping with the cultural spirit of Kolkata, the programme ended with folk songs by Ashok Saha of Bhromora and a sumptuous lunch,
Reporting by Uttara Gangopadhyay