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India’s first travelling literary festival ends


Nainital: Kumaon Litfest, the country’s first “travelling literary festival”, ended on Tuesday with Uttarakhand Governor Krishan Kant Paul conferring a life time achievement award posthumously to well-known poet Girish Chandra Tiwari.

In his address, Paul noted books are facing threat and writers and publishers have to wake up.

“Books are under threat and some well known book shops in Delhi are shutting down. Publishers and writers have to find innovative ways rekindle reading interests,” he said.

Hailing the organisers for bringing the litfest to the state, he also floated the idea of author-in-residence. “I have discussed the idea of an author-in-residence with the organisers of Kumaon Litfest. The author will be provided accommodation in the Raj Bhavan premises. Anyone can take the offer,” Paul said.

On importance of translated Indian works, he said that had it not been for the English translation of “Gitanjali”, Rabindranath Tagore wouldn’t have received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“A friend of Tagore came across the translated version of ‘Gitanjali’ and showed it to poet W.B. Yeats and that’s how it got published by Macmillan and the rest is history. Celebrated writer Munshi Premchand would have got the Nobel Prize if his works were translated into English,” he added.

Festival director Sumant Batra said though it was a challenge to hold the first travelling litfest, it turned out to be a success.

“Despite logistical difficulties, it is the relentless work by the KLF team that helped us sail through it smoothly. We had writers from countries like Pakistan, Israel, ‘London’ and India and the festival also saw fruitful discussions on pressing issues,” he said.

The first three days of the festival, inaugurated on Friday, were in Dhanachuli while the last two in Nainital.


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First travelling Kumaon Literary Festival begins from Delhi


By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: A preview of the Kumaon Literary Festival, to be held from October 23-27, was held in the national capital.

Hills of Kumaon, where the festival will commence in October
Hills of Kumaon, where the festival will commence in October

As part of the preview, a number of social programmes built around the festival – Women Writers Unlimited, Fellows of Nature, Literary Bhagidari and K-Lit Mobile App – were launched at the Taj Mahal Hotel on Saturday evening.

Arguably the first travelling literary festival in the country, it would host top authors, cinema and media personalities, political commentators and opinion makers, at Te Aroha, Dhanachuli, an enchanting little village in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It will then travel to Abbotsford, Nainital.

The idea behind holding this annual, retreat destination literary festival in Dhanachuli village is that the hilly region of Uttarakhand shares a special relationship with literature, said Sumant Batra, a lawyer and founder of this festival.

While addressing the preview event, Batra said, “The Kumaon literary festival is the first one of international scale and standards to be held in a rural area. Dhanachuli is being developed into a smart village – through creative initiatives,”

Barkha Dutt, journalist and chairperson of the festival advisory board, said she was initially unsure about another literary fest, but the idea of an annual retreat destination literary festival in the Himalayas was what got her on board.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Batra said: “In this intolerant society, the fest will discuss the culture of ban. Author Anuja Chauhan, who supports ban on porn, and others who are against it, will be sharing the same stage to discuss their views.

“The festival is the first from which stem out a number of social and other programmes with tangible deliverables and measurable outcomes, which also dovetail back into the festival, adding value to the fest,” Batra said.

One of the outstanding feature of the Kumaon literary festival is the ‘Women Writers Unlimited Series’. With over 50 percent of women participant, it is an wonderful initiative to empower women.

Another social programme – Fellows of Nature – aims to create a book with a fine collection of short stories on nature. The campaign aims to put spotlight on critical environmental issues by creating a community of nature writers.

Literary Bhagidari project aims to mentor the youth through literature.

A mobile application K-Lit, arguably the first by any literary festival in India, launched on the occasion allows users to watch the fest live, receive live updates and pictures and also allow them to interact with the speakers.

Planned and conceptualised by Barkha Dutt, Anuj Bahri (literary agent), Janhavi Prasada (filmmaker) and others, the festival is supported by the UN Women and the Uttarakhand Tourism Board.

Speakers at the literary fest include Mrinal Pande, historian Shekhar Pathak, literary historian Rakshanda Jalil, author Anuja Chauhan and Namita Gokhale among others.

The fest would see discussions on ‘Shifting landscape of political campaign’ by Dinesh Trivedi, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala and others. Few other topics include, forgotten legends of Indian cinema, role of women in ancient India, and Hindustani poetry connecting the common man to literature.

With inputs from IANS