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.