Almost 25% foreign writers to attend this year’s Hyderabad Lit Fest: Organisers

Hyderabad: The 3-day literary festival, which is to be held from January 24 to January 26 at Vidyaranya High school Saifabad, will see writers and artists from various parts of the country and the world as well.

What can people look forward to in this year’s HLF?

Speaking to NewsMeter, Ajay Gandhi, one of the fest organisers said, “This is probably one of the best curated literary festivals that we have curated since the past ten years. A lot of care has gone into curating it, with new programmes like story-telling sessions being introduced. Around 60 sessions ranging on diverse topics like women’s issues, economics, law and Constitution will be featured in the festival. This year’s line-up also has established authors alongside emerging authors like Manu S Pillai, Jerry Pinto, Benyamin, Sunetra Chowdhury, Sita Reddy and Serish Nanisetti.

‘There’s something for everyone’

Although there is a general perception that literary festivals are meant only for the bookworms, the organisers of the HLF believe that this is not all true. From the inception of the fest in 2010, the organisers say that they have been striving to diversify the event in terms of scope and content. The result is an amalgamation of multiple platforms where art, films, books and conversations speak. “Our motto has always been celebrating creativity in all its forms. Earlier, this was a relatively smaller festival, and now it has evolved into one of the best-known festivals in the country. Many writers are approaching us now, instead of us approaching them. More importantly, we have gained societal approval. People have realised that this is not just another festival or celebrity show, but a space where things are taken seriously,” said Vijay Kumar, one of the organisers.

Spotlight on Malayalam; Australia as guest nation

Every year, the HLF selects one Indian language in focus, highlighting the literature from that particular tongue, and this year, Malayalam has won the lot. “A large contingent of writers from Malayalam literature such as Benyamin and Paul Zacharia is going to be at the event. Almost 25 per cent of foreign writers – from Singapore, Portugal, US and Australia – will join us at the event,” said one of the organisers.

Apart from this, the organisers have introduced a new session named storytelling. “We realised that storytelling has major potential as a pedagogic tool. Now storytelling has become a separate track in the event. A new feature called ‘Meet My Book’ has also been introduced: where writers can talk about their recent publications in an informal setting with the audience. Each writer will be allotted 15 minutes to pitch their book in the session,” said Vijay Kumar. 

Commenting on whether literary festivals need to address the socio-political issues in the country, especially in the context of the protests against citizenship act, Vijay Kumar said, “This festival is not a television debate or an issue-based festival. We don’t pick up headlines of today and have a session on it. But issues do come up, as they are expressed in books or films. We don’t react to what happened yesterday, but we look at a body of work. There are books which have been directly dealing with the idea of India, on the Constitution and similar issues. This will be inevitably discussed at the lit fest.”

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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