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Kolkata takes on Jaipur in literary face-off

IANS  |  New Delhi 

For five days every January the Pink City of becomes the centre of attraction as literary stalwarts from and abroad assemble in huge numbers -- spanning languages, genres and themes -- to participate in the Literature Festival (JLF). This has been happening for over a decade.

The City of Joy, however, built a literary edifice of sorts this year as several prominent literary events were held in Kolkata coinciding with the

The success of JLF, its expansion in major cities abroad, coupled with a touch of glamour while retaining the aesthetics of Indian heritage and languages, have fast propelled it into becoming the largest literary gathering of its kind.

Held from January 24-28 this year, the "greatest literary show on earth" was preceded by Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF), which celebrated its 10th edition in grandeur.

"It is clear that during the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Kolkata becomes a literary magnet. AKLF is the only literary festival in the country created by a bookstore, the nearly 100-year-old iconic

"The people of the city are interested in books and reading a variety of genres ranging from classics to Pulitzer Prize winning titles and this was very evident from the audience and their interaction with authors at the festival," Priti Paul, Director of Apeejay Surrendra group, which organises the festival, had told this on the sidelines of the festival.

And then, barely two days before kicked off, Nobel Laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, who also delivered the keynote address at Jaipur, inaugurated the Kolkata Literary Meet.

Among the prominent names who attended this year's event were Man winner Yann Martel, Ruskin Bond, Ramachandra Guha, and

The high-point of the festival was a glittering award ceremony at the where the for South Asian Literature was awarded to Jayant Kaikini and Tejaswini Niranjana along with a unique trophy by Bond.

Notably, the was earlier announced at JLF, after which it moved to other destinations, including the Dhaka Lit Fest last year, and Kolkata this year.

"The nature of the prize is to be inclusive and the effectiveness is in announcing it all over Being a myself I totally understand that the nuances in would be completely different from Kolkata.

"The idea is to engage with as many people around as possible. Since Kolkata coincided with our calendar of the prize it only seemed natural when we were sent the invitation to participate to present it at the Kolkata lit fest," Surina Narula, the of the DSC Prize, told IANS.

Even after the concluded on January 28, Kolkata continued to be the "City of Joy" for bibliophiles, and hosted a 12-day-long International Kolkata Book Fair, which registered record sales of Rs 21 crore.

More than 23 lakh people visited the book fair over the 12 days, compared to approximately 400,000 at JLF over its five days this year.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 11:38 IST