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Mumbai litfest gears up for big gathering of regional writers

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The second edition of the LIC Gateway LitFest continues to put the spotlight on regional languages at the event slated to begin here on February 20.

The two-day literary event is pegged as a meeting point for over 50 writers, including 3 Jnanpith laureates and more than 30 Sahitya Akademi award winners from 15 languages.

The National Centre for Performing Arts is hosting the event.

According to the organisers the festival aims to "gather the creme de la creme of Indian languages and put them on the same pedestal with their counterparts in Indo-English literature."

"The first edition was a watershed mark for the revival of Indian language writings, going by the number of renowned writers and the large crowd who came to celebrate the regional language writings. The second edition is going to be bigger in scale and deeper in commitment to promote Indian languages," festival director Mohan Kakkanadan said.

Jnanpith awardees Pratibha Ray, Sitakant Mahapatra and Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade will lead the roll of writers.

Apart from an increase in the number of languages and speakers, this year's edition has also introduced a new set of topics for discussion.

Sessions on marginalised North-East literary trends, languages facing extinction, modern poetry in the days of What's App, women writers in regional languages, losing interest in translation, and hijacking of mythological platform by English writers are included.

Other than those writing in Hindi and English, authors from Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Konkani, Manipuri, Malayalam, Meghalaya, Mythili, Marathi, Odiya, Sindhi and Tamil will sharing the stage to promote national integration in literature.

Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Hema Naik,

Hemant Divate, Ibomcha Singh, Jayant Pawar, Jerry Pinto, Sethu, Sitakant Mahapatra, Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Subhash Chandran, Subodh Sarkar, T K Muraleedharan, Uday Tara Nair, and Zaman Azurd are among the authors who have confirmed their participation, according to organisers.

"It was indeed high time we took the regional languages to the forefront of the nation for that is where original thinking and writing are flourishing," renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan said.

The event, packed with soul-stirring discourses, debates and discussions on regional literary streams, is being organised by Mumbai-based magazine Kaakka and has on its advisory board celebrities like Resul Pookkutty, Bose Krishnamachari and Laxman Gaikwad.

"The attempt is to provide a national platform where assimilation of literary trends in different languages could take place and preserve our languages at a time when English is dominating the scene," executive director of the festival M Sabarinath said.

Bengali poet Subodh Sarkar said,"India has now been sharply divided between English and languages. The fest has rightly realized the significance of the literatures written in languages."

Bollywood actor Nandita Das said, "I am a big champion of regional literature and cinema as they reflect the diversity of the Indian cultural ethos. I am glad that the Gateway LitFest has initiated the movement of bringing it together for the city.

"Hope many more writers, poets, filmmakers, and lovers of literature will join it to strengthen the platform this festival provides," said Das who was part of the inaugural edition.

First Published: Tue, February 16 2016. 12:49 IST