The eighth edition of the Dhaka Literary Festival (DLF), popularly known as Dhaka Lit Fest, kicked off under the warm aura of country's upcoming 11th general election yesterday at the Bangla Academy premises in Dhaka. Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor formally inaugurated the festival as the chief guest at the Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Hall of Bangla Academy.
The Pulitzer-winning author Adam Johnson, prominent actor and director Nandita Das and DLF directors Anis Ahmed, Sadaf Saaz and Ahsan Akbar were also present there. Praising the international literary fest, the Minister, "This fest will inspire our young generation through its principle of secularism and diversity." The DLF organizers expect this year over
200 speakers, literary personalities and think-tanks from all over the world will participate in 90 dialogue sessions in the 3-day long event.DLF Director Sadaf Saaz said that the festival started in 2011 with a purpose to promote the best of Bangla literature and culture to the world as well as to bring the best of the world to Bangladesh through the cosmopolitan thinkers, writers, and personalities.
Indian actor and director Nandita Das thanked the organizers for their initiative to hold such an extraordinary event on art and literature in her brief speech. Earlier, the traditional Kathak Dance performance was held before the inaugural session. Later, the opening plenary featuring 'Post America Future' took place after the inauguration ceremony at the same auditorium.
Meanwhile, British novelist Philip Hensher, Man Booker winner novelist James Meek, West Bengal's popular author Shirshendu Mukhopaddhay and many others will join the festival.
The Oscar-winning actor Tilda Swinton, prominent Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala, and Nandita Das are also the special attractions of this year. Manto, a movie based on the life of popular Urdu-language literary person Sadat Hossain Manto, screened on the first day of the event.
The DLF is supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and hosted by Bangla Academy. Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune are the title sponsors while BRAC Bank Ltd is key sponsor of the event. Energis is the Gold Sponsor and British Council, strategic partner.
The main attractions of the Lit Fest are the dialogue sessions on contemporary issues, literature and art, film screening, book launching and several cultural performances.
Though the festival is focused on literature but embraces culture and ideas more broadly with the topics including fiction and literary non-fiction to history, politics and society, poetry and translations, science, technology and mathematics, philosophy and religion.
Over the last seven years, more than 325 participants from 47 countries have taken part here including VS Naipaul, Adonis, Vikram Seth, Tariq Ali, William Dalrymple, Ahdaf Soueif, Vijay Seshadri, Tilda Swinton, Shashi Tharoor, Shobha De, Barkha Dutt and Mohammed Hanif. The laureates of Bangla literature Syed Shamsul Huq, Hasan Azizul Huq, Selina Hossain, Debesh Roy, Nirmalendu Goon, Joy Goswami and others have also glorified the DLF stages.
The fest organizers emphasized in their outreach that the festival inspires new publications and journals, including the wonderful Library of Bangladesh which showcases the best of Bangladeshi writing in translation. DLF is not just about bringing the world and Bengali audience closer, but enriching that world through fierce debates and fresh expressions.
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