Published:  05:36 PM, 06 October 2020

Bengali Writers joining TIFA -2020

Bengali Writers joining TIFA -2020

-Tasmina Khan

TIFA or Toronto International Festival of Authors is the festival of the writers, poets and performers  from all across Canada. TIFA welcomes authors all across Canada to exhibit their literary genius through this platform. In the 2018’s festival, they reported the organization to be rebranded as the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA). When the Festival began in 1974, it was the only international literature festival in Canada. They said, 'we’re still proud to be the country’s largest and longest-running festival of words, but it is time to embrace our relationship with this city!’ From their portal, the interested readers can get flavors of world literature from multi-cultural authors.  This year TIFA has partnered with BLRC (Bengali Literary Resource Centre), a Toronto-based literary organization, to present literary activities of the Canadian Bengali community to Canadian audience, and consequently to the world. 

Reputed writers such as Margaret Atwood, Anne Michaels, A. F. Moritz, Ian Williams,Beatriz Housnerand many more are expected to attend the festival to glorify each year.Along with them, there will be Emma Donoghue, Eric Walters, Farzana Doctor, AnoshIrani, Helen Humphreys, Lorna Crozier, Michel Crummey, Shokoofeh Azar, Ian Williams, Samantha M. Bailey, Jack Wang, David Waltner-Toews, Gil Adamson, Ayad Akhtar, Madhur Anand, André Alexis, Priya Basil, Richard Russo and many more totalling a number of more than 255.

This year, there are eleven Bengali origin writers, who are attending TIFA through BLRC as the representative of Bengali literature. The Executive Director of BLRC, Subrata Kumar Das, who is also a noted researcher and writer initiated this joint venture with TIFA. Subrata was invited to communicate with the established and promising writers of the Bengali language to attend the TIFA and introduce them to the larger literary community of Canada. The Bengali writers, along with Subrata, who are attending  TIFA 2020 are Asoke Chakravarty, Dr. Dilip Chakraborty, Akbar Hussain, Syed Iqbal, Sujit Kusum Paul, SaeedJadid, Nahar Monica, Surajit Roy Majumder, Tasmina Khan and Manosi Saha. What a glory to us!
BLRC will present the Bengali writers in three segments with the coordinance of Subrata Kumar Das. In the first part, BLRC will present six writers on October 22, at 6 pm. The event will display them as the participants of the event ‘Life Through Language: CanLit to Bengali’. In this part, the writers such as Dr. Dilip Chakraborty,Saeed Jadid, Sujit Kusum Paul, Surajit Roy Majumder,Tasmina Khan and Manosi Saha will rationale their love, passion, research, and contribution to Bengali as well as Canadian literature. The participants will share their special affection for certain genres of Canadian literature. They will also share their reading history of Canadian Literature and relate them to Bengali Literature. All of them have already completed one or multiple translations of Canadian Literature. They have shared that so far, they have already translated some works of Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Lawrence Hill, Margaret Lawrence and many more. Stay tuned to watch the event at the link followed:

In the second part of TIFA' 2020 festival, BLRC ED Subrata will talk to Asoke Chakravarty,Syed Iqbal, Akbar Hussain and Nahar Monica. The session will be forecasted on October 27, at 6.30 pm. The session is named as ‘Life Through Language: Bengali writers in Canada’. The writers will talk about their literary career and writings. You are welcome to watch the event by clicking on the following link:

BLRC will present the third event, ‘Life Through Language: Bengali Literature, A Retrospect’ on October 30th, at 6.30 pm. The participants of the event are Dr. Dilip Chakraborty,Subrata Kumar Das,Tasmina Khan and Manosi Saha. The participants will present the history of Bengali Literature in English. The chronological order of the authors and the related historical background as well as significant incidents will be portrayed in the festival in detail.  The discussion will include the legendary Bengali authors of both Bengals and their major works in three parts as the Ancient Bengali Literature, Medieval Bengali Literature, and Modern Bengali Literature. This session is planned to provide a quick and precise overview of the history of Bengali Literature. Consequently, this presentation might benefit the new generation of Bengals and others who are interested to know about the glorious literature of Bengali Literature. The participants will recite verses from each of those periods to share the literary flavor of those particular eras. Please click on the link below to watch the event:

This project is a reflection of BLRC’s literary activities. Since its inauguration in 2015, BLRC is committed to doing multi-disciplinary activities for the spread and flourishment of the merits of Bengali writers as well as to make a bridge with the Canadian writing community. To name some, BLRC has published several books of the Toronto-based Bengali writers, and has initiated to spread the essence of Bengali Literature in English for the non-Bengali readers. The readers have reported that the program was very successful since they could share the long-cherished glory of Bengali Literature to their non-Bengali speaking children and friends. They are very proud and satisfied to share the translations of several writings of the Nobel-winner Rabindranath Tagore, our national poet KaziNazrul Islam and the great poets such as Jibanananda Das, Sukumar Roy, or Shamsur Rahman. As a part of the mission, they already conducted a year-long reading program where they distributed English Translations of hundreds of epic pieces from Bengali Literature. The collection included books from the authors of Bangladesh and India as well. BLRC always work as the literary junction of both Bengals. 

Similarly, now BLRC is focused on sharing the essence of Canadian Literature to the Bengali readers in Bengali. To execute the mission, the writers of BLRC have already completed their manuscripts on the legendary literary icons such as the Nobel laureate Alice Munro, the queen of the Can-Lit Margaret Atwood, ‘The Book of Nigros” by Lawrance Hill, “A Jest of God” by Margaret Lawrence etc. By reading such Canadian literature in Bengali, BLRC believes that the Bengali writers will be more interested in reading in-depth Canadian literature and will be able to relate this literature to their very own literature, Bengali. 

Toronto International Festival of Authors, the annual colorful event, started its journey in 1974. It has played an important role in the cultural life of Canada. Their journey began as some reading series at the Waterfront of Toronto. Later in 1980, they turned into Harbourfront International Authors’ Festival. In 1986 they appeared newly as a non-profit organization and was named as International Readings at Harbourfront. They got their name as International Festival of Authors (IFOA) within a decade. IFOA rebranded their current name Toronto International Festival Of Authors (TIFA) in 2018 and since then continuing their journey as a grand festival of Authors from all across Canada. Participants from far and near congregate here in Toronto every year to share their literary journey. Since, Toronto is a multicultural city, TIFA welcomes a variety of authors regardless of nationality, race, gender, and language each year. TIFA also presents yearlong presentations of conversation with those authors. They have book reading programs, book launch series and many more events in place to offer. The TIFA events are always available in the form of audio, video, and photo forms in the holdings of the Library and Archives Canada, which made it easier for the researchers, readers, and literary workers to study and research as valuable resources. 

Tasmina Khan is a freelancer

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