Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber along with Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan Dhaka Lit Fest directors today raised the curtains on Dhaka Literary Festival, a three-day festival at the Bangla Academy premises.
The seventh edition of Dhaka Literary Festival begins on Thursday on the historic grounds of Bangla Academy in Dhaka. Even the rain and gloomy weather couldn't stop the book lovers to gather at the occasion.
The fest began with a beating of drums and the rhythmic tapping of dancing feet as the Manipuri Theatre's "Pung Cholom" set the hearts of early birds racing and made short work of any early morning lethargy. With an exciting start, famous stars like Tilda Swinton, Adonis, Lionel Shriver and David Hare joined the program.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Kazi Anis said: "Bangla is the seventh most spoken language in the world. However, not many are aware of the culture of our country, and we also do not take enough from the culture of other countries. With this in mind, we have arranged this year's festival in a way so that our esteemed international guests can learn something from us and we can learn something from them."
A graphic novel on the Father of the Nation, titled "Mujib," was unveiled at the inauguration.Adonis, DLF Directors Ahsan Akbar and Sadaf Saaz, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's grandson Radwan Mujib Siddiq Bobby, and Bangla Academy DG Shamsuzzaman Khan, among others, were present at the ceremony. More than 200 writers, poets, performers, publishers and journalists, representing 24 countries, are taking part in the three-day literary extravaganza.
The festival this year will focus on free speech, the plights of the Rohingya community, women's rights issues and a number of important debates surrounding overarching historical issues, according to the directors.
The lineup this year includes Booker Prize winner Ben Okri, playwright and filmmaker Sir David Hare, eminent Padma Shri-winning poet Nabaneeta Dev Sen, fiction writers Lionel Shriver and Esther Freud, journalists Charles Glass, Dominic Zeigler and Bachi Karkaria, and Oscar-winning British actor Tilda Swinton.
A large number of Bangladeshi writers and artistes including Imdadul Haq Milon, Syed Manzoorul Islam, Helal Hafiz, Selina Hossain, Aly Zaker, Anisul Hoque and Firdous Azim will also take part in numerous panels along with the foreign writers.
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