While Kolkata remains a hub of literature enthusiasts, reflecting the city’s long association with books, music, arts, films and more, a unique literary festival concluded on a high note at various heritage sites.
The first major literary festival of 2017 in India, the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) 2017 brought the tangible and intangible heritage of the city along with the participation of finest creative minds of the world to the quintessential book lovers and art aficionados of Kolkata. Oxford Bookstore in Kolkata remained one of the preferred venues for this festival that witnessed a plethora of inclusive discussions on women, children and the underprivileged. Last but not the least, the festival paid a tribute to Mahasweta Devi who brought the most marginalised section of the society into the fold of literature through her huge body of work.
The current edition of the Literary Festival was unique for multiple reasons. The AKLF kick-started onboard a cruise on the banks of the Ganges, announcing the programme schedule and an official inauguration of the event, now its eighth edition.
The AKLF 2017 was primarily held at St Paul’s Cathedral, established in 1847 and Oxford Bookstore, established in 1919. The festival’s closing event was hosted at St John’s Church, built in 1787. The Festival conversations were also hosted at Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC), Tollygunge Club, and the campuses of iLead, Presidency University, Daga Nikunj and Harrington Street Arts Centre.
The festival hosted imperative and thought-provoking sessions on the era of post-truth, where facts are fast losing out to rhetoric, the global realities were some of the topics discussed by experts along with the advent and impact of different media on our reality. AKLF also had tribute sessions on Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan through poetry and contemporary music at Poetry Café’ and Plug-In, hosted at the main venue – St Paul’s Cathedral grounds.
Highlights of AKLF 2017
Addressing the media, Maina Bhagat and Anjum Katyal, Directors, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival said, “The year that has gone by has wounded the psyche of people globally and its impact will be seen in literature across the next few years. AKLF’s 2017 schedule is woven around starting conversations to make the world a more inclusive place. Our city is known for its inclusive culture and AKLF has since its inception showcased its valuable tangible and intangible heritage. In 2017, at the eighth edition of our festival, AKLF’s agenda is to start conversations about inclusiveness as the only cure for frayed societies.”
Key highlights of AKLF 2017
- Conversations on Post-Truth, Inclusiveness, India’s North East; Protection of Child Rights; Voices of Women
- Celebrating Children & Youth: Announcing 2-day Oxford Junior Literary Festival and AKLF & UNICEF collaboration for Unicef@70 global campaign
- Celebrating Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature: Announcing Plugin – 3 evenings of music with recent sound sensations Underground Authority, Ritornellos and other artists
- Book launches: ABCDesi by Priti Paul; Horse racing in India – a Royal Legacy by Lynn Deas
- Commemoration: Mahasweta Devi with a film screening, discussion and a dramatized reading of The Why Why Girl
- Celebrating Poetry, Films, and Photography: 3-day Poetry Café, Short Film Festival with iLead, Kolkata Photo Festival 2017 at OJLF
“The partnerships we’ve forged, like with UNICEF, the new mini festivals we are hosting for children and young filmmakers, the thinkers, and writers we have invited to the AKLF platform to deliberate on a range of important issues, the books we have chosen to launch, are all part of a hope – that AKLF contributes to inspiring a new generation of artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and visual artists who will value the idea of inclusion and spotlight the racism, patriarchy, warmongering, social inequality, hypocrisy, and corruption, hurting people, especially children, across the world,” the AKLF directors added.
AKLF also introduced Tiny Stories, a global campaign by UNICEF@70 with Shashi Tharoor, author, United Nations peacekeeper, and human rights activist on the theme of ‘A Better World for Every Child’ for the global campaign by UNICEF@70.
— Tharoorians (@Tharoorians) January 18, 2017
“UNICEF is very happy to be part of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, which is one of the most celebrated literary festivals in the country. We have collaborated with AKLF 2017, as part of the UNICEF@70 campaign. We believe that AKLF gives us a perfect opportunity to engage with the authors as well as the children for #TinyStories initiative. As part of the literary festival, we are organizing workshops with select authors and children to encourage them to write on ‘What I hope for every child’,” said Meital Rusdia, the Chief of UNICEF West Bengal.
— France in Kolkata (@FranceinKolkata) January 18, 2017