The three-day Brahmaputra Literary Festival (BLF) (February 9 to 11) began today at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
Assam had joined the list of cities hosting literary festivals last year in 2017, and this year too it will see the participation of many authors from India and abroad.
The festival is being organized by the National Book Trust (NBT) and the Assam government. It will host close to 30 panel discussions, along with book releases, readings and culture events. It will also have screenings of films based on books, musical and dance performances.
One of the first panel discussion was on ‘Literature in the Market Place: Publishing, Lit fests and Book Fairs’ which saw eminent journalist, writer and broadcaster Bee Rowlatt, moderated by Mamang Dai, well-known writer and Civil Servant from Arunachal Pradesh. Bee said, ‘A good festival must have a social and community outreach. There should be interaction with schoolchildren, college students and local people. I was slightly upset when I was leaving Diggi Palace during the Jaipur Literature Festival, you have to walk through a tunnel of people offering you a ride in a rickshaw. I initially didn’t want to take one but eventually did. The gentleman told me his income was ruined by the festival and I was his first customer. The intention of the festival is good but the local people’s interests are in suspense. That’s something that you have to consider.’
‘Writers and journalists or people who have these jobs can come and talk about their ideas, meet people at these literary festivals. It can be instructive for people who want to pursue that kind of career but never really imagined themselves in it,’ Bee added.
The festival was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal at the Sankardeva Kalakshetra International Auditorium. The inauguration function was attended by well-known French writer David Collin who was Guest of Honour and eminent scholar Indranath Choudhury, Special Guest.
Besides, V B Pyarelal, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Assam and Chairman, Core Organizing Committee of BLF; and Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman, NBT, India also spoke on the occasion.