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A weekend with the masters

Lit-o-Fest is a new literary event in the city offering a platform to budding authors to meet, interact and learn from the masters of Indian literature

Bringing the focus back to Indian authors across the country, the city will witness the first edition of Lit-O-Fest, a new literary event that opens today at the Sir JJ School of Art campus.

Book lovers browse through a collection of English books inspired from Indian themes at an Indian book fair. Pic/AFP
Book lovers browse through a collection of English books inspired from Indian themes at an Indian book fair. Pic/AFP

Structured around discussions, debates and readings of literary works by young as well as famous writers in English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu and other regional languages, the two-day festival aims to offer every writer “an equal opportunity and space to be seen, heard and published”.

“The idea behind the festival is to bring young, emerging as well as established authors into one platform, and let them share their experiences, stories and insights on Indian literature with budding authors from across India,” says festival director, Smita Parikh.

While Hindi literature remains a primary focus of the festival, with several book launches and discussions on how to popularise it, and the economics of the Hindi publishing industry, the festival also puts an equal focus on literature from regional languages like Marathi and Urdu.

While Marathi novelist Kiran Nagarkar will offer a masterclass on writing, a panelist of Urdu writers will discuss the Progressive Writers’ Movement that helped popularise Urdu literature in pre-Independent India. The festival also offers a view of Indian literature via various art forms.

The event will include sessions on Bollywood music, song writing and current trends with Anup Jalota and a special session on its history with the duo, Salim-Suleiman. Offering a similar insight into Western and Indian Classical dance forms, will be Sandeep Soparrkar. There will also be special sessions on Parsi literature, food writing and women writers in India.

An author herself, 40-year-old Parikh says that the idea behind the festival is to create an international platform for Indian authors from regional languages. She says, “Despite the fact that we have several award-winning authors, we have not secured freedom from the foreign authors’ hangover.

I do not have anything against the English language or foreign authors, but we have our own languages, and authors whose works have been appreciated internationally, and they need to be promoted too.”

Apart from the discussions and talks, the festival has also managed to get publishers on board to select seven manuscripts from budding authors and publish them for free. Besides, it will also raise funds to start a scholarship to support thirty art students from the JJ School of Art over three years.

On Today and March 1, 10.30 am to 6.30 pm (both days)
At JJ School of Art, 78, Dr DN Road, Fort.
Entry Free log on to www.lit-o-fest.com

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