From today, Mumbai hosts festival celebrating India's regional literature and writers

A diverse range of writers representing 15 languages along with Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi award winners will participate in the LIC Gateway LitFest that begins in Mumbai on Saturday.

The second edition of the festival, being held at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in south Mumbai, will see writers from over 15 languages, including nearly half a dozen from the Northeast, speaking about their works and also the current state of regional literature.

The two-day event, that seeks to celebrate regional writing, will be graced by 50 writers, including two Jnanpith laureates and 30 Sahitya Akademi award winners.

"The first edition was a watershed for the revival of language writings, going by the number of renowned writers and the large crowd who came to celebrate the regional language writings. The second edition is going to be bigger in scale and deeper in commitment to promote our regional languages," Festival Director Mohan Kakkanadan said today. 

Jnanpith winning Odia writers Pratibha Ray and Sitakant Mahapatra will lead the roll of writers. The other celebrated litterateurs and artists who will attend the meet include renowned filmmakers Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who is the Festival Committee Chairman, and Shyam Benegal, Tamil and Malayalam writer B Jeyamohan, Bengali author Subodh Sarkar and Gujarati writer Sitanshu Yashaschandra, among others.

Apart from an increase in the number of languages and speakers, this year's edition has also introduced a new set of
topics for discussion. 

Sessions on marginalised Northeast literary trends, languages facing extinction, modern poetry in the days of WhatsApp, women writers, fading interest in translation and hijacking of mythological platform by English writers have been included in the second season. 

Other than those writing in Hindi and English, authors from Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Konkani, Manipuri, Malayalam, Meghalaya, Mythili, Marathi, Odiya, Sindhi and Tamil will sharing the stage.

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Hema Naik, Madhavan Hemant Divate, Ibomcha Singh, Jayant Pawar, Jerry Pinto, Sitakant Mahapatra, Subhash Chandran, Subodh Sarkar, TK Muraleedharan, Uday Tara Nair and Zaman Azurd are among the authors who have confirmed their participation, according to organisers.

"It was high time we took the regional languages to the forefront of the nation for that is where original thinking and writing are flourishing," Gopalakrishnan said. 

The event, organised by 'Kaakka', a magazine based in Mumbai, has likes of Resul Pookutty, Bose Krishnamachari and Laxman Gaikwad on its advisory board.

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