Mumbai to host first regional language literary festival

With national literary festivals focusing only on English writings, a group of literature lovers have come together to hold the country's first regional language festival, titled Gateway Litfest, here from Saturday.

The maiden edition of the two-day literary jamboree will be attended by around 50 top writers and art and film experts from different languages, particularly Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya and Tamil, who would debate and discuss the rich heritage of regional languages, the organisers said in a statement.

The event will honour Marathi poet-novelist Bhalchandra Nemade, who won the 2014 Jnanpith award, and past Oriya Jnanpith award winner Pratibha Ray, apart from various Kendra and State Akademi award winners, at a ceremony to be held at the NPCA theatre here.

The Gateway LitFest, being organised by leading Malayalam literary quarterly 'Kakka' and integrated marcom agency Passion4Communication, will bring together vibrant vernacular writings and authors on one platform and put them on the same page with English and Hindi under the arclights.

The speakers will discuss, debate and decipher the plight as well as the prominence of regional writings and vernacular literary streams. There will be deliberations on literature, media, script-writing, poetry and novel. One of the highlights of the festival will be a session on artistic freedom in the aftermath of deadly attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo and the attack on Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, who declared to quit the world of writing.

Special sessions on regional languages like Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam will be another attraction, making the Gateway Litfest different from other literary events. Renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan (who also is the chief patron of the festival), Marathi writer Laxman Gaikwad, corporate leader and writer Ravi Subramanian, ex-Kendra Sahitya Akademi secretary and writer Satchidanandan, Oscar winner Resul Pookkutty and Kochi-Muziris Biennale president, curator Bose Krishnamachari among others will attend the event.

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