Dhaka Lit Fest programme announced
Rehan Kabir

The schedule of more than 90 offerings for the Dhaka Lit Fest has just been announced, and like the title of Shobhaa De's panel discussion, it looks like there will be “Never a Dull De.” The event will be held from November 19-21 at the Bangla Academy in the Dhaka University premises.

With heavyweight names like VS Naipaul, Paul Theroux and Harold Varmus, the literary festival will feature more than 70 prominent authors and artists from around the globe.

“This year has another great international line up. Every year we build on the successes of the previous year, and have been going from strength to strength,” said Sadaf Saaz, the festival producer and one of its three directors, along with Ahsan Akbar and K Anis Ahmed.

The programmes include panel discussions, reading, children’s events and performance, running simulatneously at the festival over three days.

“This festival is a vehicle to bring the world closer to us, as well as showcase our own literary and cultural heritage,” Sadaf said. “We want literature to be accessible, engaging and relevant to the younger generation – to make them feel this is very much their festival.”

In the run up to November 19, title sponsor Dhaka Tribune will be featuring more in depth coverage of this year's speakers and events.

Online registration is mandatory but free. Visit the festival website to read the full schedule: http://dhakalitfest.com.

Don't miss these festival highlights

Day 1 (Thursday, November 19)

The Dhaka Lit Fest kicks off at 9:30am, with the Ghaashphoring Choir starting the proceedings on the Main Stage with 45 minutes of classical and original medleys, This presentation will be followed by Nayantara Sahgal's keynote speech. Nobel laureate VS Naipaul then officially inaugurates the start of the Dhaka Lit Fest.

The opening plenary, “The world is round,” features a distinguished panel that includes renowned author Paul Theroux and journalist Jon Snow. Moderated by novelist and DLF director K Anis Ahmed, the panel also includes academic Ramachandra Guha and founding organiser of Women Of The World (WOW) Jude Kelly.

Nobel Prize winning scientist Harold Varmus gives a wide-ranging talk covering the excitement of basic science research, government and science policy, and the future of global healthcare.

“Can South Asia be a power bloc?” features three top journalists based out of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh taking a close look at the region’s realities. Moderated by Ashiqur Rahman, this panel features Victor Mallet, Fasih Ahmed and Dhaka Tribune editor Zafar Sobhan.

Day 2 (Friday, November 20)

The day starts off with “Palestine” in which Jon Snow and two Palestinian poets, Ghassan Zaqtan and Fady Joudah, explore the transfixing powers in the Middle-East region – its enduring appeal, endless sorrow and hopeless hopes.

In “VS Naipaul in conversation with Paul Theroux,” the two internationally prominent literary figures and former rivals appear together in a dialogue on the same platform. It is a first in many years, something Dhaka Lit Fest is proud to host.

“The march to independence” session will highlight the launch of Rehman Sobhan’s memoir, Untranquil Recollections: The Years of Fulfillment. A faculty at Dhaka University and close advisor to the late Bangabandhu, Rehman Sobhan will share with us his deep insight into all those seminal years, along with distinguished scholar Anisuzzaman, and renowned Pakistani lawyer Asma Jahangir.

The Main Stage will also focus on a lively discussion “Working girl: How should sex workers be viewed?” featuring global feminist campaigner Ruchita Gupta, award winning author Sonia Faleiro, The New York Times Book Review editor Parul Sehgal, and member of Bangladeshi women’s activist group Naripokko Firdous Azim, exploring issues surrounding the sex trade.

Day 3 (Saturday, November 21)

The star studded sessions continue into the third day of the festival, as DLF director Ahsan Akbar is joined by notable international journalist Jon Snow in “Shooting history,” discussing the political changes and its impacts in the last three decades, and facilitating numerous public debates and news campaigns.

Nobel laureate and cancer researcher Harold Varmus talks to Sadaf Saaz about his lifetime of passion for literature and science.

The DLF will also play hosts to “Feminism: The next F word” featuring social commentator and celebrated author Shobhaa De, writer and columnist Laura Bates, activist Tasaffy Hossain, and publisher Urvashi Butalia as they debate on issues of modern feminism.

Moderated by Victor Mallet, “Midnight's stepchild: Liberalism and radicalism” will see a panel consisting of Nayantara Sahgal, Kiran Nagarkar, Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Minoli Salgado, Fasih Ahmed and Bikash Sangraula discuss issues of poltical philosophy in the South Asian region, as as wrap up to the three-day programme.

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