Voices from around the world
Arts & Culture

Dhaka Lit Fest will be hosting talks and discussions with over 80 authors and artists from all around the world. A selection of participants is noted below. More details and a full programme are available at the festival website


Shobhaa De is a prolific writer, blogger, and columnist, who has monitored and written extensively on India’s socio-cultural and political contours for over four decades. As a prominent opinion shaper across social media, she is seen as a fearless commentator and independent media voice.

Muthoni Garland has published over a dozen books for children, two novellas for adults and several stories in literary journals spanning Africa, Europe and the USA. She is a founding member of the writer’s collective Storymoja, and organises the annual Storymoja Festival in Nairobi. Storymoja runs several projects promoting reading for children including national read-alouds and the Start a Library initiative, which has installed 64 libraries in primary schools since 2012.

Muhammed Zafar Iqbal is a very popular Bangladeshi writer of children’s books and science fiction, and a well-known columnist. He is Head of the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology. He won the Rotary SEED award in 2011 for his contribution in the field of education.

Asma Jahangir is the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and was twice elected as Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. In 2004, she was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Council of Human Rights. She served as a leading figure in the campaign waged by the women activists against the promulgation of the controversial Hadood Ordinance and draft law on evidence.

Anupam Kher is an actor, producer, writer, and humanitarian. He has acted in over 100 plays and 450 films, winning the Padmasree for his contribution to Indian cinema. In addition to running an acting school, Kher manages a foundation that focuses on educating children and providing care for people with life-limiting diseases. In 2011, he published his first book The Best Thing About You is You!

VS Naipaul was born in Trinidad in 1932 and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. From 1950, he spent four years at University College, Oxford on a scholarship. Since then, he has continued to live in England while spending a great deal of time travelling in Asia, Africa, and America. He was knighted in 1989 and awarded the David Cohen British Literature Prize in 1993. He lives in Wiltshire, England.

Paul Theroux was born in Massachusetts, USA in 1941 and published his first novel, Waldo, in 1967. His subsequent novels include Picture Palace, The Mosquito Coast, and My Other Life. He is best known for highly acclaimed travel books like The Great Railway Bazaar, The Old Patagonian Express,  and most recently, Deep South. He divides his time between Cape Cod and the Hawaiian Islands.

Harold E Varmus received the Nobel Prize for studies of the genetic basis of cancer in 1989. A graduate of Amherst and Harvard in English literature and Columbia University in Medicine, he has authored over 350 scientific papers and five books, including his memoir The Art and Politics of Science. He holds the Meyer Cancer Center Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine position at Weill Cornell Medical College and is  co-chair of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Yoss is an essayist, humorist, critic and narrator. He is considered the leading sci-fi writer of his generation in Cuba and Latin America. He has published more than 30 books, which have been translated into French, Italian, Polish, English and Japanese. He has won the UPC Prize for Short Science Fiction novel and the Prix Julia Verlanger.

Meike Ziervogel is a German-British writer and publisher. She grew up in Germany and went to London in 1986 to study Arabic language and literature. She has worked as a journalist for Reuters in London and Agence France Presse in Paris and is founder of Peirene Press, an award-winning independent publishing house. An author of three novels, Meike was voted as one of Britain’s 100 most innovative and influential people in the creative and media industries in 2012.

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