The festival will be hosted on the grounds of Bangla Academy from November 8-10
The Dhaka Literary Festival has gone a long way towards promoting Bangladesh to the whole world, speakers at a press conference said on Monday.
The Dhaka Literary Festival—also known as Dhaka Lit Fest or DLF—has emerged as the largest international literary festival in the country, they said, adding this year more than 200 speakers, performers and thinkers representing 15 countries will take part in the event.
Supported by Cultural Affairs Ministry and hosted by Bangla Academy, the three-day event this year opens on Thursday morning with Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor as chief guest.
This year’s line-up features Pulitzer Prize-winning author Adam Johnson, Bengali literary icon Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Mohammed Hanif, award-winning actor Manisha Koirala, Oscar-winning actor Tilda Swinton, award-winning actor and director Nandita Das, winner of the Ondaatje Prize Philip Hensher, winner of the Orwell and Ondaatje prizes James Meek, Syed Manzoorul Islam, Imdadul Haq Milon, Kaiser Haq and Selina Hossain, among others.
Highlighting the youth as the target audience, DLF Director and Producer Sadaf Saaz said, “There will be at least 90 sessions spanning three days that would include not only literature but also art, photography exhibition, film screening and much more.” The registration is free for all, she stressed, adding women’s rights issues will remain a cornerstone this year too.
Referring to Dhaka Translation Center, a special translation project closely associated with the DLF, DLF Director Ahsan Akbar said, “In the west, there are many translated works available from foreign authors but no so many from Bangladeshi authors. This is the reason why we have started the Library of Bangladesh series with the help of Bengal Lights to introduce our Bengali authors to the world.”
Three new translation titles will be launched this year, he mentioned.
Akbar also highlighted that this year the DLF would host the prestigious Cambridge Short Story Prize in addition to the Gemcon Literary Awards.
DLF Director K Anis Ahmed in his speech emphasised how the DLF “has forged partnerships with iconic literary establishments.”
“Granta, the most prestigious English literary magazine, has become partner only with one literary festival and that is DLF. This year the Whiting Award— one of the most prestigious American awards—has also become a partner with the festival for the first time in its history,” said Ahmed, adding the DLF “is not just about bringing the world closer, but enriching that world through fierce debates and fresh expressions.”
Ahmed, also publisher of Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune, said: “DLF is a perpetual meeting place for rich literary and artistic heritages.”
Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune are the title sponsors of the event, with BRAC Bank Ltd as Key Sponsor. Energis is the Gold Sponsor and British Council, a Strategic Partner.
Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan said: “The reason Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune are so proud to be associated with the festival is that the DLF is truly a touchstone of excellence. The fact that we can host a festival of this quality is a matter of great pride for all of us. It sends the message that Bangladesh is second to none.”
Bangla Academy Director (Admin) KM Mujahidul Islam, Bangla Tribune Editor Zulfiqer Russell, and BRAC Bank Head of Communications Zara J Mahbub, among others, also spoke on the occasion.
Zara J Mahbub said, “BRAC Bank always takes up projects that promote Bangladesh and women’s rights. That’s why we’ve been with the DLF and this time we’ll be present there with Tara, an innovative women’s banking project.”
BA Director Mujahidul said: “This year we are emphasizing security issues. We have already contacted law enforcement agencies including the police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). They will be deployed to ensure security during the festival.”
Mujahid also urged the DLF-goers not to bring any hand bags or haversacks because they would not be allowed inside the ground for security purposes.