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  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Dhaka Lit Fest kicks off on Thursday

  • Published at 04:21 pm November 6th, 2019
DLF 2019
Stalls for 'Dhaka Lit Fest 2019' being put up at the Bangla Academy premises on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

After weeks of anticipation, writers, poets, performers, thinkers, and journalists will take the stage in over 90 sessions across the three-day long literary extravaganza, which is known as Dhaka Lit Fest

Over 200 creative talents representing five continents have converged on the capital for the ninth edition of the Dhaka Literary Festival (DLF), which opens on Thursday on the historic grounds of the Bangla Academy in Ramna.

After weeks of anticipation, writers, poets, performers, thinkers, and journalists will take the stage in over 90 sessions across the three-day long literary extravaganza, which is known as Dhaka Lit Fest.

Guests from home and abroad will grace numerous sessions of the festival with speeches, discussions and dialogues.

State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid will inaugurate the event at 11am at the Bangla Academy along with Bangladeshi-born British author and Man Booker nominee Monica Ali.

The doors of the festival will remain open for visitors from 9am to 7:30pm until Saturday. Visitors need to register (for free) at register.dhakalitfest.com to attend the event.

This year's lineup includes Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jeffrey Gettleman, historian William Dalrymple, writer and former career diplomat Shashi Tharoor, and DSC Prize-winning writer HM Naqvi.

Organizers take final preperation before inaugurating the "Dhaka Lit Fest 2019" at Bangla Academy premises in Dhaka on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Other leading luminary figures include poet Tishani Doshi, award-winning author Swapnamoy Chakraborty, poet and journalist Mridul Dasgupta.

Eminent literary figures from Bangladesh will include writer Imdadul Haq Milon, literary critic Syed Manzoorul Islam, poet and essayist Kaiser Haq, and Bangla Academy Award winner Shaheen Akhtar, among others.

Screening of "Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale" tomorrow and an appearance by Shankar on Saturday will be the special highlights this year's fest.

According to the organizers, the main objective of the festival is to bring Bangladesh's literary and cultural heritage into the global arena. However, the festival will also build linkages among local literary figures and the international literati.

"DLF is a platform which celebrates the principles on what Bangladesh is formed such as secularism, pluralism, democracy, and freedom of thought and speech," DLF Director Sadaf Saaz said at a press conference on Tuesday.

On the opening day on Thursday, Monica Ali will attend a plenary session on “Fiction: Resistance or Refuge?” at 12pm while former cultural affairs minister and renowned actor Asaduzzaman Noor will attend a session titled “Memorable Moments: My Life in Theatre” at 6:30pm.

The festival will announce the Gemcon Literary Awards winners at 4pm on Thursday.

Makeshift stall being put up at Bangla Academy premises for "Dhaka Lit Fest 2019" | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

This year’s DLF will also feature book launches, cultural performances, children’s sessions, documentary and film screenings, and interactive panel discussions to entertain literary enthusiasts.

It will also feature traditional and cultural performances including devotional songs performed by Maizbhandari Moromi Goshthi and contemporary Bangla songs by Chandana Majumdar.

Apart from panel discussions covering both Bangla and English language literature, a wide range of topics of both national and global interest will be addressed at the three-day event.

Founded in 2010, the festival took on its current directors and name – Dhaka Lit Fest – in 2015 to mark its commitment to promoting Dhaka and Bangladeshi culture to the world. 

About 400 participants representing over 50 countries have been part of DLF, including VS Naipaul, Adonis, Vikram Seth, Tariq Ali, Ahdaf Soueif, William Dalrymple, Nayantara Sahgal, Tilda Swinton, Nandita Das etc.

Stalwarts of Bangla literature, Syed Shamsul Huq, Hasan Azizul Huq, Selina Hossain, Debesh Roy, Nirmalendu Goon, Joy Goswami, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and others, have also of course graced the stage.

DLF has inspired new publications and journals, including the wonderful Library of Bangladesh which showcases the best of Bangladeshi writing in translation. 

Supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and hosted by the Bangla Academy, Dhaka Lit Fest is produced by Jatrik, an arts management and travel company in Bangladesh.

Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune are the title sponsors of the event, with The City Bank Limited as a platinum sponsor, and Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) as a gold sponsor.

Information on the event and participants is available on the festival's official website dhakalitfest.com.

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