It might sound strange when I say that no matter how much I love to write, I’m not much of an avid reader. Even then, when I heard of this lit (literature) fest, which has been taking place here in Dhaka every year since 2012, I could not resist the urge to check out what it is all about.
It is held at Bangla Academy which is known as the national language authority of Bangladesh. This place stands as the evidence of a profound history of our country that gave us the right to speak with pride in the very language that we do now, Bangla (or Bengali). In the 1952, the language movement took place- a political movement to support the recognition of the Bengali language as an official language to allow it to be used in everywhere. Hence, it is always a matter of great respect and patriotic emotions to step into this premises.
The Lit fest is a union of hundreds of readers and writers from all around the world who come to celebrate literature. This 3-day festival was inaugurated by the Nobel Prize-winning writer Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul. There were beautiful book stalls decorated in the form of little colorful huts with lights all around. I especially liked the tree that was decorated with paper-made white birds and cages hanging in its branches. There was a touch of creativity in almost everything that my eyes could reach on. Also, the wall containing stanzas of popular poetries that was made to glow like a projector screen looked spectacular with the evening dusk.
The 3-day festival was scheduled with 100+ interesting programs including music, photo exhibition, film screening, poetry, panel discussion, story-telling, stage shows, translations, etc.
- POETRY: STILL HERE AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
- BLOCKADE: A documentary that highlights how communities outside Bangladesh stood up against the Pakistani military’s brutal oppression in 1971.
- WORLD FICTION: HIDDEN REALITIES
- LITERATURE: ALWAYS POLITICAL- a debate on whether literature is being political or personal
- DEATH OF LITERATURE: will today’s world see the end of literature in this fast-paced world of technology?
- TRUTH AND LIES
- FIGHTING WORDS: POETRY AS A FORM OF DISSENT
- THE BOOK OF DHAKA
- A NEW WORLD DISORDER
- BRAC POPULAR THEATER- The performance in the Third Theatre approach, where the performer relies on direct communication with the audience.
- SPIRITUAL SONGS
- BREXIT BLUES
- RICHARD BEARD’S EDITING WORKSHOP
- ON THE TRAIL OF GENGHIS KHAN
I went in the last day of the festival, towards the ending hours so the environment seemed to have come to life with people in a cheerful, relaxed mood. There were group of people here and there chatting, eating, taking pictures and playing ukulele in the corner. For as long as I was there, I was in a festive mood just like every other person in the place. I even wore a fragrant flower wrist band the whole evening, bought to me by my friend at the fest. It was a great experience to have attended the fest and I already look forward to its next year’s event!
You can visit this link to know more about the Dhaka Lit Fest: http://dhakalitfest.com/index.html