After a long time, I could take out time during the weekend for joining like minded folks from literary world. After book launch of Kiriti Sengupta's 'My Glass of Wine' on friday evening, Vibha and I joined for curtain raiser of Kumaon Literature Festival at Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi. It was a super impressive event and I am eagerly waiting for this special Literature festival in the hills of Kumaon.
YES BANK Kumaon Literary Festival is annual retreat and traveling literary festival in hilly state Uttrakhand of India. The festival starts on 23rd and concludes on 27th and during 3 days festival would happen in Dhanachuli. And events during last two days would happen in Nainital.
Kumaon Literature Festival is a brainchild of Sumant Batra, who is a leading lawyer of the country and senior international consultant to the IMF, World Bank Group. Sumant has also worked extensively with United Nations, OECD and other multilateral agencies. Sumant is an extremely passionate person who believes in quality execution of his vision and that's what we experienced at the curtain raiser event at Taj Mahal.
Kumaon Literature Festival is a not for profit initiative which will bring together some of the eminent authors, cinema and media personalities, political commentators, thought leaders and opinion makers of the country for a unique festival to be held in Te Aroha at Dhanachuli and in Abbotsford at Nainital. Above photograph shows some of the core members of Kumaon Literature Festival.
Kumaon Literature Festival is the first literary festival of international scale which will be happening in rural area. Dhanachuli is being developed into a “smart village” through creative initiatives. NHP Centre, the NGO is an initiative in this direction under the leadership of Sumant Batra and Asha Batra.
'Fellows of Nature' was also announced at the curtain raiser event. "Nature writing was once considered to be the rock and roll of literature. In the last few decades it has shown a steady decline. Like all extinctions, nature writing’s gradual disappearance represents a profound loss. Writing in this category is born out of love, respect, and awe of nature. It finds its subject during days of close observation of the beauty of the natural world. Writing about the close relationship between humankind and nature plays an important role in creating interest and building respect for it amongst book lovers and others. There is a pressing need to restore this literary art. The best way to do it is through stories."
With the objective of reviving interest in nature writing and reading, and through this form of literature, build awareness and develop respect for nature, and eventually help in conservation, NHP Centre, the producer of KLF is launching a project “Fellows of Nature” (FON) in partnership with French Institute in India, Wildlife Trust of India and Wisdom Tree. The Project will entail inviting nation-wide submissions of short stories on the theme of nature. A jury chaired by Siddhartha Gigoo (Asia winner of Commonwealth Short Story Award 2015) will select best stories from the submissions received. The selected short stories will be published in the book by the publisher partner Wisdom Tree. Sujata Parashar is the director of the project.
Mr. Francois Vandeville, Director, French Institute in India will launch the FON project.
FON project will have the following outcomes arising out of this single initiative.
(i) A book of fine collection of short stories on nature
(ii) FON Award to be presented to two best stories to be selected from the top 20 stories. The cash award will be presented at the second edition of KLF.
(iii) Create a community of nature writers; and
(iv) The campaign will help put the spotlight on critical environment issues.
As you can make out from the presence of folks at KLF, it's going to be big and one has to be there at the festival to really experience a Literature festival with different.
It was great to see great line-up of sponsors of this Festival. A strong support system definitely helps in best execution.
The NHP Centre is launched series titled Women Unlimited Series. One of the outstanding features of KLF is that over 50% participants are women. Not just as participants, women feature prominently across the entire spectrum of the KLF including the planning board, speakers, moderators, curators, chefs, performers, secretariat and volunteers.
K-Lit mobile application was also launched at the event. Anu Acharya, Founder and CEO, Map My Genome launched the mobile application. The mobile application will allow the users to (ii) watch the proceedings of KLF live; (ii) receive live updates including pictures.
Curtain raiser event witnessed great gathering of authors, poets, journalists, Literature lovers and lot of influencers in different areas. It was great to catch up with lot of folks during this evening.
Literary Bhagidari is launched by Mrs. Natalie Daalder, wife of HE Patrick Suckling, the Australian High Commissioner to India. This is a project to mentor youth through literature. India is currently passing through a phase of rapid social, cultural and economic transition. Significant changes are occurring in the way of life of people. An immensely young population has to deal with the dynamics of this transition on a daily basis. It is the responsibility of the more stable and established adults of the society to provide guidance, mentorship, and offer their wisdom to the young and aspiring population who are the future thought leaders. The role of art and literature assumes far greater importance in such times as thinkers, writers, poets and artists can make an important contribution in guiding the youth and in conserving nature, wildlife, heritage and culture through their work.
If I plan to be there, I would love to visit Firdaus again.
I wish the team of Kumaon Literature Festival best and hope they accomplish all they have dreamt & planned during last few months. And I am sure that it will set great examples for other festivals happening in the country.