Around 500 writers from more than a dozen countries will come together by the beaches of Calicut next month to take part in the fifth edition of Kerala Literature Festival which will have a special focus on Tamil writing.
The four-day festival, which begins on January 16, will see an array of authors, actors, thinkers, and activists participate in nearly 200 sessions and discuss on a range of topics, including literature, art, cinema, culture and environment.
“The festival promotes dialogues at different levels, first among the writers of Kerala, then between the writers of Kerala and writers of other languages in India, and between the writers from India and abroad. It is a confluence of many generations of writers,” noted poet and festival director K Satchidanandan said on Tuesday.
He said Spain will be the guest nation in 2020 edition and 26 Spanish writers and artists were to to take part in the festival.
“We have one Indian language in focus. Last year it was Marathi and this year it is going to be Tamil. We have a lot of major writers in Tamil, including Perumal Murugan, Salma, Bama and also Tamil writers from Sri Lanka and the diasporaThere will be special sessions on the state of Sri Lankan Tamil writing today,” Satchidanandan said at the festival”s first curtain raiser held here.
The event was hosted on Tuesday evening by writer and politician Shashi Tharoor who has been a regular speaker at the festival.
The MP from Thiruvanthapuram praised the people of Kerala for their eclectic and “tremendous” love for literature and said the state had taken a lead in setting high standards for the written word.
Historians such as Ramachandra Guha, William Dalrymple, novelists like Benyamin, Namita Gokhale, Tharoor, Chetan Bhagat and journalists Karan Thapar, Rajdeep Sardesai and Basharat Peer are among many other writers who will attend the festival.
Some of the prominent foreign writers to speak at the festival include S Patmanathan (Sri Lanka), Chris Agree (Ireland), Ari Sitas (South Africa), Beita (China) and Slovene writer and poet Cvetka Bevc.
Apart from literature being the primary cynosure, the focus theme of Kerala Literature Festival 2020 will be environment and climate change.
“There will be special sessions on environment and climate change, besides sessions on Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar and on current developments like abrogation of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Bill,” Satchidanandan said.
Gandhi and environment, the Gadgil Report in the context of Kerala”s floods, organic agriculture and the impact of rock mining, deforestation and sand mining on environment are some of the topics that will be taken up for analysis and debate, he said.
“The focus theme for KLF 2020 will be environment and climate change. We have five participants from China, and as many form Britain, Slovenia, Egypt, Ireland, South Africa and Sri Lanka,” festival”s chief facilitator Ravi Deecee said.