The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 8 , 2013
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A celebration of literature and art, January 9-13

Victoria Memorial to St. John’s Church, a film poster exhibition to words from beyond, the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) 2013 promises an eclectic line-up in its fourth edition. Organised by the Apeejay Surrendra Group and Oxford Bookstores, the literary fest will be held between January 9 and 13. The festival will also be celebrating a century of Indian cinema.

The five-day lit fest will kickstart with Maya Mahal at The Park, showcasing for the first time a collection of film posters of Priya Paul, the chairman of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels. After an inauguration ceremony at Victoria Memorial on Wednesday evening, the next few days will see a slew of literary and other events, including the first book launch by Bloomsbury India, which opened shop in New Delhi a few months back. Their debut titles are Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan by William Dalrymple and The City of Devi by Manil Suri.

Not just new titles, AKLF 2013 will also be about looking back. St. John’s Church will host a dramatised talk between Ghalib and Manto and a performance by National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi. Titled “When Ghalib met Manto: Ek Guftagu”, the event will feature actors Tom Alter and Barun Chanda, author-bureaucrat Pavan K. Varma and others.

On January 12, Ramachandra Guha will hold forth on “What kind of Asian was Gandhi” in a conversation with National Library director-general Swapan Chakravorty on the steps of Belvedere House at the National Library.

With participating authors from around the world, including from the UK, Turkey, Germany, France, Norway, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the sessions at AKLF 2013 will deal with a range of topics, from the future of the written word to food stories, from a tribute to Sunil Gangopadhyay to... ahem, Bengal political cartoons.

But literary fests aren’t just about heavy words and heavyweight authors that scare the reading daylight out of youngsters! To nurture the habit of reading in kids, AKLF 2013 is planning sessions with retired judge and the author of We, the Children of India, Leila Seth and poet Tishani Doshi.

During the festival, the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize 2013 will also be announced on January 10.

The AKLF 2013 motif — depicting a plane flying in authors from across the world — deserves a special mention. Inspired by the patachitra of Bengal and paying tribute to the rural artists who are keeping this rich tradition alive, the motif shows not just city landmarks like Howrah Bridge, Durga Puja and Shahid Minar but also a Cha Bar mug, the Calcutta Traffic Police as well as the Royal Bengal Tiger, signifying Calcutta’s young readers raring to read and roar!

The sessions are open to all. For the full schedule, log on to

Sreyoshi Dey