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11th edition of Kolkata Literary Meet starts at Victoria Memorial on January 21

Countdown to city’s tryst with feast of ideas

Our Special Correspondent | Published 17.01.23, 07:21 AM

Award-winning authors, literary critics, academics and artists will share the stage at Kolkata’s annual tryst with books and ideas, starting this weekend.

The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, in association with the Victoria Memorial Hall and The Telegraph, will be held on the Victoria lawns from January 21 to 26.


The 11th edition of the meet will be inaugurated by literary critic Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. 

Geetanjali Shree, author of Tomb of Sand (Ret Samadhi), the first Hindi novel to be awarded the International Booker Prize (2022), will speak at the festival along with Daisy Rockwell, who translated the book into English. Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka will speak on his novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, which won the Booker Prize 2022.

Jnanpith awardees Damodar Mauzo and Amitav Ghosh, Sahitya Akademi Award winner Bratya Basu, JCB Prize winner Khalid Jawed and Pulitzer winner Andrew Sean Greer will also speak at the meet.

Books examining India’s 75 years of Independence through different lenses will mark each day of the festival.

A session will see authors Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Sankar remember the August of 1947. The session will also be attended by Semanti Ghosh and Aparajita Dasgupta. 

The Anglo-Indian community in India will be in focus at a session on educator-author Barry O’Brien’s new book The AngloIndians: A Portrait of a Community.

“It is a great pleasure, as always, to be gearing up for the Kolkata Literary Meet, in its 2023 edition at the Victoria Memorial this year.

These conversations are the most important aides in our efforts to put our lives back on track after the ravages of Covid,” said Jayanta Sengupta, curator of the Victoria Memorial Hall.

Among the speakers will be a number of well-known academics. 

Sukanta Chaudhuri will speak on Rabindranath Tagore’s visits to Italy, Kavita Panjabi will be in conversation on Gabriel Garcia Marquez with the author’s nephew, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, and Supriya Chaudhuri will be part of a discussion on Unseen City, by Ankhi Mukherjee, a professor of English at Oxford.

The Bengali segment features Srijato speaking on Shakti Chattopadhyay and Chandril Bhattacharya speaking on Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. 

Food writer Chitrita Banerji, author-academic Chinmoy Guha, actor Anirban Bhattacharya, singer-poet Anupam Roy, theatre personalities Koushik Sen and Suman Mukhopadhyay, poet Subodh Sarkar and thriller writer Anirban Basu will helm sessions showcasing Bengali literature. 

Fossils lead singer and author Rupam Islam will make his debut at this year’s festival. A formidable line-up of theatre, music and performing arts is an integral part of the festival.

The band Shakti, featuring John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Ganesh Rajagopalan and Selvaganesh, will perform at CCFC on January 24.

For the first time, the festival will have a segment in Hindi.

It will have three sessions featuring Sudha Arora, Mritunjay Singh, Alka Saraogi, Ved Raman Pandey, Yatish Kumar and translators Daisy Rockwell, Baran Farooqi and Poonam Saxena.

Festival favourites Javed Akhtar and Ruskin Bond will also be part of the programme, the latter virtually.

The women’s movement in Iran will be discussed by Ghazala Wahab, Sharda Ugra and Anuradha Kapoor, while artificial intelligence in warfare will be examined by former foreign secretary Krishnan Srinivasan and authors Pravin Sawhney and Avik Chanda.

Paresh Maity will speak on his journey as an artist and actor Divya Dutta will share her experiences of working with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan.

“It is our privilege to return to the City of Joy with the 11th edition of the festival. Our literary festivals seek to inspire and entertain by offering innovative platforms that help audiences discover new ideas and re-imagine the world around them,” said Chanakya Chaudhary, vice-president, corporate services, Tata Steel.

“We’ve got the best, the brightest and the most decorated authors, thinkers, and public figures from across the globe. Do come and enjoy this feast of ideas and books.It is not to be missed,” said Malavika Banerjee, festival director. 

Last updated on 17.01.23, 07:47 AM

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