Dhaka Lit Fest kicks off with novel ideas and thoughts
Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber known as Adonis along with Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan inaugurated the three day Dhaka Literary Festival at the Bangla Academy premises on November 16. DLF (Dhaka Literary Festival) Directors Ahsan Akbar, Sadaf Saaz, Kazi Anis Ahmed, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's grandson Radwan Mujib Siddiq Bobby were also present at the inaugural ceremony.
With a thrilling start, luminous literary stars like Tilda Swinton, Adonis, Lionel Shriver and David Hare joined the mega carnival. Among the highlights of the first day was the handing over of the 12th Gemcon Literary Awards alongside the unveiling of an illustrated series of novellas on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
This year's Gemcon Award for Literature went to poet Mohammad Rafiq. The young litterateurs' prize went to two aspiring writers Ashraf Jewel and Mamun Ur Rashid while a new category for young poets was introduced this time as the award in the category went to Nusrat Nusin. Kazi Nabil Ahmed, chairman of Gemcon Group handed over the prizes to the respective recipients at the Abdul Karim Sahtiya Bisarad Auditorium of Bangla Academy.
In the morning session, Adonis, along with the others inaugurated the festival by unveiling the graphic novellas titled 'Mujib' on the life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
During the inaugural session Sadaf Saaz, one of the directors of DLF said, "The 3-day Dhaka Lit Fest belongs to the thoughts and freedom of the connoisseurs. This festival is a place to spread our thoughts worldwide and also to get enriched with newer thoughts from outside. This arrangement will remind us about the power of words and beauty".
Another DLF director Kazi Anis said, "Bangla is the seventh most spoken language in the world. However, not many are conscious of the culture and heritage of the country, and we also do not take enough from the culture of other countries."
A session of Bahá'i Writings was held at the Lawn of Bangla Academy in the morning. Before the inaugural ceremony, a Pung Cholom, performance was staged by Manipuri Theatre at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium.
A number of internationally acclaimed writers, novelists and journalists like Ben Okri, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, William Dalrymple, Esther Freud, Bee Rowlatt, Bigoa Chuol, Charles Glass, Andrew Feinstein, Dominic Ziegier, Charles Gawad, Jyoti Malhotra, Nandana Sen, Ritu Menon, Shashi Tharoor and others are due to take part at different sessions of the ongoing festival.
Reputed personalities from Bangladesh including educationists Syed Manzoorul Islam, Dr. Fakrul Alam, Dr. Firdous Azim; poets Habibullah Shirazee, Asad Chowdhury, Kaiser Haq, Muhammad Samad, Helal Hafiz, Asad Mannan, Kamal Chowdhury; novelists Moinul Ahsan Saber, Anwara Syed Huq, Shahin Akhter, Zakir Talukdar, Ahmad Mustafa Kamal, Imdadul Haq Milon, and academician Salimullah Khan are due to attend the festival.
One of great highlights of this year is the announcement of the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. The announcement will be made on the closing session of the festival at around 5pm on November 18. Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith is expected to hand over the prize to the respective recipient. Besides that, the festival will also launch the British literary Journal Granta.
Dhaka Literary Festival has been held at the historic premises of the Bangla Academy every year since 2012. 75 litterateurs from 24 countries are attending the festival.
Photos: Ashik Mohammad