DLF 2019: A pathway to the world of literature
Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF) 2019 held from 07 November to 09 November, 2019 at Bangla Academy within the campus area of Dhaka University. After Ekushey Book Fair which is held every year in the month of February, Dhaka Lit Fest has been one of the most time honoured yearly event in the field of literature. DLF initiated with a pilot event in 2011 under the sponsorship of the renowned Hay-on-Wye festival. With three rapid iterations in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the festival made its mark in Dhaka and entered the global literary circuit. In 2015, the festival celebrated its fifth anniversary, and with Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar and K Anis Ahmed as directors of the festival, it took up a new name as Dhaka Lit Fest in the motion of showing its commitment to promote Dhaka and Bangladeshi literature and culture to the world. With the support from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the festival motivates union of western and South Asian writers and intellectuals.
The event not only promotes local literature and culture, but also brings many globally celebrated and acclaimed personalities working in different areas of literature in one compound. It is an artistic blend of words, music, and cultural exchange. This year, Curtis Jobling, the original creator of the popular cartoon character 'Bob the Builder' had quite a few sessions which were among the most liked and attended ones. Sessions and performances were held in AKSB Auditorium, PSR Seminar Room, Lawn, V Novera Hall, Cosmic Tent and Nazrul Stage. On the first day, spiritual songs of Lalon tagged as 'Morning songs of Lalon' held in the Lawn, followed by the inaugural ceremony. Subsequently, sessions, panel discussions and poetry recitations took place. Some of the mentionable ones are fiction based plenary 'Resistance or Refuge?' participated by Monica Ali, Maria Filomena Bouissou Lepecki, Yara Rodrigues Fowler, Minna Lindgren and Sumana Roy,' How Bollywood is a lens to modern India' by Rachel Dwyer with Sadia Khalid, Children's Play with Words, 'Bangabandhu k niye lekha kobita' by Dahlia Ahmed, Laila Afroze and Md Ahkam Ullah with Shihab Shahriar, Hasan Arif, Belayet Hossain, Rafiqul Islam, and Shahadat Hossain Nipu, 'Memorable Moments: My Life in Theatre' by Asaduzzaman Noor with Samina Luthfa, and more.
On the second day, large number of participants from different schools and colleges such as students of Sir John Wilson School, Scholastica, and few more were seen roaming and visiting the books stores, booths of different organizations and institutions, attending sessions and enjoying scrumptious food at the food court of DLF. Some of the most prominent segments of the day were Children's 'Worlds of Fantasy' by Curtis Jobling, 'The Incredible Read Aloud' by HerStory Foundation, 'The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday' by Saad Z Hossain and Curtis Jobling with Shazia Omar, 'Hasina: A Daughter's Tale' introduced by K Anis Ahmed followed by discussion by RadwanMujibSiddiq, Piplu R Khan and Debajyoti Mishra with AnjumKatyal, performances by Ghaashphoring Choir and Shayan, and more to follow.
On the last day, 'Love, Africa' by Jeffrey Gettleman with Zafar Sobhan, 'Reviving the Art of Storytelling' by Naila Zaman Khan, Fran Hurley, Curtis Jobling and Syeda Sazia Zaman with Madiha Murshed, 'On the Road: Travel Writing with William Dalrymple' by William Dalrymple with Antara Ganguli, 'The Art of Conversation' by Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar and K Anis Ahmed, 'Leila' by Prayaag Akbar with Rifat Munim, performances by Armeen Musa and Chandana Majumdar, along with few more are noteworthy leading to the closing ceremony in the late evening.
Throughout the three daylong events, active participation of people from all ages and backgrounds were seen, relishing and exploring the depth of literary world. The event was successful in making the crowd understand that the art of literature is very vast and is not only concise within the pages of books or even silver screens of cinemas; it goes far beyond that. Even creating graphical arts with motion picture is a form of literature. A cartoonist is not an artist but also a literary figure. Children coming to DLF have thoroughly enjoyed the event. The remarkable appearance of young crowd shows that this generation has a knack towards literature, just in different forms. Not everyone is interested in books, but there are other forms in literature that may entice them.
The delightful event for literature enthusiasts dropped its curtain with over 200 local and international literary figures, performers and intellectuals from five continents coming together. The title sponsors of the event were Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune, with The City Bank Limited as a platinum sponsor, and Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) as a gold sponsor. Simultaneously, Brac Bank, Southeast Bank Limited and Dhaka Bank were also the silver sponsors accompanied by the British Council playing the role of the strategic partner.
Fahmida Mehreen is a young aspiring writer.