The new edition of the much anticipated literary festival in the country has just been announced. The Bangalore Literature Festival will be held at the Royal Orchid hotel (Near KGA) on 5-6 Dec 2015. The event is free to attend but early registration is recommended. Click here to register.
Open Road Review's Kulpreet Yadav caught-up with the award-winning writer Shinie Antony, who is also one of the founders of the festival.
Kulpreet Yadav: Bangalore has mutated from being a retired man’s paradise to a fast-growing IT hub and is leading the Startup investments in the country. How does literature fit into a landscape where people seem to have no time?
Shinie Antony: This is precisely why lit fests help, to tantalise in capsule form the non-reading man. We need to keep reminding the multi-taskers and the technology-driven to pick up a book, to keep reading. Literature festivals offer glimpses into this genre or that and depending on one’s time and passion one is able to choose and stay with a particular form of the word.
KY: The Bangalore Literature Festival, one of the most successful festivals in the country, is known for its quality content and participation of the locals. How have you achieved this?
SA: The mix has always been important to us (Vikram Sampath, me and the rest of the dedicated team), that the festival reflects literature in the context of Bangalore, taking mother-tongue, global influences and national names that matter to this city into account. Only then does it become namma Bengaluru’s very own thing. We have Sanskrit, Tulu, as well as French and German side by side. To hear similar sentiments voiced in different languages is a treat, for you are listening to the universal human voice.
KY: Even tier two cities have their own literary festivals now. As one of the first in South India, how do you think the Bangalore Literature Festival has changed the reading habits of the locals?
SA: We hope that it is an event the average Bangalorean looks forward to, marks on his calendar and attends with all his senses. The festival bookshop showcases the participating writers and the panel discussions reflect the writers’ uniqueness of thought. Just listening to authors and interacting with them may unlock the reader or writer in those attending.
KY: There is great anticipation for BLF 15. What do you have in line-up for Bangalore this season?
SA: It’s wholesome fare, with discussions in the open air, workshops, children’s corner, LitMart (where aspiring authors get a chance to pitch book ideas to literary agents, editors and publishers), readings and debates. Poetry readings, deliberations on fiction, exciting and novel activities for kids, workshop on detective writing and short story writing, screenings of award-winning films, live musical performances, food stalls and a surprise exhibition.
KY: You are a writer too, how does being at the administrative helm of promoting reading and writing help you as a storyteller?
SA: Writers write in complete isolation and can by nature be socially awkward people, who need to get out more often. This lit fest involves me with the like-minded on an evolving, growing platform in a perfect mix of the controlled and the uncontrollable, connecting the dots between my own narrow concerns and the larger world.