The seventh edition of Dhaka Lit Fest was inaugurated in the capital's Bangla Academy premises yesterday with expectations of bridging the gap between Bangla and English literature.
Ignoring the drizzling rain, local and international authors and book lovers thronged the premises of Bangla Academy to begin the 3 day-long festival.
Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber along with Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan and Dhaka Lit Fest directors raised the curtain on this year's event.
Esber, known by his pen name Adonis, along with the others inaugurated the festival by unveiling the graphic novel "Mujib" on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman around 11:00am.
Stating how freedom of expression around the world is under threat, Sadaf Saaz, director and producer of the festival said, “Our mission is to stand up for freedom of expression.
“It's important to continue to protect space for free discourse and dialogue at a time when such spaces are under threat and pressure at many parts of the world,” she said.
Praising the organisers Bangla Academy DG Shamsuzzaman said the festival creates a platform for local and international authors to come together.
Kazi Anis Ahmed, another director of the festival, said not many people abroad are aware of Bangladesh's rich culture and locals do not get enough from the culture of other countries.
“With this in mind, we have arranged the festival in a way so that our esteemed international guests can learn something from us and we can learn something from them,” he said.
Dhaka Literary Festival (DLF), or Dhaka Lit Fest as it is popularly known, has been held at the historic premises of the Bangla Academy every year since 2012, marking a resurgence of Bangladeshi literary culture while vigorously engaging with other cultures far beyond the borders.
From its inception the organisers of the festival have had a vision to connect Bangladeshi writing and writers to the wider world.
With three rapid iterations – 2012, 2013 and 2014 – the festival established Dhaka's place in the global literary circuits. DLF began its journey with a pilot event in 2011 under the aegis of the world famous Hay-on-Wye festival.
Before the inaugural ceremony, a Pung Cholom performance was staged by Manipuri Theatre at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium. A session of Bahai Writings was held on the lawn of the Bangla Academy.
A total of 28 sessions in participation with local and international writers, journalists and bloggers took place alongside the festival yesterday.
Today 38 sessions on various issues are scheduled to be held of which three sessions are especially designed for children.