The three-day Dhaka Literary Festival (DLF), previously known as Hay Festival Dhaka, opens today at Bangla Academy, bringing together famous novelists, writers, journalists and noted personalities from all over the world.
The festival is back again after a year with its seventh edition where Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said Esber, also known as Adonis, Padma Shri winning poet Nabaneeta Dev Sen and British actress Tilda Swinton will be present.
Besides, luminaries of the country including educationist Syed Manzoorul Islam, writer Imdadul Haq Milon, poet Helal Hafiz and academic Salimullah Khan will join different sessions.
Poet Adonis will cut the ribbon to inaugurate the festival where Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor is scheduled to be present.
“The Paris-based Syrian poet, who is 87 now, was delighted to accept our invitation, after he received a warm and heartfelt recommendation about us from his friend Sir VS Naipaul, who opened our festival last year,” said Ahsan Akbar, an organiser of the festival.
The festival will host over 200 talents this year from 24 different countries, and they will take part in over 90 sessions, all of which will be free with a pre-requisite registration via online and open to all from 9:00am to 7:45pm.
To highlight the life activities of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the youth, a session named “Mujib: Taking history to the next generation” will take place today at 1:45pm to 2:45pm.
A play named “Presenting Sukumar Ray” will be staged tomorrow, from 2:00pm-3:00pm, while writer Anisul Hoque will read out a book for children at another session on the second day.
Focusing on the work of the women pioneers of the country, a book launching session named “HerStories: Homegrown Supergirls” will be inaugurated by the cultural minister on the second day.
A key highlight of DLF this year is the announcement of the winner of DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2017 on the last day. Finance Minister AMA Muhith is scheduled to be present on the occasion.
Five shortlisted novels for the award are: “The Living” by Anjali Joseph, “The Story of a Brief Marriage” by Anuk Arudpragasam, “Selection Day” by Aravind Adiga, “The Association of Small Bombs” by Karan Mahajan, and “In the Jungles of the Night” by Stephen Alter.
At the festival, British literary journal “Granta” will be launched, and Gemcon Literary Awards will be given.
DLF is being produced by Jatrik, with Bangla Academy as co-host and the cultural affairs ministry as special partner.