The seventh edition of Dhaka Literary Festival kicked off on Thursday at Bangla Academy amid much enthusiasm and fanfare.
Local and foreign authors, intellectuals, literary experts and enthusiasts, braving the morning traffic and cold November rain, joined the inauguration programme of the three-day festival at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Auditorium. Octogenarian Syrian poet Adonis inaugurated the event.
The popular Arab poet was accompanied by Bangla Academy director general Shamsuzzaman Khan, festival directors Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar, Kazi Anis and others.
At the inaugural programme, a graphic novel titled ‘Mujib’ on the life and works of the founding president of the country Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was launched.
‘I am excited to join you all here today at the inaugural programme of such a big literary festival’, said Adonis in French.
In his welcome speech, festival director Kazi Anis said, ‘Dhaka Lit Fest has become a new dialogic space for local and foreign authors, literary experts and enthusiasts. In the festival, we will celebrate our roots, language and culture, along with pluralism and diversity’.
The three-day festival will feature over 90 sessions on literature, history, contemporary issues, media and translation, added Anis.
Besides, the festival is also offering book and food stalls for visitors.
Following the inauguration, the first session of the festival featured a talk with Adonis, moderated by poet-professor Kaiser Haq. In the session, Adonis, born as Ali Ahmad Sayid Isbar, spoke about his journey as a poet.
The opening day also featured English and Bangla sessions on multiple topics including history, media, and performance art along with diverse aspects of literature.
Renowned writers and experts David Hare, Ben Okri, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Lawrence Osborne, Eleanor Chandler, Ashok Ferrey, David Szalay, Kelly Falconer, Selina Hossain, Masuda Bhatti, Garga Chatterjee, Salimullah Khan, Ali Riaz and many others joined the sessions.
Gemcon Awards, a literary award, were conferred on the opening day of the festival. Popular poet Mohammad Rafiq received the award in lifetime achievement category.
The festival will be open from 9am to 8pm till tomorrow.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Literature