The opening day of Dhaka Lit Fest, now in its sixth year, drew a motley collection of people including writers, teachers, students and cultural and development activists attracted by the events that are on offer.
The three-day event, the biggest of its kind in Bangladesh, kicked off on the hallowed grounds of Bangla Academy on Thursday, featuring a host of events including book launches, plenary sessions, readings, performances as well as literary hangouts.
Unlike last year, which was marked by heightened security tension resulting in poor visitor attendance, a large number of people turned up at the venue on the opening day.
Events are being held at six stages, both indoor and outdoor, while there are also arrangements for food and beverage sold at the makeshift stalls.
There are also several book stores.
Russel Rush, a class-nine student from the Turkish Hope School, was present on the opening day. ‘Enjoyed every moment of it,’ he said. ‘I watched a film called Bhalobasar Sohor and bought several books also.’
‘This is a very well-organised event. I was excited to know that the Nobel Prize winning author VS Naipaul has attended this year’s festival and I can’t wait to attend his session,’ said Arshad-Ul-Nabi, an amateur writer and a government employee.
Sir VS Naipaul inaugurated the festival in the morning, with the finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith and cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor in attendance.
One of the highlights of the first day was a discussion on ‘World Fiction: Hidden Realities,’ attended by writers Daniel Hahn, Nicholas Lezard and Anjum Hasan.
Writers Anthony McGowan, Leonard Christina Skov, Richard Beard and Kelly Falconer attended another session on the art of suspense in storytelling.
There was also a session on translations of Mir Mosharraf Hossain’s poetic novel Bishad Sindhu attended by academics-writers Fakhrul Alam and Manzoorul Islam along with MK Aaref.
Dhaka Lit Fest has been organised by Jatrik with Bangla Academy as the co-host, with an objective to introduce Bangladeshi literature and culture to the world and vice versa.
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