The ninth edition of Dhaka Lit Fest began on Thursday at Bangla Academy premises.
State minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid, director general of Bangla Academy Habibullah Sirajee, Man Booker nominee Bangladesh-born British author Monica Ali, directors of Dhaka Lit Fest Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar and K Anis Ahmed inaugurated the event at Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Hall of Bangla Academy.
Local and foreign authors, intellectuals, experts and literature enthusiasts were also present at the inaugural ceremony.
Dance troupe Shadhona delighted the audience by staging a dance recital at the inaugural ceremony.
‘Dhaka Lit Fest promotes Bangladeshi litterateurs and their works in the international arena. I hope next time the programme will be organised at a larger scale,’ said KM Khalid.
DLF directors Sadaf Saaz, K Anis Ahmed and Ahsan Akbar welcomed local and foreign writers, artistes, litterateurs and enthusiasts.
‘The power of the words and ideas inspire us to arrange the Dhaka Lit Fest every year, which began its journey in 2011. We are celebrating 2019 as the year of protecting the indigenous languages. We will pay tribute to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ahead of his birth century at the event. We will screen the documentary Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale,’ said Sadaf Saaz, director of the festival.
Another director Ahsan Akbar, in his introductory remarks, said, ‘Dhaka Lit Fest is where fiction meets science, science meets poetry, poetry meets art and art meets world. Our festival is about appreciating our preferences and celebrating freedom.’
Bangladesh-born British author Monica Ali said, ‘I am grateful and honoured to be here. It is unique experience for me. I was only three and half years when I left Bangladesh in 1971,’ she said.
Following the inauguration, the audience enjoyed the opening plenary named ‘Fiction: Resistance or Refuge’ where Monica Ali, Brazilian writer Maria Filomena Bouissou Lepecki, Finnish writer Minna Lindgren, British-Brazilian novelist Yara Rodrigues Fowler and Indian author Sumana Roy took part in a discussion.
The opening day featured sessions on fiction, publication, music, poetry, creative writing and journalism where local and foreign writers, experts and artistes participated in six different venues including Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Hall, PSR Seminar Room, Lawn, V Novera Hall, Cosmic Tent and Nazrul Stage of Bangla Academy.
Australian educator, poet and multidisciplinary artiste Zohab Zee Khan mesmerised the audience reciting poems at the lawn.
The solo photography exhibition of Bangladeshi artist Fawaz Rob titled ‘Dhaka, I Love You’ at PSR Seminer Room drew a large audience.
At the Cosmic Tent Mridul Dasguspta, Ruby Rahman, Jahar Sen Majumder, Mohammad Sadik and Habibullah Sirajee attended a recitation session.
Different publishing organisations, universities, media houses, food chain shops and others have set up around 67 stalls on Bangla Academy premises.
In the afternoon, the prestigious Gemcon Awards 2019 was announced. Indian author Abhishek Sarkar won the Gemcon Tarun Kathasahitya Puraskar and local poet Rafiquzzaman Roni won the Gemcon Tarun Kobita Puraskar.
Besides, the opening day featured book launch, cultural show and others.
The three-day literary festival will feature over 100 sessions on literature, history, contemporary issues, media and translation and others.
The gates will open at 9:00am.
Dhaka Lit Fest has been organised with the support of cultural affairs ministry. Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune are title sponsors and The City Bank Ltd. is the platinum sponsor of the event, which will end on November 9.
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