Shabd to inter-link the various regional Literature Festivals of India

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More than 25 representatives, eminent authors, litterateurs and leading Lit-Fest organisers from different states and cities of India and Bhutan would be converging at an event called “Shabd – Where Literature Meets” at the 42nd International Kolkata Book Fair (IKBF) on 7 & 8 February 2018. Shabd is a new initiative and an added attraction to the Kolkata Literature Festival 2018 which is hosted each year within the folds of IKBF.

Shabd is a joint initiative of Kolkata Literature Festival (KLF) and Prabha Khaitan Foundation (PKF) that will create a pan-India network of Literature Festivals and create a platform for holding Literary Exchange programs (LEPs) to popularize regional literature.

Each year, more than 20 popular Literature Festivals are held across different cities of India and some of the cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Jaipur have more than one or two such popular literature festivals annually but many of these festivals do not adequately represent regional literature.

IKBF is one of the largest book fairs in the world organized by the Publishers and Book Sellers Guild with the support of West Bengal Government. This year the Fair would be on from January 31 to February 11, 2018.

Shabd: Where Literature Meets is an initiative to bring together the bright minds behind the various literary activities in India. Our vision is to explore newer possibilities and collaboration, especially in promoting and popularizing regional literature and culture, by providing a meaningful platform for holding Literary Exchanges Programs (LEPs) across India,” said Mr Sundeep Bhutoria, the Trustee of Prabha Khaitan Foundation, a Kolkata-based NGO engaged in various social and cultural activities.

Though there are over 20 major well-organized literature festivals held each year across India but they have a strong bias towards English literature and thus lacks inclusiveness. On the other hand, many regional literature festivals lack organisational capacity and finesse to popularise their events and reach out to the masses. What is needed is to balance the two and Shabd is an initiative that will try to address this,” said Mr Bhutoria who has been instrumental in creating many branded literary events across India.

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The primary objective of Shabd is to inter-link the various regional Literature Festivals of India and create a robust pan-India network of regional festivals where commoners and connoisseurs of Literature and related fields can come together to evolve new ideas, concepts and events to spread literature to smaller towns and villages in regional languages.

During the Kolkata Literature Festival (7th and 8th February), Shabd will hold round table discussions and brain storming sessions during the Kolkata Literature Festival to achieve its vision. These sessions would provide a forum to the authors, publishers, organisers and opinion makers to exchange ideas and come up with suggestions to overcome practical difficulties and improve the current literary festivals and events by sharing experiences.

Urvashi Butalia, a leading publisher who would be participating at the KLF, said, “Shabd is an interesting idea which will help us to avoid overlaps and bring in variety in the Lit Fests around the country.”

Shabd is designed as a flagship event for the literary sector that will also highlight and celebrate the work of those who are shaping the future of literature in India,” said Mita Kapur, a publisher and a leading organiser of various literature events.

Among others attending the Kolkata Literature Festival are special guests Jenny Brown from UK and author Annie Terrier. Other representatives who would be attending are Aditi Maheswari, Anjum Katyal, Annie Zaidi, Aradhna Pradhan, Binoo K John, Bachi Karkaria, E N Nandakumar, Lehar Sethi, Kanak Rekha Chauhan, Maina Bhagat, Mita Kapur, Mitul Dikshit, Niloufer Billimoria, Prashant Kashyap, Priyanshi Patel, Samkit Shah, Shinie Anthony, Srinivas Murty, Sujata Sabnis, Shampa Kamath and Urvashi Butalia.

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