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Monday, 13 February 2017

Celebration of literature at the Kolkata Literary Meet

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longing, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”~F.Scott.Fitzgerald


Being a bibliophile and an ardent literature lover, I wait for the #TataSteelKalam Kolkata Literary Meet every year to listen to my favorite authors, discover new books and attend interesting sessions. This year, the Kolkata Literary Meet was a 5 day literary festival from 25th January to 29th January at the Victoria Memorial Hall. The festival was inaugurated by acclaimed novelist, Anita Desai.

The literary sessions were hosted at the two venues of Victoria Memorial Hall – Son-et-Lumiere and Western Quadrangle. Some of the sessions of Tata Steel Kalam also took place at the Calcutta Club. Over 130 celebrated authors, filmmakers and thinkers from various countries assembled at the literary festival to share their thoughts and views.

I went to the Kolkata Literary Meet three days and attended some enriching sessions. On January 26th, I was fortunate to attend one of my favorite authors, Ruskin Bond’s session “Thrills and Spills” where Ruskin Bond discussed why hills are the perfect setting for murders and mystery. It was a great experience when Ruskin Bond read one of the stories from his latest book “Death under the deodars”. 


It was an amazing session, especially when the audience was given the chance to ask him questions. I asked him about one of his short stories, “The Night train at Deoli” and was overjoyed when he answered me. After his session, the audience was told that Ruskin Bond would be signing books at the author’s lounge. Finally, I got the opportunity to have a signed copy and meet my favorite author personally.

On January 27th, I attended the session “Acts of Faith” where Javed Akhtar, Tabish Khair, Mudar Patherya and Shazia Omar discussed about the challenges of Islamophobia, stereotypes and radicalization. It was a very enriching session and I especially loved hearing Javed Akhtar whose views were refined and powerful. 


Then, I attended the next session “Pink and the power of No” where  Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Andrea Tariang and Ritesh Shah spoke about the importance of the movie “Pink”. They were in conversation with author, Kunal Basu. It was a very engaging session where the audience asked plenty of questions to the director about the movie and the change it brought in the mindset of people.


I also went to the festival on the final day, 29th January. I attended the Children’s Literary Meet Special with Indian sports’ golden boy, Abhinav Bindra and Joybeer Dutta Gupta. The Olympic gold medalist in shooting talked about his journey, his failures and success. It was very motivating when he spoke about the importance of dreams in the life of every person. He said that hard work and persistence are the only way to success. When someone from the audience asked him about the role of his parents, he said that his parents supported and encouraged him whenever he had failures and felt like giving up.


I enjoyed the session “Make up your mind” where Nandana Sen and Nabaneeta Dev Sen read poetry from their latest book “Make up your mind”. The award winning poet, Nabaneeta Dev Sen spoke about Nandana’s translations of her poetry. It was a sheer treat to see the mother and daughter bond on poetry. Overall, I had a great time at the #TataSteelKalam Kolkata Literary Festival. At the end of the festival, my literary appetite is well satiated with new books to read.


It is wonderful to see that Tata recognizes the role of literature and is contributing so much to secure the literature culture in Kolkata. The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet brings the literary stalwarts from all corners of the world. It gives people a forum to speak their mind and interact with the authors. It encourages the lovers of literature to explore the world of ideas and words without any hesitation. The people of Kolkata look forward to the Kolkata Literary Meet every winter as it gives them the chance to rediscover or rather “readiscover” books.


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14 comments:

  1. I wish I could attend these many enriching sessions. Getting a signed copy from your favorite author is amazing. Hopefully, I will attend a literature festival one day.

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    1. Literary meets are amazing. I always enjoy attending them and I am sure you will love it too, Saru. May you get the chance the attend a lit festival soon.
      Getting the book signed by Ruskin Bond and meeting him personally was a dream come true moment :)

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  2. The Tatas in Kolkatta & Jamshedpur is doing a lot of good work. Jan end is a good time to be in Cal.
    Had been to the Victoria Memorial Hall once. What a beautiful place.

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    1. So true! Tata is doing a good work in Kolkata.
      Great to know you've been to the Victoria Memorial. It is indeed a wonderful place :)

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  3. Nice to read about Kolkata Literary Meet. Beautiful pics.
    Greetings.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your experience in detail, Purba. So nice Kolkata has this festival every year. And you get to be in the company of such learned personalities. I will try to attend if there comes any opportunity.

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  5. Looks like Lit meet in Kolkata is really becoming popular. It has been to be! After all, Bengali are one of the most literate and intellectual people around. Some 70-80 years ago, most famous book writers and authors were mostly Bengali.
    Is this different from KLF?

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  6. I'm glad to have read your account of this lit fest that I sadly couldn't attend as I'm Delhi based and have a job. Perhaps one day I will. In the meantime I can read about it on your blog.

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  7. Wow! this is a dream come true for literature lovers.

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  8. A very happening lit fest, I see. I'm sure you had a great time there. I'm so happy for you. What a great experience it must have been to listen to authors & poets and discussions.

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  9. It is clear that you had a whale of a time Purba and you have covered the proceedings for us so beautifully!

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  10. I really appreciate your professional approach. These are pieces of very useful information that will be of great use for me in future.

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  11. This is such a happening festival dear and you're so lucky that it happens in Kolkata every year. Lots to learn & imbibe :') 'Twas great to read about your experience

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