Ethos Literary Festival 2018 (ELF 2018)
In a recent tweet the New Asian Writing, an online Asian literary community, has urged, “The Indians are ruining literary festivals. There are more people from Bollywood than real writers. Invite writers please.” The idea of Ethos Literary Festival 2018 (ELF 2018) was conceived by Ethos Literary Journal (ELJ) and Hawakal Publishers earlier this year to celebrate the independent presses, and both known and not-so-known writers published by these presses of India.
ELJ is a bi-annual literary journal (ISSN: 2582-592X), published in both versions: online and print. The journal is headed by Kiriti Sengupta who is the chief editor.
Hawakal Publishers is an independent press based in Calcutta, and it is founded and headed by Bitan Chakraborty.
The line-ups for the English and Bangla sessions have been chosen meticulously, the speakers being authors, academicians, editors, and publishers closely associated with the literary scenes in the country. The Chief Guests Mr. Gautama Benegal, and Professor Sanjukta Dasgupta will formally launch Ethos Literary Festival (ELF) on December 22 at 10 am. Professor Dasgupta will also be chairing a session on the current trends in Indian English poetry in Calcutta alongside some city-based poets. There will be a special poetry reading session by eminent poet Sharmila Ray.
Linda Ashok, founder of RædLeaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts, will discuss the notions of space in contemporary poetics. Namrata Pathak and Preetinicha Barman will discuss the politics of the poetry of the North-East, and what makes it different from the poetry of the rest of the nation. Dr. Srividya Sivakumar and Nikita Parik will seek to analyze the female aesthetics in the poetry of contemporary women poets in India. A session, aimed at interviewers and comprising of ace academics and well-known interviewers Al Moohshina Muzzammil, Jhilam Chattaraj, Sufia Khatoon and Anindita Bose, will probe the effects of interviews on authors. Thus, with a staggering number of female speakers, ELF 2018 hopes to challenge the existing norms by giving more space to female writers and speakers.
The topics for discussion score high on relevance. Kiriti Sengupta and Linda Ashok will speak on “Impressionism to Plagiarism—poetry in the age of Internet.” Stellar poets Kushal Poddar, Ravi Shankar N, Amit Shankar Saha, and Utsab Ray will discuss whether poetry is losing its mysticism.
Apart from giving the much-deserved, long-due space and recognition to authors who have been published by the independent presses, ELF 2018 also aims to rejoice in Bangla (the Bengali language) literature just as much as English, giving the regional vernacular its due credit and respect. Eminent Bengali poets, writers and scholars like Bibhas Roy Chowdhury, Abdul Kafi, Munshi Younus, Anirban Basu, Arnab Saha, Biswadip Dey, among others will be speaking in this literary festival.
With this objective in mind, ELF (22-23 December, 2018) is going to be the first bilingual literary festival in Kolkata, and plans to have a total of eight hours of English sessions, and seven hours of Bangla sessions. One can expect animated debates on the relevant trends and emerging issues in the contemporary Indian English and Bangla literary contexts.
With ELF 2018, we also hope to bring readers and authors together and give the readers access to books by these small presses. It is about time India had a literary festival that celebrated female writers, writers from the LGBTQ communities, and the independent presses that work so hard to give voice to the writers that need to be heard.
Image Credits: Kiriti Sengupta/ ELF 2018/ Hawakal Publishers