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Issues concerning NE literature in focus at 2nd LIC Gateway LitFest

Published on 23 Jan. 2016 12:10 AM IST
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Following its thumping success in the inaugural year, the second edition of the LIC Gateway LitFest, India’s only platform to celebrate writings in Indian languages at the national level, will be held at NCPA, Mumbai on February 20 and 21, with a wider canvas of 70 writers representing 15 languages. 
This year’s event will line up a number of top writers including several Jnanpith laureates, Sahitya Academy awardees and budding writers from across India to discuss and debate the contemporary regional literature landscape.  
Contemporary literature from the North-Eastern part of India has largely been marginalized with writers from the culturally rich region largely remaining outside the ambit of the nation’s collective cultural psyche. 
The 2nd edition of Gateway Litfest aims to provide a credible platform for the writings and writers from the region by initiating discussions on the issues plaguing the literary landscape from the North-East, what measures can be devised to assimilate these writings in the national mainstream. The session would be chaired by noted Bengali writer Subodh Sarkar and addressed by noted Bengali writer Kaushiki Dasgupta, Assamese poet Pranay Phukan, Khasi-English bilingual writer Desmond Kharmawphlang, Manipuri poet Ibomcha Singh and Bengali poet Binayak Bandyopadhyaya.
Jnanpith awardees such as Marathi writer BhalchandraNemade, Hindi poet Kedarnath Singh, Odia writers Pratibha Ray and Sitakant Mahapatra will be sharing the same dais.
“We received an overwhelming response to the first edition of this unique initiative from the literary fraternity. The need to create a powerful platform for regional literature and writers in a largely English language-dominated milieu found wide resonance with the readers and writers alike. We intend to make this a people’s movement with the inclusion of new programme formats and wider participation of regional literature lovers,” said Festival Director Mohan Kakkanadan.
The event, jointly held by Mumbai-based Malayalam publication Kaakka and communication agency Passion4communication (P4C), has been conceived to put the regional writings on the same pedestal along with Indian writings in English that is hogging the limelight mostly across the literary events.
“The effort is to bring together the writers from different Indian languages at the national level to promote co-existence and co-growth which is vital for preserving our national labyrinth of diversity in linguistics,” said festival Executive Director M Sabarinath.
The two-day festival will have several expert-helmed sessions wherein there will be panel discussions and debates on present-day themes like the impact of real life and fiction in films, the English language venturing into the Indian mythological realm, the impact of social media like Facebook and Whatsapp on Indian poets and poetry, the present state of regional women writers and their non-assimilation in the mainstream literary space, the changes and trends in Marathi literature from the 60s to the 90s, issues faced by contemporary Malayalam literature and the crucial issue of translation losing its flavor and used as a mere prop to proliferate literary pieces. 

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