A Grand Commencement – The 15th Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival unveils at Allen Park, Kolkata

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AKLF Day 1_Inauguration Pic_Brahma Sangeet Performance by Students of Apeejay School.
AKLF Day 1_Inauguration Pic_Brahma Sangeet Performance by Students of Apeejay School.
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A Grand Commencement – The 15th Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival unveils at Allen Park, Kolkata

·       The 15th AKLF 2024 was inaugurated with a beautiful presentation of Brahma Sangeet by the students of Apeejay School.

·       AKLF Festival Director Anjum Katyal, Oxford Bookstore’s CEO Swagat Sengupta, Programming Head, Neeta Sreedharan, authors, Baisakhi Saha, Ramanjit KaurSwapna Liddle, Alka Pande, Anita Agnihotri, Srijato, Maharghya Chakraborty, Sulagna Mukhopadhyay, Husna Tara Prakash were seen in attendance.

·       Day 1 witnessed 20 sessions at multiple venues like Allen Park, Poetry Café at Alliance Française du Bengale, and Oxford Junior Literature Festival at Oxford Bookstore, Park Street.

·       Speakers of the day included Urvashi Butalia, Lennie Goodings, Jael Silliman, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Swastika Mukherjee, Riddhi Sen, Meghna Pant, Rajat Chaudhuri, Pandit Kumar Bose, Bickram Ghosh, Rohen Bose, Ramanjit KaurSwapna Liddle, Alka Pande, Tanveer Ajsi, Simon RoweAnuja Chauhan, Patrick Lyons, Daniel Bosley, Kunal Basu, Santa Khurai, Niladri Chatterjee. The Poetry Café and IPPL Poet’s showcase had guests including Mahek GoyalSanjukta Dasgupta, Gopal Lahiri, Nishi Pulugurtha, Amit Shankar Saha, Amita Ray, Sekhar Banerjee and Aneek Chatterjee.

·       The Oxford Junior Literary Festival at the Oxford Bookstore presented Anita AgnihotriMadhurima Vidyarthi, and Sohini Roychowdhury.

·       Discussions on the first day at Allen Park covered a wide range of subjects, starting from the impact of translation, adaptation of books into stage and cinema, developments in the murder mystery genre, a life through music, and more.

·       Meghna Pant’s new book The Man Who Lost India’ was launched on day 1 by renowned actor Swastika Mukherjee.

·       Unleashing the power of feminist publishing and celebrating 40 years of feminist publishing in India, AKLF presented a session titled ‘In Her Own Voice‘.

Kolkata, February 9, 2024:

On the grounds of Allen Park, Park Street, Kolkata, the fifteenth edition of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) commenced with a beautiful presentation of Brahma Sangeet by the students of Apeejay School. Festival Director Anjum Katyal, Oxford Bookstore’s CEO Swagat Sengupta, Programming Head, Neeta Sreedharan, Authors,  Baisakhi Saha, Ramanjit KaurSwapna Liddle, Alka Pande, Anita Agnihotri, Srijato, Maharghya Chakraborty, Sulagna Mukhopadhyay, Husna Tara Prakash besides others attended the inauguration.

The valued partners for the three-day long literary festival include Kenilworth Hotel, Kolkata,  the hospitality partner; Cha Bar, the refreshment partner; 93.5 Red FM the radio partner; ilEAD and Apeejay School, the institutional partners. Australian High Commission, Alliance Française du Bengale, and Tollygunge Club were among some of the valued partners of the 15th Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival. Festival partners also include renowned publishing houses such as Speaking Tiger, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Niyogi Books, Rupa Publications, Westland Books, Juggernaut, Simon and Schuster, Bloomsbury, Om Books, Zubaan Books.

The 15th Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival unveils at Allen Park, Kolkata.
The 15th Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival unveils at Allen Park, Kolkata.

On the occasion of 15 years of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Priti Paul, Director of Apeejay Surrendra Group, said, “The 15th edition of AKLF is a wonderful celebration of words and ideas in the colourful setting of Allen Park, right on Park Street which has been home to the heritage Oxford Bookstore for over 100 years. The festival fittingly began with a wonderful Brahma Sangeet rendered by a choir of students from Apeejay School, setting the mood for the discussions. It was interesting to see the broad range of themes and subjects covered over the day, from learning to listen to one’s inner voice to Mughal aesthetics, from murder mysteries to gender and identity, from translation, always very important to us, to celebrating 40 years of feminist publishing in India. The literary novel, popular fiction, and music memoirs all got their due, reflecting the infinite variety of a good bookstore. We look forward to two more days packed with stimulating discussions with our leading thinkers and writers.”

Speaking at the occassion, Anjum Katyal, Director, AKLF, said, “The 15th edition of AKLF got off to a great start today, in the colourful ambience of Allen Park, Park Street. We started and ended with music, with an opening choir of children performing a Brahma Sangeet, closing the first day with classical maestros Pt Kumar Bose and Bickram Ghosh talking about the life of a musician. Along the way, we revisited Mughal Delhi with Swapna Liddle and Alka Pande, heard Anuja Chauhan, Simon Rowe, and Patrick Lyons discuss the ever-popular detective novel, learned about new translations of the Kashmiri writer HariKrishna Kaul and listened to Upamanyu Chatterjee discuss his brand new novel. Gender and feminist publishing were other interesting subjects focused on today, by Santa Khurai, Niladri Chatterjee, and Anindya Hajra on one hand, and  Urvashi Butalia, pioneer of feminist publishing, on the other. Our children’s festival, OJLF at Oxford Bookstore, and Poetry Café at Alliance Francaise drew large numbers and saw keen  participation.”

The inaugural session was followed by the session named “Abracadabra and the Magic of Life”, where acclaimed actor Ramanjit Kaur, the founder, and Director of The Creative Arts, a prestigious Arts Academy in Kolkata, was in conversation with Baishakhi Saha. The following session, ‘In Other Words’, had Anita Agnihotri, translator Maharghya Chakravorty and Bengali poet Srijato sharing their thoughts on the experience of being rendered in translation.

Swapna Liddle and Alka Pande discussed what lives on from the times of Mughal legacy, art, and architecture in the session, ‘The Mughals and Us’ with Husna-Tara Prakash. Following this, Tanveer Ajsi in conversation with Paromita Chakravarti shared his views on the work done by translators for Kashmiri writer Harikrishna Kaul’s short stories, namely “For Now‘ and “It is Night’. This session was called “From Kashmir with Love’.

Mami Suzuki, famed author, Simon RoweAnuja Chauhan of The Fast and Dead fame, and Patrick Lyons, author of Masala and Murder, discussed the latest developments in murder mysteries in literature. They were in conversation with Oindrilla Dutt, and the session was titled, ‘Whodunnit?’ This was followed by ‘Daring to be Different’a session which raised questions of identity and alternate sexualities as read through the books of Santa Khurai’s Yellow Sparrow and Niladri Chatterjee’s translation of Entering the Maze.

The ‘Beyond the Instagrammable Moment: The Dark Half’ session saw author Daniel Bosley shed light on the dark side of luxury tourism in Maldives alongside Kunal Basu, who delved into the conditions of the people from the margins. Both of them were in conversation with Sam Miller. Celebrating the 40th year of feminist publishing in India, ‘In Her Own Voice’ was a discussion and exploration into the challenges faced while pioneering women’s publishing in India. This session included Urvashi Butalia, Lennie Goodings, and Jael Silliman conversing with women’s studies scholar Kavita Punjabi.

Lorenzo’s Quest celebrated the launch of Upamanyu Chatterjee’s new novel titled ‘Lorenzo Searches for the Meaning of Life.‘ The author discussed his intentions and inspirations behind his new book with Festival Director, Anjum Katyal. Bengali film and theatre actors Swastika Mukherjee and Riddhi Sen shared their take and experiences on how books take on audio and stage avatars. The session titled ‘Off the Page’ was moderated by Bengali actor and director Sudeshna Roy.

The ‘Today’s Dystopias’ session witnessed a discussion on two new novels – Meghna Pant’s ‘The Man Who Lost India’ and Rajat Chaudhuri’s ‘Spellcasters‘, based on similar themes of strangeness in a fictional dystopian world. ‘The Man Who Lost India’ was officially launched at the Festival by actor Swastika Mukherjee.  Day 1 of AKLF concluded with ‘Tablawallah Unplugged’, where Pandit Kumar Bose discussed a life lived in music with percussion maestro Bickram Ghosh and Rohen Bose, the narrator of Tablawallah.

The Oxford Junior Literary Festival at Oxford Bookstore started with a reading session with author, Anita Agnihotri and Madhurima Vidyarthi. The event aimed to engage middle school students between classes 6-8 with the celebrated children’s authors. This was followed by a workshop for students between classes 2-5 led by renowned Bharatnatyam dancer Sohini Roychowdhury.

Poetry Café, a trademark segment of AKLF, began with Open Mic, calling all poetry enthusiasts to read their work. Poets in other sessions included Mahek Goyal. The IPPL poet’s showcase included readings from the likes of Sanjukta Dasgupta, Gopal Lahiri, Nishi Pulugurtha, Amit Shankar Saha, Amita Ray, Sekhar Banerjee and Aneek Chatterjee.

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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