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Two Mumbai lit fests to focus on regional literature

MUMBAI: While there has been a rapid growth in the sheer number of literary festivals around the country, most of them tend to focus on English literature.

International authors are often the star attractions at these events and there is often little or almost no spotlight for regional authors, who are left confined to school textbooks, reports Hindustan Times.

But two homegrown festivals in the city are slowly working their way towards shifting focus to regional literature.

Lit O Fest and Gateway LitFest, both in their third year, have a burgeoning line-up of authors who will engage in talks, panel discussions and book launches.

Lit O Fest is a not just a literature festival, it’s a multi-cultural event that will be held over two days. The usual panel discussions will be interspersed with dance and music performances.

“It is a showcase of Indian culture focusing on arts, music and dance. This year, the festival has adopted a village in Maharashtra called Dahigaon and started a school in it as well. We plan to adopt other villages as well and make them self-sufficient. So it’s not just literature, it’s also literacy in rural India,” says festival director Smita Parikh.

Popular authors such as Anand Neelakantan, Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrymple, Ashwin Sanghi and Shatrujeet Nath will be in attendance. Renowned Hindi authors Kedarnath Singh and Uday Prakash will be felicitated this year at the festival.

“Our focus is mostly on Hindi and Urdu writing. The idea is to give a wider platform to Hindi literature and provide it the international status that it deserves. We intend to take this festival abroad. In fact, Dr Mahesh Sharma, union tourism and culture minister, will be part of the event, and we intend to approach him. The idea is to show other countries what we have,” says Parikh.

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