The eighth edition of Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) is scheduled to be held in city from January 26-28, 2018. A brochure to this effect was released by the Tourism Secretary Venkatesham here in Secretariat today. The 3-day festival will be held in the historic premises of the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet this year. More than 100, of whom 25-30% are from outside India, are expected to participate in the Festival and the anticipated turnout of the audience is between 12000 and 15000.
Started in 2010, the festival has come to represent the cultural and artistic ethos of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, as well as the vibrant culture of modern Cyberabad. The main objective of the festival is to promote the brand image of Hyderabad as a city of creative energies. The festival brings some of the finest creative minds in India and abroad to the city of Hyderabad every year. It not only gathers the local, the national, and the global writers on the same platform but also acts as a bridge between writers and readers, artistes and audiences on the one hand and aspiring writers and publishers on the other.
HLF is a multidisciplinary and multilingual event and nearly 150 speakers—writers, artistes, scholars, film-makers, journalists, publishers—representing a wide range of creative fields participate in each edition of the Festival.
National Geographic Traveler mentioned HLF as a ‘must attend’ event in January; India Today selected it as their ‘Pick of the Month’; Outlook Traveller featured it in its ‘Hot List’ of literary festivals; Khaleej Times highlighted the Festival’s focus on ‘linguistic imperialism’. Besides, leading newspapers in English, Telugu, Urdu, and Hindi give extensive coverage to each edition of the festival.
HLF is organized by the ‘Hyderabad Literary Trust’ in association with the Government of Telangana, and with the support of several academic institutions, literary and cultural organizations, and publishing houses. The three-day festival comprises varied programmes: conversations with authors, readings, panel discussions, workshops, screenings, exhibitions, book launches, cultural programmes, art-on-street, events for college students and school children—thus making it a ‘Festival for All’.
HLF has several distinguishing features. Each year, HLF invites a foreign country to showcase its literature, art and culture. Germany, France, Ireland, Poland, and Singapore have been the ‘Guest Nations’ at HLF so far. HLF 2018 will have ‘Spain in Focus’ and a number of leading writers, artistes, and cultural managers from Spain are expected to participate. Each edition of HLF also pays special attention to one Indian language and Telugu, Hindi, Urdu, and Marathi have so far been the ‘Indian Languages in Focus’. Kannada is the language in focus at HLF 2018.
Chandrashekhara Kambara (Jnanpith awardee), Girish Kasaravalli (pioneering film director), Arundhati Nag (stalwart of Indian theatre and founder of ‘Ranga Shankara’), Prathibha Nandakumar (prominent feminist poet, journalist, and filmmaker), Pushpamala N (avant-garde artist), Du Saraswati (Dalit artist-activist), Vanamala Viswanatha (award-winning bilingual translator) are among the key Kannada personalities participating in the festival. Other important speakers at HLF 2018 include Aruna Roy, Perumal Murugan, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sanjna Kapoor, Seema Mustafa, Madabhushi Sridhar …
HLF has been described as a “festival with a heart”. Over the years, the Festival has strived to make it more inclusive and egalitarian. To this effect, HLF has encouraged the participation of differently-abled authors and organized special sessions with them. It has also paid special attention to endangered and minority languages, Dalit literature, literature of sexual minorities, alternative canons, little traditions and so on.
HLF does not charge any entry or registration fee, and all events—literary sessions, cultural programmes, workshops, exhibitions—are free and open to all. In addition, wherever possible, HLF makes positive discrimination in favour of artisans, craftspersons, handloom weavers, and entrepreneurs from less advantaged backgrounds and gives them an opportunity to showcase their talent. HLF also provides an excellent opportunity for a large number of young people to involve themselves as volunteers and gain hands-on experience of organizing an international event of such a magnitude.