The much-awaited Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF) will begin on November 17. This year the leading Bangladeshi writers and poets will be joined by 60 international creatives including a Noble Laureate, representing over 18 countries. Here is a list of some of the speakers participating in the sixth edition of the Dhaka Lit Fest.
Anjum Hasan, author of the novels The Cosmopolitans, Neti, Neti and Lunatic in my Head, and the short story collection Difficult Pleasures. She has also published a book of poems called Street on the Hill. Her books have been nominated for various awards including the Man Asian Literary Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, the Hindu Best Fiction Award and the Crossword Fiction Award. Her short stories, essays and poems are widely published, including most recently in Granta and Griffith Review. Anjum is books editor at The Caravan, India’s leading magazine of long-form reporting and essays.
Firdous Azim, a Professor of English and Humanities at BRAC University, and a member of Naripokkho, a woman’s group in Bangladesh. She combines both literature and feminist concerns in her writings. Her books include The Colonial Rise of the Novel (Routledge, 1993), and she has co-edited Infinite Variety: Essays on Society and Literature (University Press Limited, 1998). She is part of the Feminist Review and Inter-Asia Cultural Studies editorial board, and has edited special issues for both journals.
Hilary Standing, a doctorate in social anthropology and has spent much of her professional life working in international development. She lived and worked in India and Bangladesh for a long time and has also researched and consulted in many other countries. She is an emeritus professor and emeritus fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Her first novel, The Inheritance Powder was written over a decade ago. In 2010, she did a MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London, graduating with a distinction. The Inheritance Powder was shortlisted for the Yeovil Literary Prize in 2014. She is currently working on two other writing projects closer to home, focused on the worlds of people with learning disabilities.
Bonna Mirza, is a Bangladeshi actor. She became involved in theater as a cultural activist before joining the renowned group Desh Natok, and has never left theater since. Her major works include Dorpone Sharatshashi, Birsha Kabyo, Nityapuran, Nora etc. She was a theater student at Dhaka University, where she completed her Masters and started acting in TV dramas in 1998. Her major TV works include Ronger Manush, Ayeshamangal, Gohiney, Rod Mekho Surjomukhi and Koop. She has acted in a few films including Rabeya, Pita and Headmaster. Besides acting, she works as an honorary faculty of Prachyanat Drama School. Currently she is serving as the head of marketing at Bangla Tribune.
VS Naipaul, born in 1932 in Trinidad. He got a scholarship in 1950 and went to England. After four years at University College, Oxford, he began to write, and since then has followed no other profession. He was knighted in 1989, was awarded the David Cohen British Literature Prize in 1993, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001. He holds honorary doctorates from Cambridge University and Columbia University in New York, and honorary degrees from the universities of Cambridge, London, and Oxford. He lives in Wiltshire, England.
Richard Beard’s six novels include Lazarus is Dead, Dry Bones and Damascus, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. In UK he has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award and long-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. His latest novel Acts of the Assassins was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2015. He is also the author of four books of narrative non-fiction, and his memoir The Day That Went Missing will be published in early 2017. For six years Richard Beard was director of The National Academy of Writing in London, and he is a visiting professor (2016/17) at the University of Tokyo.
Simon Broughton is a London-based freelance journalist and filmmaker. He is editor-in-chief of Songlines, the world music magazine, and was co-editor of the Rough Guide to World Music (Penguin). He is also the chief world music critic for the London Evening Standard. Having taken a degree in Russian, Simon joined the BBC for 15 years, working first in radio and then in television. As he was freelancing he’s continued making radio programmes and TV documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4 and others. These include two films for All the Russias (2001); Breaking the Silence: Music in Afghanistan (2002), on the return of music to Afghanistan after the Taliban; and Sufi Soul: The Mystic Music of Islam (2005). Over the last two years, he has made five films on contemporary artists for the Bloomberg series Brilliant Ideas. In April 2015 he gave a TEDx talk in Iran called Can Music Save the World?
Sadaf Saaz is a poet, writer, entrepreneur and women’s rights activist. She co-founded Dhaka Literary Festival (formerly Hay Festival Dhaka) in 2011, and has been a driving force behind the festival since its inception. Sadaf is based in Dhaka, and runs several businesses, including Jatrik, an arts management and travel company, which has managed Dhaka Lit Fest since 2011, and continues to produce the festival. She is author of a collection of poetry, Sari Reams, published by UPL.
For the complete list of speakers at this year’s DLF, visit dhakalitfest.com