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Curtain to rise on Dhaka Lit Fest 2019 Thursday

  • Published at 01:00 pm November 5th, 2019
lit fest-dlf
Organizers of the ninth edition of Dhaka Lit Fest during a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

A platform to celebrate Bangladeshi culture and literature, DLF presents the screening of ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ and an appearance by Mani Shankar Mukherjee as special highlights this year

The ninth edition of the Dhaka Lit Fest, the biggest international literary festival in Bangladesh, begins Thursday on the historic grounds of the Bangla Academy in Dhaka.

The Dhaka Lit Fest will be showcasing the rich literary heritage of Bangladesh to help young people understand the spirit of what Bangladesh really is. Anyone interested in participating can visit register.dhakalitfest.com  for online registration which is open and free for all.

Over 200 local and international literary figures, performers and intellectuals from five continents will attend the three-day fest, from November 7 to November 9, organizers said while addressing a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday.

Supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the ninth edition of the three-day-long event will have the State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid as chief guest. 

This year’s line-up will feature Bangladeshi born British award-winning author and Booker Prize finalist Monica Ali, literary icon Shankar, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jeffrey Gettleman, historian William Dalrymple, writer Shashi Tharoor, and DSC Prize-winning writer HM Naqvi.


Also read - From the Directors of Dhaka Lit Fest: A Note


Other big names set to appear include poet Tishani Doshi, award-winning author Swapnamoy Chakraborty, poet and journalist Mridul Dasgupta, Syed Manzoorul Islam, Imdadul Haq Milan, Kaiser Haq, and Shaheen Akhtar, among others.

"The 2019 Dhaka Lit Fest will feature over 90 sessions covering literature and art, and also book launches, film screenings, a photography exhibition, and children’s creative sessions, which are free and open to all,” said DLF Director Sadaf Saaz. 

"Literature is something that changes one's life and in this year's DLF youngsters will get the opportunity to enjoy the subject. There will be book shops, multiple discussion sessions, book signing program and so much more here at the Bangla Academy.

"DLF is a platform which celebrates the principles on what Bangladesh is formed such as secularism, pluralism, democracy, and freedom of thought and speech." she added.

The screening of "Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale" on Friday and an appearance by Shankar on the closing day of the fest will be the special highlights this year, said Sadaf. 

There will be simultaneous sessions in both Bangla and English reflecting on what is happening in the contemporary Bangla literature scene. 

It will also feature traditional and cultural performances including devotional songs performed by Maizbhandari Moromi Goshthi and contemporary Bangali songs by Chandana Majumdar.

Responding to a question from journalists, Sadaf said this year they will have multiple sessions on the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and they will dedicate DLF's 2020 edition celebrating the centenary of his birth.

Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan, Bangla Tribune Editor Zulfikar Russell and City Bank Managing Director and CEO Mashrur Arefin also spoke at the press conference.
DLF directors K Anis Ahmed and Ahsan Akbar also attended the press conference.

The goal of DLF is to bring the world to Bangladesh and Bangladesh to the world said Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan.

"With every passing year, this festival has become more enriched and now it is a permanent fixture on the literary calendar not just in Bangladesh, but for the whole world. 

"It is an opportunity for us to showcase the best of Bangladeshi writers and best of Bengali literature, which is very close to the heart of the Dhaka Lit Fest," he added.

Supported by the Cultural Affairs Ministry, the festival puts a focus on bringing together western and South Asian writers and intellectuals.

Founded in 2010, the festival took on its current directors and name – Dhaka Lit Fest – in 2015 to mark its commitment to promoting Dhaka and Bangladeshi culture to the world.

Online registration for DLF is open and free for all at register.dhakalitfest.com.

Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune are the title sponsors of the event, with The City Bank Limited as a platinum sponsor, and Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) as a gold sponsor.

Brac Bank, Southeast Bank Limited and Dhaka Bank are the silver sponsors while the British Council will play the role of the strategic partner, said the DLF organizers.

Organizers have urged DLF-goers not to bring any hand bags or haversacks because they would not be allowed inside the ground for security purposes.