The seventh edition of Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF) will host over 200 speakers, performers and thinkers, representing 24 countries, making it our largest and the most diverse gathering so far. Together we can take a moment to enjoy our achievement: Dhaka and indeed Bangladesh is firmly placed on the international literary calendar.
Like every year, our programme will celebrate diversity and pluralism, other languages and cultures, whilst highlighting our own, which is our way of saying “no to walls,” walls of all kinds. We have more in common with the rest of the world than we sometimes care to remember. Let the three days of DLF be a reminder for the importance of unity, bring a glimmer of hope in an age of pessimism, and inspire minds – young and experienced – to strive for all the things worth fighting for: Freedom of expression, freedom of thought and the importance of words.
This year we are honoured to be able to host not one but two literary prizes. We hope you will join us for the announcement of the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature as well as the Gemcon Literary Awards, the highest monetary value literary prize in Bangladesh, at our festival. Other highlights include panels discussing timely issues, one-on-one interviews, readings and recitations, film screenings, and book launches. The festival will feature winners of the Man Booker, Goethe, Wolfson, Orange, Olivier, the Oscar and numerous other international awards. In such a rare gathering of luminaries, which is special anywhere in the world, we take pride in highlighting our own literary and artistic talents.
We are excited to launch Granta in Bangladesh, a literary journal that needs no introduction, and we hope this foundation will be the platform for more Bangladeshi writers – writing in Bangla and English – to be published in their pages and read by millions around the world. It is in this spirit that we have been working throughout the year to promote translations of Bangla writing. We wish to thank all our sponsors, patrons, partners, supporters, our hosts Bangla Academy, and a special mention goes to the Ministry of Culture.
We have recently opened our borders to over half a million Rohingyas purely on humanitarian grounds. In doing so, in spite of being a developing nation, we outclassed many rich nations, and our Prime Minister – aside from earning plaudits – won hearts from all around the world. We hope an event like DLF will help draw the world’s attention away from tired stereotypes to the evolving nature of our ever resilient, ever advancing country. We could go on, but we will conclude our note here by thanking you – our audience – for your energy, enthusiasm, and especially the love, which you show through your participation every year. We are able to take the festival to such heights because of you.
-- Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar, K Anis Ahmed
Directors, Dhaka Lit Fest