• Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
  • Last Update : 12:49 am

From the Directors of Dhaka Lit Fest: A Note

  • Published at 11:30 pm November 4th, 2019
Directors of DLF
(From left to right): K Anis Ahmed, Sadaf Saaz and Ahsan Akbar | Photo: Courtesy

Like every year, our program will celebrate diversity and pluralism, local and foreign languages and cultures, strong women’s voices, and the fundamental necessity of free speech.

The ninth edition of Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF) will host over 200 speakers, performers and thinkers, continuing our tradition of vibrant discussions on diverse topics.

Like every year, our program will celebrate diversity and pluralism, local and foreign languages and cultures, strong women’s voices, and the fundamental necessity of free speech. Freedom of expression is one of the few issues that we have visited virtually every year, and often with multiple panels. Recent events in Bangladesh, as indeed in the region and around the world, make it ever more urgent for us to keep talking openly about why it is so vital for everyone—not just writers or journalists—to live in societies that allow free thought and free speech.

This year, as indeed on several past occasions, we also bring a special focus on Indigenous Languages. And this theme gains special salience from the fact that the UNESCO has marked 2019 as the year of Indigenous Language Protection.

This year we have the honor—and treat—of hosting guests who are returning to Dhaka: Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrymple and Tishani Doshi, among others. At the same time, it is our great pleasure to welcome renowned and rising stars who will be visiting both Dhaka and the Dhaka Lit Fest for the first time: Monica Ali, H M Naqvi, Prayaag Akbar, and others.

We are also excited to be presenting, as DLF has always strived to do, writers from places that we don't commonly encounter: Brazil, Finland, Norway, Holland and farther afield.

DLF will also once again stage the awarding of Bangladesh's highest-value literary prize, the Gemcon Literary Awards.

Bangladeshi authors will be present in strength, as in past years; celebrating the established talents and heralding rising stars. We will bring out, as we do every year, little-known treasures of our folk and indigenous cultures, to showcase the vibrancy and creativity of Bangladesh.

The highlight of Bangla literature this year will be the showcasing of one of the most popular and iconic Bangla authors of our time: Shankar!

We wish to thank all our sponsors, patrons, partners, friends, our host Bangla Academy, and especially the Ministry of Culture for their unstinting support. And we want to thank you—our amazing audience—for your energy, enthusiasm, and openness. We are able to take the festival to new heights because of you.


–K Anis Ahmed, Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar

Directors, Dhaka Lit Fest