Bengalis enjoy the reputation of a rich literary heritage and one that was once very outward looking. Dhaka Lit Fest aims to celebrate the spirit of a cosmopolitan modernism by bringing talents from home and abroad together for three scintillating days every November.
DLF began with a pilot event in 2011 under the aegis of the world famous Hay-on-Wye festival. With three rapid iterations - 2012, 2013 and 2014, the festival established Dhaka’s place in the global literary circuit. In 2015, the festival celebrated its fifth anniversary and with Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar and K Anis Ahmed as directors of the festival, it assumed a new name - Dhaka Lit Fest - to mark its commitment to promoting Dhaka and Bangladeshi culture to the world.
The festival is focused primarily on literature but embraces culture and ideas more broadly with panels every year on a wide array of topics. Alongside, DLF also conducts sessions for the youth of our nation. Keeping up with past festivals, this year, these are 10 sessions for children and young adults. Here’s a quick walkthrough of the conclaves for the young ones:
Fire Escape- The kids' conclave will start off with a creative writing session at 4:15pm. The session will be conducted by Mitali Bose Perkins, author of several books. The prime focus will be on the kids in between the age range of 12-18 years.
Superdogs- Moving on to the next day, an interactive session will be conducted by Himanjali Sankar at 10am.
Poshu Pakhider Tin Golpo- This fun storytelling session will be conducted alongside Superdogs. Fathema Tuj Zohra will be taking the young children on a short adventure by reciting stories.
The Last Tree- Coming up on the next hour will be an amazing theatrical by Bidyabhuban. It will begin at 11:15am at Nazrul Moncho.
Dirty Laundry- This session will begin at 12:30pm with Katerina Don, Amit Ashraf, Kazi Istela Imam, Farah Khandaker with Nissim Jan Sajid on the panel. It will be a discussion on raising awareness focusing on young adults.
Out of the Rhyme Closet- This will be another interactive session for children. It will go on alongside of Dirty Laundry and will be conducted by Sarina Hossain and Saiq'a Chowdhury with Rifat Islam Esha.
Manush- An hour-long amusement show that will begin at 2pm, Manushis a children’s puppet show by Rashid Haroon. The author of Bangladesh er Oitijhyobahi Putulnatya, Dr Rashid Haroon, Professor, Jahangirnagar University Drama and Dramatics Department, is also a researcher of Bangladeshi puppetry, an art form that has been on the decline for several decades now.
Classic Bengali Tales- On the last day, DLF will start off with a storytelling session for children at 11:15 am. The session will be conducted by Biva Siddiki, an author and a teacher who draws her inspiration from her students and their talents for wildness and imagination.
The King with Dirty Feet- Right after Classic Bengali Tales, Sally Pomme Clayton will have a special performance ready for the kids at 12:30pm. She brings fairy tales, forgotten myths, and epics to new life. The King with Dirty feet inspired by a folktale from Bengal and a poem by Tagore.
Ampersand- A new form of poetry- spoken word is what they specialize in. This session is for young adults and will be the last event for the youth this year. There will be a few poems that will be recited on stage with a new twist of words and spices of flavours.
For all the parents out there, do bring your kids to this year’s event and enjoy the series of fun sessions and activities!