THE Gateway LitFest, an annual platform that celebrates regional language literature, is holding its third edition this weekend. The two-day festival, whose theme this year is “The Contemporary Face of Indian Literature”, will focus on Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi, and Malayalam. With a list of 40 authors and artists, including Bratya Basu (Bengali), Chandana Dutt (Mythili), Damodar Mauzo (Konkani) and Desraj Kali (Punjabi), the festival aims to highlight the writings, experiments and translation work in regional languages.
“Writing in region languages gets overshadowed by what people generally refer to as ‘Indian literature’, which is writing in English by an Indian author,” says festival organiser Mohan Kakkanadan, adding, “We are creating a platform to encourage the acceptance of regional writing as a part of mainstream literature.” Panel discussions during the festival will evaluate the latest trends from the regional literary streams. The event will be held at the National Centre for Performing Arts.
One of the main attractions of the festival will be poet Haldhar Nag, who was honoured with the Padma Shri last year. Nag, who is from western Odisha and writes in the Kosali dialect, created a new genre called “HaldharDhara”. His writing generally addresses issues such as oppression, nature and religion. He will be awarded the first-ever Gateway LitFest Lifetime Achievement Award.
But the reach of regional narratives is not limited to literature. Prominent Marathi filmmaker Neena Kulkarni, Tamil filmmaker Vetrimaaran, Malayalam filmmakers Anjali Menon and Adoor Gopalakrishnan will take part in the discussion on “Indian Cinema is Not Bollywood”. A major highlight of the festival is a panel discussion for writers from script-free languages such as Bhojpuri, Ahirani, Konkani, Khasi, and Santhali, on Sunday.