EVENT The first Hyderabad Literary Festival and the 25th Hyderabad Book Fair hold out promise for some cerebral stuff. Serish Nanisetti flips through the calendar

This winter, Hyderabadis will get a glint of literary sunshine as the city gets its own Literary Festival and the annual book fair becomes a bigger splashier affair with more participants. In the next two days, on December 10, the drapes go up on the Hyderabad Literary Festival where the line up appears like an eclectic mix of events literary as well as cultural with Hyderabad's heritage as the backdrop. This will be followed by the Hyderabad Book Fair that runs between December 16 and 26 at the People's Plaza on Necklace Road.

“Hyderabad has all sorts or cultural events but it doesn't have anything literary so we thought why not have a literary festival? Initially it might me be small but later it can grow up to be a regular item in the calendar of events,” says G.S.P. Rao of Muse India who is the brain behind the festival along with T. Vijay Kumar of OUCIP (Osmania University Centre for International Programmes).

“The moment we sounded out people we got a very enthusiastic response with nearly 100 participants confirming,” said Rao.

The list of participants reads like a who's who not just in the English literary field but in the regional languages too. Among them are: Hoshang Merchant, Keki Daruwalla, K. Satchidanandan, Volga, Maha Jabeen, Jameela Nishat beside a host of others.

“It is going to be a multi-language event. That opens with a panel discussion on ‘Celebrating creativity' which is the theme of the festival and it moves on to parallel literary events that would be rounded up by a play with Hyderabad as the backdrop called Raat Phoolon Ki at the Qutb Shahi tombs,” said Rao.

Literary festivals don't exist by themselves, they are the driving force for book trade. As the LitFest chimes down on December 12, the Hyderabad Book Fair will begin on December 16.

“We are expecting more than 250 stalls this year as against the 240 stalls last year. And we are expecting more footfalls this year,” said Srinivasa Rao of the fair organising committee. “Book fairs are not just good for the buyers who get books on discount, but they are opportunities for networking and for the trade. Though most of the people who throng the fair do shelf-shopping the book trade people get to gauge the readers' mood and buying preferences. This is a measure that decides which books get to the market,” said Rao.

While the book fair and the literary festival will be passing affairs, bibliophiles can cheer the opening of two swank bookstores in the city.

While the one at Reliance in Begumpet is everything books and beyond, the one inside the Park Hotel on Raj Bhavan Road is sheer luxury with its awesome collection of coffee table books.

And whoever thought books are going to be history?