Calling all book lovers

Students at the previous edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival. Photo: M. Subhash

Students at the previous edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival. Photo: M. Subhash

The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) was once described on social networks as ‘Sunburn festival for book lovers’. The comment wasn’t off cue. The carnival atmosphere sets in days ahead as Jaipur gears up to host writers, students and performers. Back-to-back sessions at different halls in the venue not withstanding, JLF is incomplete without cultural evenings. At JLF, one would find avid readers attending sessions or simply seated in the lawns, reading.

In comparison, the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) is a small nevertheless enthusiastic meeting place for book lovers. After initially being held at Taramati Baradari and Maulana Azad National Urdu University, the festival moved to the heart of the city in January 2014 and was held across multiple venues on Road no. 7, 8 and 10, Banjara Hills.

The next edition, HLF 2015, is scheduled to take place from January 23 to 26, 2015. The fest will move to the Hyderabad Public School campus.

As always, there will be a guest nation (this time it is Poland) and an Indian language (Urdu) in focus. Organisers are trying to drum up interest by putting together book launches, interactive sessions with authors, panel discussions, workshops and lecture-demonstrations.

One of the directors of the festival, Prof. T. Vijay Kumar says while the festival has grown in terms of audience numbers and participating delegates, he looks forward to Hyderabadis taking ownership of the festival and contributing ideas. Unlike JLF, managed by an event management company, HLF is organised by likeminded professionals who, apart from their full-time jobs, are keen to see the city have a noteworthy literary fest. Amita Desai, Ajay Gandhi and Surya Rao are the other directors of the festival.

“Each year we introduce a new element. First we introduced the concept of guest nation and then a focus on one Indian language. This time, we are trying to address issues of the disabled. There will be sessions anchored by disabled writers or those who have closely worked with the disabled. Along with it, there will be a session on endangered languages and what needs to be done to preserve languages,” he informs. Nearly 50 students helped HLF 2014 as volunteers and more are to be roped in this year from a management school.

A literary event is incomplete without related cultural events. This year, the HLF will have a session of ‘Dastangoi’ — a folk storytelling and Tom Alter bringing to stage the life and times of Sahir Ludhianvi among other events. With the Indian language in focus being Urdu, a few cultural events will coincide with this theme.

HLF is a collaborative effort of the ‘Hyderabad Literary Trust’ with the department of tourism, Government of Telangana, and backed by several academic, literary, cultural organisations and publishing houses.


Guest country: Julia Fiedorczuk, Jerzy Jarniewicz, Dariusz Soœnicki, Artur Burszta and Ola Olszewska are the expected speakers from Poland

Indian language in focus: Urdu. Apart from sessions and workshops, there will be focus on Muslim writers writing in Telugu.

Delegates from other nations: Australia, England, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland and USA.

Expected Indian personalities at the fest include Amarinder Singh, Aniruddha Bahal, Arun Shourie, Ashok Banker, Ira Trivedi, Javed Akhtar, Leela Samson, Mahesh Bhatt, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Rakshanda Jalil, Ritu Menon and Tom Alter among many others.

Cultural events

Dastangoi storytelling session.

Tom Alter presenting the life of Sahir Ludhianvi on stage.

A session will focus on Hindi translations of the works of Herta Muller, German novelist, poet, essayist and recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature.


Theatre workshop by Barbara Kölling from Germany.

Art workshop for couples by curator and artist Koeli Mukherjee Ghose.

Urdu calligraphy workshop by Khalid Saeed, professor at Maulana Azad National Urdu, and artist/calligrapher Poosapati Parameshwar Raju.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 4:49:25 pm |