The 8.5 million views from the highly successful virtual Litfest editions in 2021 raised online audiences’ and expectations’ bar. This year’s Litfest will feature yet another innovation: a hybrid festival, with the online sessions taking place on November 9 & 10. This will help to accommodate both the demand online and in-person.
The usual all-star lineup of writers from around the world and the country will be present, including well-known figures like Geetanjali Shree, Tony Fadell, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Shashi Tharoor, Paul Morland, Jerry Pinto, Naushad Forbes, Rohini Nilekani, Ashwin Sanghi, Sanjaya Baru, Mallika Sarabhai, Ian Cardozo, Mamang Dai, Onir, Rinki Bhattach Damon Galgut, George Monbiot, Pankaj Mishra, Colm Toibn, Susan Liautaud, and John Pilger are just a few of the online participants.
The prestigious Tata Literature Live! Literary Awards, the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award, the selection of a Poet Laureate, the animated Great Debate, poetry recitations and scintillating performances, the well-liked workshops, and the Book Swap will all continue to be Festival highlights. As the Litfest returns to its actual location, Mumbai will play a prominent role with a number of subjects relating to the city, including a new novel, coastal marine life, history, and communities.
Two new prizes: The Binod Kanoria Awards for Children’s Literature and The Rotary Writing For Peace Award, will also be presented under the aegis of the Festival. The Sultan Padamsee Playwriting Awards will return.
In line with its spirit of literary expansion the Litfest has started sessions on languages other than English. Last year’s language was Marathi and the sessions were enthusiastically received. This year there will be an introduction to Gujarati prose and poetry.
There will also be two international collaborative sessions this year, with France and UK. Noir in Mumbai will be premiered in India as part of the Litfest. Three rising stars of French crime fiction Johana Gustawsson aka the Queen of French Noir, Sophie Hnaff and her Awkward Squad and Jerome Loubry will present their work for the first time to an Indian audience. This will culminate in a unique event, the Great Investigation, inspired by its sister activity in France and imagined by Indian author Kalpana Swaminathan, in which participants will have five hours to resolve the mystery of the theft of the Blue Sapphire! The collaboration with the UK will present new work being performed exploring the relationship between language and queerness, as the outcome of a project which will bring together six diverse and multicultural poets from India and the UK through residencies in both countries.
Literature from Tata Live! The Festival of Ideas has always been a significant component of the Mumbai Litfest. Books and authors covering topics like innovation, mentoring, philanthropy, journalism, food, gender issues, art, and the environment will be available this year as well.
Looking forward to the 2022 Litfest, Director of the Festival, Amy Fernandes said, “We are excited to be launching a re-invention of the Litfest in a hybrid model. This will enable us to include authors who are still unable to travel, as well as our global virtual audiences who so enjoyed the Litfest during the pandemic. At the same time we are also delighted to be able to welcome back in person, the authors and audiences who have missed the distinctive Litfest activities, buzz and vibe at our physical venues. I would like to express our sincere thanks to our venue partner NCPA, and our presenting sponsor Tata, for their unstinting support since inception, and to SPICE and Title Waves book store for our Bandra arm.
“We greatly appreciate the invaluable support of Godrej Industries Ltd, Kotak, Mariwalla Initiatives and Hafele. This committed backing has enabled us to curate memorable Litfests, no matter what the differing circumstances, bringing us to our 13th edition this year.”
Speaking about the festival this year, Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons said, “We at the Tata Group are proud to be associated with Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest which has become a beautiful melting pot for literary enthusiasts across India. The festival has grown from strength to strength, which is tribute to the pioneering work done by Anil Dharker and Shashi Baliga.
“As a fitting tribute to these two stalwarts of Tata Literature Live!, the festival returns this year in a wonderful hybrid format – bringing back the in-person experience, alongside a digital format that reaches a much larger online community. This is an invaluable opportunity for lovers of literature to meet their favourite authors up close and personal, and also listen to them from the comfort of their own locations.”
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