According to a recent report by IANS, there are 90 literary festivals in India and these fests have given a new fillip to reading habits. But, most of the fests give prominence to English writers. So, the question is whether the festivals are doing something to revive reading in our regional languages.
Here are some views expressed by prominent people in the report:
“Literary fests are able to serve as a mirror for reflecting the culture and literature of a particular part of the country. With the growing population numbers, we are at the threshold of creating new readerships and lit fests are a sound way of putting the reader in touch with the authors, increasing exposure and interaction.” — Mita Kapur, writer and CEO of Siyahi which has crafted numerous literary festivals.
“In countries abroad, to listen to a Nobel laureate speak is expensive. But in India, we are able to bring Booker winners, Pulitzer prize recipients and Nobel prize winners on one stage to our festivals, entirely for free. It is a development for the country to have people and children listening to such inspiring people instead of watching movies or spending time on the internet.”– William Dalrymple, director of Jaipur Literary Festival.
“Literary festivals give readers an opportunity to hear and see writers speak about their work and discover new voices…at the end of the day, books are not autonomous artefacts cut off from their contexts; they are moments in the lives of authors, they are the voices of authors.”—author Mani Rao.