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Hay literature festival returns to Kerala for second time

books Updated: Oct 31, 2011 06:58 IST

Press Trust of India
Highlight Story

One of the biggest literary events in the world, the Hay Festival makes its way again into India this November.

The Hay Festival, which began 23 years ago in Wye, a small town of Wales in UK has over the years expanded into countries like Spain, Colombia and Kenya, is now into its second edition in India with a three day event starting November 17 in Thiruvananthapuram.

This year's speakers include Jung Chang, the author of Wild Swans and a biography of Mao; Simon Singh, who will lecture on cosmology and codes; and author Germaine Greer, who will be discussing Shakespeare's lovers.

"It will present a great venue for dialogue, debate, discussion and an exchange of ideas. Audience can look forward to literary and cultural celebrations while enjoying the wonderful hospitality, beauty and tranquility that Kerala offers," according to Sanjoy Roy, Festival producer and managing director, Teamwork Productions.

The festival has programmed poets working in languages from around the world: Spanish, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindu, Welsh, Icelandic and English with a poetry gala at the Kanakakunnu Palace, the former retreat of the Travancore royal family. Indian poets K Satchidanandan, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Arundhati Subramaniam are expected to attend.

"This year's programme is a stunning line-up that celebrates the languages of the world and the issues of the day," says Lyndy Cooke, executive Director of Hay Festivals.

Oscar-winning film maker Andrew Ruhemann; author Anita Nair; award-winning French novelist Agnes Desarthe; Simon Singh lecturing on cosmology and codes are the other noted authors and personalties expected this year.

Peter Florence, founder and director of Hay Festival, Kerala says, "We had a wonderful time in Thiruvananthapuram last year, it felt like a natural home for the Hay Festival. The audience was as smart and demanding and up-for-it as anyone we work with across the world,"

Florence points out that the "Wales-India Poetry Exchange" initiated here has been a huge success that's brought wonderful new voices to both countries, and the friendships that have been formed already are blossoming in our hearts."

"One of the greatest excitements for the future is the plan to bring a B39 project to South Asia, as we have done in Latin America and the Arabian diaspora. We're looking at that for next year too," he says.

Last year English pop star Sting paid a surprise visit to Kerala and performed with friend and fellow musician, Irish political activist Bob Geldof at the festival.

Also the guest list last year included politician Mani Shankar Aiyar, Shashi Tharoor, feminist Rosie Boycott, William Dalrymple, Tishani Doshi, Sonia Faleiro, Sebastian Faulks, Bama Faustina, Namita Gokhale, Nik Gowing, Manu Joseph, Jaishree Mishra, Anita Nair, Vivek Narayanan, Michelle Paver, Basharat Peer, Hannah Rothschild, K Satchidanandan, Simon Schama, Vikram Seth, C P Surendran, Tarun Tejpal, Pavan Varma and Paul Zacharia among others.