Bringing together over 50 speakers from India and abroad to celebrate the spirit of literature and the culture of reading, the annual Kolkata Literary Meet began here Wednesday as part of the 37th Kolkata Book Fair.
Spanning five days, the second edition of the literary meet brings together luminaries like Amitav Ghosh, M.A. Farooqui, Javed Akhtar, Sourav Ganguly and Thomas Kineally among others from the world of books, cinema and sports.
Terming Kolkata 'the city of books', celebrated writer Amitav Ghosh said: "Kolkata, despite all the difficulties that we have faced through the years, has miraculously preserved its literary culture".
One of the focal points of the meet is to popularise reading and the love of books in the young.
'Everywhere I go in the world, I always find young people who have devoted themselves to the study of literature. Readership is continuing to grow, even if it is not like it used to be in the past," Ghosh said, while inaugurating the meet.
Critically acclaimed Bengali author Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay agreed with Ghosh: "I know for a fact that youngsters are reading. India is a poor country and we do not have access to many facilities, so for the middle class, books remain popular."
The meet aims to also introduce Arabian authors to the audience. The finest works in Bengali too would feature in panel discussions, conducted in Bengali.
'Bengali is an eclectic language, open to influence. It has been shaped by different influences in the past," Ghosh said.