Blending literature, culture, art and heritage, the six-day Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) began in Kolkata on Thursday.
It also celebrated the 125th birth anniversary of India's first education minister, writer and scholar Maulana Abul Kalam Azad by focusing on values and literary concerns dear to his heart.
Planning Commission member Syeeda Hameed's book Maulana Azad, Islam and the Indian National Movement was released at the inauguration attended by Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan who traced his lineage to Azad.
About 60 authors from India and Europe would attend the event to be held at various venues and participate in discussions on subjects like new-age writing across genres, women's empowerment and literary identity.
Among them would be sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, British author and playwright Farrukh Dhondy, former BBC journalist and author Mark Tully, writers Vikram Sampath, Amit Chauduri, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Mani Shankar Mukherjee, Nabaneeta Dev Sen and Bina Ramani.
There would also be a special session with a block of Commonwealth writers. "This year, we aim to make AKLF a significant platform to revive the importance of education which is crucial for the growth of new literature and creating a future generation of authors," said Festival's director Maina Bhagat.
The Festival aimed at reflecting the true essence of Kolkata's diverse sense of culture, ideas and artistic expression. It also connected the written word with the world of arts -- music, dance, theatre, cinema, fashion, design and the visual arts.
Events have been scheduled at heritage venues across Kolkata like Victoria Memorial, St John's Anglican Church and Tollygunge Club.