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Delhi to host first Indo-UK literary festival

The literary and media festival, Kitab, showcasing writers, journalists, civil servants and entrepreneurs will take place in April.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 20:14 IST

The first ever British-Indian literary and media festival, Kitab, showcasing writers, journalists, civil servants and entrepreneurs will take place in India in April.

The participants at the festival, to take place between April 7-10 in New Delhi will include Tarun Tejpal, Deborah Moggach, author Amit Chaudhuri, novelist, Lionel Shriver, winner of the 2005 Orange Fiction Prize, Nadeem Aslam, novelist, Clare Short, MP, William Dalrymple, historian and writer, Shashi Tharoor, UN Under Secretary-General (Communications) and author, Liz Calder, Bloomsbury publisher, Boyd Tonkin, Literary Editor of the Independent and Catherine Lockerbie, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

However, the organisers are still seeking sponsors to fund the project. It's organiser Pablo Ganguli said, "We offer excellent sponsorship benefits. How about your company's name attached to the first Taj Mahal literary lunch? We are certain that the Indian President who is himself an author will open Kitab."

Kitab, which promises to bring together the British and Indian publishing, literary and media worlds in New Delhi, is expected to be attended by renowned artists who will raise funds for the 'Make Poverty History' campaign.

Promising to be the first ever 'cool, chic and sexy' but 'meaningful and serious' international literary and media festival to be staged in New Delhi, one of its vice presidents Peter Florence, director of Hay Festivals, says there's nothing more exciting than sharing stories and ideas with old and new friends, "unless it's doing it in one of the world's greatest cities that you're discovering for the first time.

"What an epic adventure," he adds. "New worlds everywhere you look. New stories and new storytellers. And all you have do is open your mind."

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, broadcaster and journalist, sees it as a chance to meet with Indian writers who can reflect on and describe how they see Britain. "It's exciting to learn how they view the country as it is today and its real and invented history, its peculiar attachment to Imperial truths and an undying love of India inherited by each new generation," she says.

Allan Jenkins, Observer Magazine editor, says for some time now, the sub-continent has supplied many of the greatest writers in the English language with Rushdie, Seth, Mistry and Roy. "There are of course many more waiting in the wings," he adds. "A festival that celebrates and strengthens these ties is to be supported and applauded."

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 20:14 IST