Hay Lit Fest in Kerala to Introduce Indian Writing to World
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Viewing global cultures through domestic detail of private lives often told by authors, learning to use maths to bend a football like Beckham, listening to climate change authority Nicholas Stern - an international literature festival that makes its debut in Kerala this month offers all this and more.

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, now marks its entry into India in Thiruvananthapuram with a three day event starting November 12 .

"We are very excited to celebrate the Hay Festival in India and Kerala became the obvious choice for its high literacy rate and popular tourist destinations. It will also create a platform to present Indian writing to an international audience," says Lyndy Cooke, executive director, Hay Festival.

Shashi Tharoor, one of the first Indian writers to be invited to Wye and MP from Thiruvananthapuram, who worked to get the event here says, "Kerala has a literate audience and offers a spectacular setting with beaches, backwaters and ayurvedic massages. The festival will be an opportunity to open the windows of my constituency to the world and offer local readers world class literature".

Tharoor, who has authored several novels and short stories apart from essays will be on the panel with other writers.

"India produces high quality literature. At the London Book Fair last year, we hosted 58 Indian writers to showcase Indian literature. The Hay Festival will be an opportunity for the outside world to discover Indian writing," says Ruth Gee, regional director, the British Council, which is collaborating with Hay .

The non-ticketed event will feature noted personalities such as Vikram Seth , Upamanya Chatterjee, Hannah Rothschild, Simon Schama, Sebastian Faulks, Nik Gowing, Gillian Clarke and William Darlymple.

Focus on regional writing will see Indian poets O N V. Kurup and K Satchidanandan, in conversation with Welsh counterparts Menna Elfyn and Paul Henry.

Other local writers featured are Paul Zacharia, Sister Jesme, N.S. Madhavan and Charu Nivedita.

The three day festival will also screen a conversation between climate change authority Nicholas Stern and Rosie Boycott about Haiti, Darfur, Bangladesh and "How We Can Save the World and Create Prosperity." The event was recorded at Hay Festival in Wales, 2010.

Organiser Sanjay Roy, Teamworks Event says, "With the Hay festival we hope to create a literary event in south India that we hope becomes a magnet for people to come into India."

"Like in the Jaipur literary festival, we will also be distributing around 100 bursaries to college students from across the universities in Kerala to encourage them to attend and participate in the festival. We have also invited a few schools," he says.

Along with books, the world of movies would be represented by legendary film and documentary-makers Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Hannah Rothschild respectively who would discuss their work.

The literature festival to be held at the Kanakakunnu Palace, the former summer retreat of the Travancore royal family, is scheduled to culminate with Irish folk-rock legend Bob Geldof and his band. Other performances on the programme include regional bands Swaratma and Avial.
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