November to February are swell months for book lovers and literary enthusiasts. It’s the season of the Lit Fests!! Even as I write this piece, book lovers are enjoying literary discussions at The Hindu Lit for Life in Chennai. A 3 day long fest from Jan 16th -18th boasting an eminent list of speakers including authors, editors, journalists, actors, dancers and chefs.
My earliest memories of a lit fest, is the Kolkata Boi Mela [That’s Book Fair in Bengali]. We all waited for this event with as much enthusiasm as the Durga Pujas. I am talking about the time when the Boi Mela took place in the sprawling Maidan, beside the Victoria Memorial. So many books looking at you with expectant eyes waiting to be taken home. The biggest attraction was of course the discounts [This was much before the amazons and flipkarts]. You could also lay your hand on titles not easily available in book stores. Even the maddening crowd [It is the most attended book fair in Asia and third in the world] did not deter us, and yes talking about the crowd, a perpetual feature was the loud speaker constantly announcing names of people asking them to report to the guild where family members and friends were waiting for them. Even I got lost a couple of times and was quite excited to hear my name being announced, after all it’s not every day that happens.
The Kolkata Book Fair this year is being held from the 28th January to 8th February at Milan Mela near Science City.
Also coming up are some other Lit Fests around the country:
Zee Jaipur Lit Fest
Jaipur is well connected by air and rail from almost all major cities in India. In case you are going from Delhi, you could either take a 1 hour flight or hop onto the Ajmer Shatabdi from the New Delhi railway station at 6:05 am. In case you are going with a group of friends, you could also drive down to Jaipur.
Once there, you can stay at Diggi Palace itself where the festival is held. You might just end rubbing shoulders with some author or actor!! For more hotel options check out http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalinformation/ss/Guide-To-The-Jaipur-Literature-Festival_2.htm
Visit their official website for information on events and speakers- http://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/
Hyderabad Lit Fest
Around the same time as the Jaipur Lit Fest, we have the Hyderabad Lit Fest. In its 5th year the fest is being held at The Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet from the 23rd -25th January.
Visit their official website for information on events & speakers – http://www.hydlitfest.org/
Lucknow Lit Fest
The 3rd edition of the Lit Fest is being held from the 13th -15th February at the scientific convention centre at the King George Medical University. Although not very popular [I for one haven’t heard much about it] given the fact that it is being held in Lucknow, the seat of poetry, music and culture, I sure have high hopes from this one. To start with their official website is worth visiting – http://lucknowliteraryfestival.com/
Lucknow is an hour’s flight from Delhi, you also have the Lucknow Shatabdi from the New Delhi railway station at 6:10 am. Some popular hotels you could stay at are La Place Sarovar Portico (www.sarovarhotels.com), Gemini Continental (www.geminicontinental.com), Hotel Clarks (www.hotelclarks.com) and Golden Tulip (www.goldentuliplucknow.com)
Planning to go one of these Lit Fest? Do share your stories and pictures!!