More than 150 writers, many of them leading names, from the eight SAARC nations have converged in Delhi for the 33 rd SAARC Festival of Literature. Over the next three days, there will be outpourings of writings from the likes of fiction writers Selina Hossain of Bangladesh, Tahira Iqbal of Pakistan, AK Rashid from Afghanistan, Abhi Subedi from Nepal, Kunzang Choden from Bhutan and poet Lakshanta Athukorala from Sri Lanka.
India is represented by a large contingent comprising Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair, Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi and poet-lyricist Gulzar among others. “For the writers, the event dissolves borders as they discuss issues that concern all of us. For readers, it’s a time to meet the people with whose words they have become familiar,” says poet K Satchidanandan, who recited from his works That is all on Friday, the first day of the festival.
Every year, the festival focuses on a pressing issue, and the present edition is highlighting environment degradation. Hence, the list of awardees included not only Pakistani media person Hamid Mir (who won the SAARC Lifetime Achievement Award), Indian writer and journalist MarkTully and Subedi (who won the SAARC Literary Awards), but also environmentalists Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal and Baba Sewa Singh from Punjab and archaeologist KK Muhammad. Each day is divided into two parts — academic discussions followed by reading sessions.
Full report here Indian Express