Thursday, May 20, 2010

The honesty of Bhutanese writers

Like the recently held SAARC summit, the Bhutanese environment seems to be having quite an effect on visiting writers attending the ongoing literary festival, Mountain Echoes.

But perhaps because it involves writers, instead of politicians, sexual jokes, night hunting and gossip accompanied some of the topics during the second day of the literary festival being held here in Thimphu.
“I’ve heard most of the Indian writers before, but here they seemed more relaxed and better engaged with the audience,” said publisher and editor-in-chief of Penguin India, Ravi Singh, who has attended several other such literary festivals in India.

“I don’t want to sound condescending, but I’ve been impressed by every single Bhutanese speaker as well,” said the publishing company’s editor. So far, Bhutanese writers such as Kunzang Choden, Dasho Karma Ura, Dasho Kinley Dorji, parliament member Sonam Kinga, opposition leader Tshering Tobgay, and Siok Sian Pek Dorji have spoken at the festival.

Ravi Singh said he had observed that Bhutanese writers were trying to find their way in this new landscape, in reference to the first ever literary festival being held in Bhutan. “There’s no self indulgence,” he said, adding that the Bhutanese speakers have been thinking “outside the sphere” and in a “deep” and “honest” way.

Full report here Kuensel

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