Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mountain Echoes: Bhutan’s literary festival

‘Hopping a freight out of Los Angeles at high noon one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara.’

This isn’t the right description of how I ended up staring out of a window of Hotel Namgay Heritage in Thimpu for  hours last week. My journey into the great wide open as part of a group of writers, journos, publishers, filmmakers and general riff raff (read: non-venture capitalists) was less ‘beat’ than the aforequoted journeyman’s. But Jack Kerouac’s opening lines from The Dharma Bums retrofit perfectly with my state of being as I contemplated the clouds that rolled in to cover the hilltops above me for four days.

The May 20-23 Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in the Bhutanese capital was a deep-bowled noodle soup of writers talking about their craft, experts sharing their fears and excitements about the future of reading, and audiences being given a guided tour of the world that lies behind the world wide web of infotainment of which books are only one (shrinking?) vehicle.

Full report here Hindustan Times

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