Pune International Literary Festival


Despite being named as the ‘Oxford of the East’ and an educational hub, Pune entered the literary festival scene this year behind the famous Jaipur and Goa fests. The Pune International Literary Festival is the brainchild of Dr Manjiri Prabhu, a writer and an independent filmmaker for television. She holds a doctorate in communication science and has directed more than 200 children TV programmes and more than 50 short fiction and travel films.

This LitFest was held from Sptember 18-20, 2014 and was inaugurated by hon’ble union minister of women and child development, Maneka Gandhi, who also gave a lovely talk on how animal rights is equal to human rights.

It was the effort of the organisers to make the LitFest more meaningful and they took up the cause of environment protection through animal welfare (adopt a street dog and save the tiger). “This vast, national platform will be used to create awareness of the short and long-term benefits of co-existence and to encourage harmony and symbiosis of animals with human beings” stated the PILF organisers.

The LitFest was a melting pot of genres in the literary fields, and saw many first time authors release their books. Sutak by Nadi Palshikar, a lecturer in Pune University witnessed a huge turnout. Medha Deshmukh Bhaskaran’s Frontiers of Karma was released by the police commissioner of Pune Satish Mathur. Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang de Basanti book was also launched.

Workshops ranging from ‘using animals as characters’, ‘screenwriting tips’, ‘write your first YA story’, ‘micropoetry’, ‘dos and don’ts of translations’, etc. were spaces of learning, where participants gained much. Discussions such as Fiction is Fiction: Literary versus Popular, Fantasy versus Mythology, The new mantra?, Different Fiction: The Identity Crisis etc. were enriching and informative.

Authors Sudha Menon, Kavita Kane, Rashmi Bansal, Radhika Meghnathan, Ashok Banker added value to the workshops as panelists.

The LitFest also conducted fruitful and in-depth discussions on such as ‘Corporatisation of Journalism’, ‘The Towering Indians’ witnessed the participation of eminent journalists Vinita Deshmukh, Ramesh Menon and Francois Gautier.

Marathi literature was a major talking point at the LitFest. ‘Kavita Manataali ani Janaatali’ was conducted by Sandeep Khare and Mangesh Waghmare, ‘Kaviteche Geethotana’ by Saleel Kulkarni and Prabha Joshi, ‘Maai Boli’ by Urmila Karad, Deepak Apte and Sanjay Upadhye. Besides, discussions of ‘Marathi Screen Tomorrow’ and ‘Marathi Literature and Publishing Today’ were also conducted.

–Ritu Goyal Harish

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