KLF: fostering meaningful dialogues & best voices around the world

The seventh edition of Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) was successfully held from

January 11-14, 2024 at Kozhikode Beach. Here, Ravi DeeCee, Publisher & CEO of DC Books and Founder of KLF, shares the major highlights in conversation with Varsha Verma.

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This year, Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) had Turkiye as the guest country, with authors, historians, chefs and artists part of the delegation celebrating the 100 years of Turkey as a republic. They engaged in conversations, shared their culinary excellence and performed the Sema Whirling Dervishes ceremony.

“As DC Books comes to celebrate its 50 years in publishing, the sessions at KLF also celebrated the phenomenal books that shaped the reading in the Malayalam language and influenced the region,” shares Ravi DeeCee, Publisher & CEO of DC Books and Founder of KLF.

Banned books, Doctors without Borders: Experiences from Palestine and Manipur were some of the other sessions of significance at KLF 2024. Artificial Intelligence, Startup ecosystem were also other themes this year.

“We also had a full-fledged Children’s lit fest with theatre based sessions, storytelling and activities curated on all four days, with outreach programs to various schools in and around Kozhikode,” shares Ravi. “Some of the iconic films were also screened every night on the beach as part of the lit fest. With over 330 sessions, KLF 2024 has covered most of the key titles published in 2023 and English and Indian languages.”

On curating the lineup of speakers…

“It takes the team year round iteration to curate each edition of KLF. While books are the primary grounds of discussion, we look at the previous year’s prominent works, major the mesand points of discussions while curating the list,” shares Ravi.

“Every year we ensure to bring in myriad flavours of life to the lit fest. Be it from the themes to speakers, we cater to all. Some of the major voices are from areas of gender, theatre, performance poetry, investigating complex crimes to translations, food and indigenous cuisine,” he adds.

On Kerala Literature Festival vs. other literary events…

“Compared to other regions of India, the readership in Kerala is high. There is a lot of interest towards dialogue and social platforms for conversations. KLF since its inception has been able to bring in meaningful discussions and has been an accessible lit fest for all. The attendee interaction also sets it apart from the other lit fests. The picturesque beach is undeniably the other best thing about KLF,” shares Ravi.

Connecting with the audience…

“We regularly have run ups with our audience regarding the sessions/ topics they’d suggest and the speakers. The Kozhikode Samskarika Vedhi, has been instrumental in grounding KLF to Calicut. A huge demography of the lit fest comprises of youngsters below the age of 35 and students from universities across India,” tells Ravi.

On fundings and partnerships…

“The DC Kizhakemuri Foundation, a nonprofit organisation founded as a tribute to freedom fighter, social activist, writer and publisher late Shri DC Kizhakemuri, is the forbearer of Kerala Literature Festival that generates the funds. Apart from this DC Books is also the key partner of the lit fest,” tells Ravi.

Making KLF: behind the scene challenges

“KLF began with 30,000 participants to a current footfall of more than half a million today, from scheduling the sessions to infrastructure, on ground amenities have witnessed a large growth. For managing the space at the beach, this year we had increased seating capacity along with an increase in the number of venues to accommodate the growing audience. The KLF Bookshop was sizably enlarged,” shares Ravi.

“Seeking sponsorships and meaningful partnerships have been a major challenge we are still tackling. We have the Friends of KLF exclusive ticketed sessions, that we hope to grow as a community in making KLF a sustainable event,” he adds.

On Friends of KLF…

“Friends of KLF is a community of like individuals/ organisations that believe in building a public platform for free and open conversations and making literature accessible to all. It is an exclusive ticketed event where in the members have extended perks and access to exclusive sessions,” shares Ravi.

Road ahead…

“KLF has played a crucial role in the dissemination of many more literature festivals in every nook and corner of Kerala. Our continued efforts are towards fostering meaningful dialogue and ideally bringing the best voices of the world to Kozhikode,” concludes Ravi.

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