Kolkata’s date with literary giants

KaLaM 2014: Kolkata’s date with literary giants

December 2, 2013

Good news for all the bibliophiles in Kolkata. The city, known popularly as the cultural capital of India, is going to host Kolkata Literary Meet, better known as 'KaLaM', for the third consecutive year. Literary giants will come together for a celebration of art, books and wisdom. Needless to say, the panel discussions will transform into quintessential Bengali addas. It is a platform to bring together the world literature, Indian writing and Bengali literature.

KaLaM 2014

When: 25th January, 2014 – 30th January, 2014.
Where: Victoria Memorial Grounds
How: Entry accessible to everyone, no fees or registration required.
  • The compound, where the son-et-lumiere show is held every evening will be used for the sessions.
  • “Some people have raised concerns about an adverse impact on the heritage structure but every precaution will be taken to conform to environmental norms and protected monument guidelines,” Sengupta said. According to him, Victoria Memorial which sees around 32 lakh visitors a year is well-equipped to handle the footfall.
  • Book sale and book signing are prohibited as the Victoria Memorial premises are not meant for commercial purposes.

Eminent Authors to take part in the meet

Vikram Seth
Padma Shri award winner author and poet who had inaugurated the first season of KaLaM on January 26, 2012. He is a man of many talents. He can play the Indian flute and cello, and loves singing German lieder (songs).

Vikram Seth

Jhumpa Lahiri

Pulitzer Prize winner for her short story collection, “Interpreter of Maladies”, this Booker-nominated Bengali-American writer is a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; she was appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Gloria Steinem

She is an American feminist, journalist and author, recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the women's liberation movement in the late 1960s and 1970s. She was a columnist for New York magazine.

Gloria Steinem

She will speak on the feminist movement in India with anti-trafficking crusader Ruchira Gupta.

Ramachandra Guha

Padma Bhushan and Sahitya Akademi Award winner, Ramchandra Guha is Indian historian and writer. His areas of interests include environmental, social, political and cricket history.

He will speak on ‘Arguments with the Mahatma’ on January 30 to mark the death anniversary of Gandhi. “I am always happy to come back to Calcutta, where I have studied and worked,” said Guha, who will be participating in KaLaM for the first time.

Ramachandra Guha

Adrian Levy

An award-winning journalist and film maker who writes for The Guardian, Adrian Levy is best known for his book 'The Siege' based on the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. It sparked a controversy by making new revelations, as it went behind the scenes to narrate how the attacks took shape.

Adrian Levy

Galaxy of stars

The renowned poet, lyricist and script-writer of Bollywood, Javed Akhtar will also be a part of KaLaM. The list doesn’t stop here. Many globally renowned authors will be part of the literary fest this year. The names include Booker-nominated Malaysian writer Tash Aw, Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, British editor and writer Ian Jack, Kashmiri writer Basharat Peer, Zimbabwean writer Peter Godwin, Guyanese-born writer Gaiutra Bahadur among others. India will be well represented by dignitaries like Naseeruddin Shah, Sharmila Tagore, Shabana Azmi and Zoya Akhtar among others.

Bengali authors will also grace the august occasion. One of the main purposes of KaLaM is to rekindle the reading habit in the young generation.

“Everywhere I go in the world, I always find young people who have devoted themselves to the study of literature. Readership is continuing to grow, even if it is not like it used to be in the past,” Amitava Ghosh said, while inaugurating the meet last time.

Parting thought

Always known to be the thinker’s paradise, Kolkata now boasts of the perfect platform for readers to meet and interact with authors, not just from India but abroad too. With KaLaM, the city attained a maturity in the literary scene.

As we part, we live you with the beautiful Theme Song of KaLam:


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