The 8th edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival commenced on the 26th of January, 2018, with an aplomb led by the hoisting of the flag by Sri. SP Singh, Honourable Chief-Secretary of the Government of Telangana and the Chief Guest.
This was followed by the inauguration ceremony presided over by Sri. S.P Singh, Sri. Chandrashekhara Kambara, a Jnanpith Awardee and the Guest of Honor, and Mr. Eduardo Sanchez Morena, the Deputy Head of Mission Embassy of Spain. The inaugural event was graced by the presence of Mr. Ignacio Vitórica Hamilton, the Cultural Attaché of the Embassy of Spain and was chaired by Mr. B Venkatesham, the Secretary of the Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Telangana.
The festival began with a Panel: Supernatural Earthlings, Next-door Despots and Unsuspecting Objects: The Life of Characters in New Women’s Writing from Spain— featuring Cristina Sánchez Andrade, Inma Lopez Silva, Mercedes Cebrian and moderated by Alejandro Palomas. The highlights of Day 1 included, Ms. Arati Kodali’s story telling session that inspired children to be more honest and learn values like responsibility and trustworthiness. The sessions were extremely interactive with Kodali’s original stories incorporating lessons from animal, and human rights, history, science, and philosophy. The session was a massive hit with the kids and an enthusiastic boy from the audience, even regaled the audience with stories of his own. While the story telling session was underway on one side, at the Art & Music Konfluens by Keerthana Bhoopal and Sahana Ramprakash, participants went wild creating art and music out of everyday objects.
At 3,999 Cups and More, Toral Shah implored that we all collectively read, write and imagine more. The session entailed the process of creating a story, with participants being asked to create a story line, illustrate it, frame a storyboard and enact it.
Scavenger Hunt and Heritage Walk had a lot of enthusiastic participants from all age groups.Another feature which drew the attention and excitement of the young kids a bit later in the day, was the the Hindi translation of the much-loved classic Swiss children’s tale Heidi, along with English recitals and musical interludes by George Hull and Keith D’Rozario. The younger audience loved it and returned with happy hearts and kits including the book and badges of Heidi.
At the Creating Visual Frames to Tell Stories by Marcos Guardiola participants used stamps to create beautiful abstract art and then use the same to create a bigger picture. Marcos also interceded in the process and asked participants to work on each other’s projects.
Welsh-India Poetry Connections, featured Avner Pariat, Mamta Sagar, Nia Davies and Rhys Trimble, who took the audience through an alluring collaborative poetry reading session, the narrative marked by improvised translations and dialogues in English, Kannada and Welsh. The fusion, according to members of the audience, resembled a jazz show, with impromptu spoken word and lyrical poetry.
Sanntimmi Ramayana (Kannada) by Du Saraswathi was indeed a spectacular performance in Kannada that was quite insightful, humourous and poignant. A lot of people specifically came to watch this performance.
The audience were also riveted to the conversation between Aparna Rayaprol and Ornit Snahi on “How India became a Republic”, where they traced the journey of India, post-independence until it’s rebirth as a democratic republic. The session also saw enthusiastic participation from the audience.
Vidya Rao entrancened the audience with soulful renditions, as a tribute to her teacher, Late Girija Devi, fondly known as Appaji, who was a renowned thumri singer.
The Panel Discussion on The Health of the Indian Health System, with Anindita Majumdar, Sujatha Rao and moderated by Amita Dhanda, saw an extremely interesting and riveting discussion between need for government intervention, the agency of women in exercising rights over their own bodies, and the principles on ethics and morality related to surrogacy and reproductive rights in general.
Isabelle Hui Saldana, Vyjayanthi Vasanta Mogli, and Satyasiri Atluri brought up the important question of “What’s the Deal with Gender?”, during their session, which was a dignified session concerning topics that are normatively taboo – gender non-conformity and the struggles of body dysmorphia. The talk also included legal issues and poetry, with the panelists willingly interacting with the audience beyond the stipulated time.
The first cultural event was Mizahiya Mushaira convened by Aslam Farshori made the Hyderabadis laugh out loud.
Overall the Day 1 events were attended by over 1500 participants, press personnel and delegates from around the world.