A literary occasion to interact
Mountain Echoes 16 May, 2010 – With Bhutan’s first ever literary festival beginning Monday, local writers and readers point out that it is a significant development in establishing a secular literary culture.
The three day literary festival, called ‘Mountain Echoes’, will allow Bhutanese authors to meet and interact with established writers such as Patrick French, who wrote Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer, a book found on many Bhutanese bookshelves, and Rajkumar Hirani, a script writer and film director, whose most recent work was the popular Bollywood hit, 3 Idiots.
“It’s the first such dialogue between Bhutan and India, so that is significant in itself,” said Dasho Karma Ura, who authored the historical novel, The Hero with a Thousand Eyes.
“It’s very significant because it is the first time that such an event is taking place in Bhutan,” said local writer Kunzang Choden, whose works include, among others, Folktales of Bhutan and the novel Circle of Karma,
“It’s very timely because there is a visible stirring in the literary sphere in Bhutan and Bhutanese writers can learn from established writers of the region,” added Kunzang Choden.
On what Bhutanese writers could gain, Dasho Kinley Dorji, who wrote Within the Realms of Happiness, a collection of short stories, said, “We’re still emerging from an oral society, so we don’t really have many published writers, the best thing that could happen, is that Bhutanese writers and those interested in writing could get exposure with the experienced Indian writers.” Dasho Kinley Dorji, added that, besides picking up ideas, contacts could be established.
Local reading and writing enthusiasts pointed out that although people are starting to read more, more has to be done to promote a Bhutanese literary culture, for instance, by establishing more libraries and holding such interactions.
The festival is being hosted by the India-Bhutan foundation and will be held annually.
By Gyalsten K Dorji