‘Mountain Echoes’ – a literary festival in Bhutan
The hills of Bhutan will soon be alive with literature as renowned authors and poets gather in the tiny kingdom to participate in a literary festival focussing on the magic and mystique of writings off and from the Himalayan regions.
Indian writers like Gulzar, Chetan Bhagat, Bulbul Sharma and Omair Ahmad will be joined by international names like British author Patrick French as well as local writers and poets from Bhutan for the three-day festival “Mountain Echoes” in Thimphu from 17th May.
The fabled kingdom of dragons known recently for its policy of promoting Gross National Happiness (GNH) over the economic Gross Domestic Product (GDP), provides the perfect setting for writers from different tracts of trans- Himalayan belt to sharing their ideas and literary traditions, say organisers.
“This is the first time that Bhutan is hosting a literary festival. It is a collaborative venture between the governments of India and Bhutan and will focus on the wealth of mountain writing from these countries as well as other international writers,” Mita Kapur, who heads Siyahi, one of the organisers told a news agency.
The shortlist of speakers at the festival “Mountain Echoes” includes among others author and Indian ambassador to Bhutan Pavan K Varma, poet Temsula Ao, Namita Gokhale, Omair Ahmed, Bulbul Sharma, Urvashi Butalia and Leila Seth.
Conceptualised by current Indian ambassador to Bhutan, Pavan K Varma “Mountain Echoes,” is held under the India Bhutan Foundation.
The foundation was established in August 2003, with the objective to enhance exchange and interaction among the peoples of both countries, through activities in the areas of educational, cultural, scientific and technical fields.
Sessions at the festival include Bhutan through the Ages, Grandmother’s Tales, History and Biographies, Language and Identity, Poetry and Archery, Shared Dreams and Shared Metaphors, Writing about Mountains, Architecture and Heritage, Music, Love, Poetry, These Hills called Home, Beyond the Frame, Of Women, By Women, Travellers and Magicians, Winds of Change, and Languages of Belonging which shares the stories, tales and folk narratives.