This is probably going to be a literary festival where the venue will garner more attention than the authors. Mountain Echoes, an Indo-Bhutanese literary festival will take place in the capital city of Thimphu in Bhutan on May 17. “Bhutan provides a perfect setting for the festival, which will communicate tales of our shared landscape in the Himalayan region, both as places of ecological and inspirational value,” says Mita Kapur of Siyahi, the literary consultancy that is organising the festival. “The current ambassador to Bhutan , Pavan Varma has initiated the literature festival under the aegis of the India Bhutan foundation. Namita Gokhale is the programme advisor for the festival,” adds Kapur. Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck is the Chief Patron of the three-day festival.
Mountain Echoes will begin with sessions by writers such as Karma Ura, Omair Ahmad, Gulzar and will also feature an interaction between Bhutanese filmmaker Tshering Wangyel and screenwriter Tshering Penjore with film-maker Rajkumar Hirani. The following days will see sessions by Patrick French, Leila Seth, Mamang Dai, Chetan Bhagat, Sarnath Banerjee, and Bhutanese poet Temsula Ao . “While the focus is on mountain writing, we have tried to include all aspects, written as well as oral traditions. It includes cinema and music and covers common ground as stories of the Trans-Himalayan belt that is shared by both countries,” says Kapur. Shillong Blues band Soulmate will also perform at the festival.