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From what began as an earnest effort to celebrate literature, the Bangalore Literature Festival (BLF) has grown to be one of the most anticipated festivals of the year. The third edition, which begins on 26 September, will feature, over the next three days, 150 authors and speakers from different parts of the world, and India.

This year, the festival is focusing on the North-East. Writers from the region will feature their work and also voice their concerns.

“I was at Guwahati for the North East Literature Festival and I realized how authors and other writers maintain this constant grouse that they don’t get featured in ‘mainstream India’. To them it was like preaching only to the converted. Personally, it bothered me. I wanted to understand what they really meant by ‘mainstream India’. ...we thought the literary festival here would be ideal to give them a platform to voice their concerns, and showcase their works. The literature that will be featured at BLF would, in some way, reflect their trauma, and their sense of alienation," says Vikram Sampath, co-founder of BLF.

This, however, happened in the most organic fashion. “We were already planning to feature Dalit literature, works on and by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, etc., and everything kind of fell in place. In a way, we worked backwards and marginalized literature became the unconscious theme of the festival," adds Sampath.

Some of the participants from the North-East will be Mitra Phukan, Dhruba Hazarika, Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh, Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih, Binalakshmi Nepram and Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Burman (editor of The Northeast Today magazine), among others.

There is also ample focus on Kannada literature. Bangalore-based writers like Anjum Hasan, Gita Aravamudan, Nandita Bose, Preeti Shenoy, Andaleeb Wajid, Jahnavi Barua, Usha K.R., Sharath Komarraju and Samhita Arni will be participating in the festival.

Around 16,000 people visited BLF last year. A much larger turnout is expected this year, given the number and profile of participating authors. Visitors can also interact with authors such as Girish Karnad, Arun Shourie, Leila Seth, Nayantara Sahgal, Chetan Bhagat, Shobhaa De, John Elliott, Sam Miller, Paro Anand, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi, Arun Maira, and Namita Gokhale, among others.

The Banglore Literature Festival is from 26-28 September, 10am onwards, at Crowne Plaza, Electronics City, Bangalore. Click here for registration and full schedule

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