Dhaka Lit Fest

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Dhaka Lit Fest
Dhaka Lit Fest.jpg
Status Annual
Location(s) Ramna, Dhaka
Country Bangladesh
Years active 2011-present
Inaugurated 2011 (as The Hay Festival Dhaka)
Website dhakalitfest.com

Dhaka Lit Fest (also known as Dhaka Literary Festival or DLF) is an annual literary festival held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Since 2012, it has been held every November in the grounds of Bangla Academy with sessions held over three days, primarily in English and Bengali.

Organizers[edit]

Dhaka Lit Fest began as The Hay Festival Dhaka with the support of the British Council Dhaka in 2012.

The festival was initiated by Sadaf Saaz, Tahmima Anam, Ahsan Akbar and Kazi Anis Ahmed, all of whom write in English.[1] In 2015, its current three directors, Sadaf Saaz, Ahsan Akbar and Kazi Anis Ahmed, renamed the Hay Festival Dhaka as "Dhaka Lit Fest" to mark its commitment to promoting Anglophilia among people in Dhaka and Bangladesh[2] and to deflect criticism for importing a British literary festival.[3]

Reception[edit]

DLF has been praised by the media outlets owned by Kazi Anis Ahmed who is also an organizer of the festival itself. "Bangladesh, where independent bloggers and journalists have increasingly become targets of violence, the Dhaka Literary Festival has become a symbol of defiance."[4] The festival's sponsors have been praised for ensuring DLF is free to attend and well organised.[5]

Criticism[edit]

Some observers have described DLF organizers as Anglophile comprador bourgeois who are the unashamed agents of neo-imperial western hegemony in Bangladesh and speculate that they initiated the event to promote themselves as writers in English and groom their own fandom in Dhaka.[6][7][8]

2017 statement on Rohingya refugee crisis[edit]

In November 2017, over 50 participants in the 2017 Dhaka Lit Fest and festival alumni released a statement in support of Myanmar’s Rohingya community, urging the global community “to stand up and support these refugees, and to hold accountable those who have orchestrated the violence leading to this catastrophe.”

Signatories include Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri, historian William Dalrymple, writer Nayantara Sahgal and actress Nandana Sen, as well as Syrian poet Adonis, Hideous Kinky author Esther Freud, Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton, Booker Prize-winning novelist Ben Okri, playwright David Hare, writer Lionel Shriver, public intellectual Tariq Ali, and Bangladeshi literary icons Syed Manzoorul Islam and Kaiser Haq.[9]

References[edit]

External links[edit]