Everything you need to know about Bangalore Literature Festival 2014 – part 1 of 3

Are you all set to attend the BLF 2014? Got your calendar cleared up? Applied for leave at work? Said no to all other social commitments for that weekend? Not yet! You ask “Why”? Well, you need to be at BLF 2014! You ask “What is BLF 2014?” Here is all that you need to know about the Bangalore Literature Festival 2014.

What is the BLF? – BLF stands for Bangalore Literature Festival. The first season of BLF was in 2012. Since then the festival has become an annual attraction on Bangalore’s cultural calendar. The first and second editions of BLF in 2012 and 2013 attracted over 200 authors and artistes from India and abroad. Both times the festival captured the attention of people and had audiences of over 18,000 over three days, each time. It has become India’s second largest lit fest after the famous Jaipur lit fest thus encouraging people to remark that Bangalore is the “South’s Jaipur” when it comes to being a literary capital.

BLF aims to be a festival focussing on India and Indian writing. It piggy banks on Bangalore’s appeal as a culturally rich city with a global outlook. It offers the audiences a chance to listen to, interact with and see authors and speakers from the literary world from close quarters. Conversations, talks, book signings and story telling sessions are all a part of BLF. There are sessions and a separate stage for the little ones as well.


Gulzar at BLF 2013

Who is behind BLF? – BLF is the brain child of Vikram Sampath, Srikrishna Ramamoorthy and Shinie Antony. They wanted to add to Bangalore’s creative spirit, encourage fine reading and writing and make way for Bangalore to be the new locus of Indian literature. They have a team of experienced and advisors helping them with suggestions and provide input on different facets of the festival. There is also a team of volunteers that helps with the planning, execution and manpower support on the days of the event. The venue for the festival for the past two years and this year is Crowne Plaza grounds in Electronics City, Bangalore. It is a beautiful venue with lush green gardens, trees and open spaces. Combine that with beautiful Bangalore weather and it is a sight nothing short of a dreamy, breezy, story like setting. Totally apt right?

What is happening this year? – This year there are going to be about 150 authors, speakers and literary geniuses at the three day event. The complete list of authors and speakers is out on the BLF website. We have local authors from Bangalore as well as others from India and international authors and speakers too. Among the local authors and speakers we have Andaleeb Wajid – an author of four books and two of a Trilogy published, Girish Karnad, Gita Aravamudan, Jane de Suza – author of The Spy Who Lost Her head, the super fun crime thriller, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Preeti Shenoy, Rohini Nilekani, Shinie Antony who is one of the organizers and TV Mohandas Pai.

We also have Anjum Hasan, Arun Shourie, Chetan Bhagat – who will talk about his new book Half Girlfriend, Tisca Chopra, Sidin Vadukut, Sam Miller – the author of A Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes, Nirupama Dutt – Chandigarh’s homegrown poet, journalist, literary and art critic, translator and raconteur of many seasons who has written and edited several books, John Elliott – a former Financial Times journalist, whose best-selling book IMPLOSION: India’s Tryst with Reality was published earlier this year by Harper Collins India and Gulzar who was a huge crowd favourite at the last edition will also be there this year.

Farhan and Prasoon

Prasoon Joshi and Farhan Akhtar at BLF 2013

According to the organizers, this year the programme has been designed around the theme of literature from marginalized communities and individuals who are seldom given a platform in the mainstream. Several authors, including Mitra Phukan, Dhruba Hazarika and Temsula Ao from Assam, will be invited to talk at the event. The festival will also feature aboriginal writers from Australia who will be in conversation with dalit writers and poets of India discussing issues of marginalization.

Another highlight of this year is the Lit-Mart! It will be a platform for aspiring unpublished authors to make a crisp, three-minute pitch of their books and ideas to a panel consisting of authors, publishers and literary agents. So if you are a budding author do get your three-minute pitch ready!

In addition to the reading, writing and talking about books through the day, in the evenings the lit fest will have music and 2 very famous artists on site. On 26th September, Friday evening it will be Oscar Award nominated Carnatic musician Smt Bombay Jayashri Ramnath and on 27th September 2014, renowned Hindustani musician Smt Shubha Mudgal. You wouldn’t want to miss this.


BLF 2013 at night

What next? – The schedule for the festival is not out yet. We will be tracking that and let you know. Till then go register for the event. It is a free event, open to all. A one time registration is a must to help the organisers plan and prepare for the audiences. There will be food and beverages available for purchase at the festival food court. Out station attendees can stay at the Crowne Plaza at their own expense; special BLF rates are available though.

Watch this space for Part 2 of this series. And don’t miss out on this wonderful event to be held from 26th to 28th September this year.

All images courtesy – Bangalore Literature Festival