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From discussions on dystopia with international bestselling author Marcus Zusak of The Book Thief fame to tree walk sessions with environmentalist Pradip Krishen, the eighth edition of the Mountain Echoes literary festival this August will see a range of people from around the world share their views on natural history, environment, spirituality and business among others.
To be held in Thimpu, the three-day festival from August 25-27 will also feature Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, Bhutanese poet Ashi Sonam Choden Dorji, The Sialkot Saga author Ashwin Sanghi, mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi among others.
On August 25, the festival will open with Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, the patron of the festival, talking about the influence of the ‘Zhabdrung’ (lamas of Tibet) in the everyday lives of the Bhutanese population.
Another key theme at the festival this year is fashion, with designers from Bhutan Chimmi Choden and Chandrika Tamang, and Indian designer duo Abraham and Thakore showcasing how design traditions of Bhutan and India are closely linked.
Talking about the eighth edition, Mita Kapur, festival producer and CEO, Siyahi, said, “The aim is to showcase Bhutan and India’s shared historical and traditional narratives and at the same time promote the culture of reading, writing and literature in Bhutan. Each year, we strive to curate programming that presents audiences with interesting insights into literature, art and culture of Bhutan, India and the world.”
Bhutanese author and festival co-director Tshering Tashi added, “Over the years, the festival has lent a boost to tourism here while also giving the people of Bhutan a window into global literature…We are excited to offer the world a glimpse into our varied cultural heritage through the numerous gatherings planned.”