The 2021 edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet has been put off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The literary meet management on Tuesday said that keeping in view the health and safety of all concerned during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, that is held every year in Kolkata in association with Victoria Memorial Hall, has been put off for now.
However, as a gesture to mark the year and the iconic festival, a set of five webinars across the three evenings of January 29-31, 2021 will be organised, they said. This literary meet had hosted eminent writers such as Ruskin Bond, Vikram Seth, Paul Beatty, Alessandro Baricco, Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Thomas Keneally, Amitava Ghosh, Gloria Steinem, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dr Venky Ramakrishnan, Joanne Harris, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and Javed Akhtar, among several others in their past editions.
“The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet will not be keeping its January appointment with the city and Victoria Memorial this year in view of the pandemic. The beating heart of the festival is the congregation of writers from the city and overseas. And the crucial impact of large audiences thronging the festival. Since neither is possible, we will take a pause,” director of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, Malavika Banerjee said.
“Unfortunately, the Lit Meet – arguably the city’s most-anticipated annual cultural event – can’t happen on-site this year. But we can’t let a virus take away our love of reading, so we will be back bigger and better,” Victoria Memorial Hall, Curator, Jayanta Sengupta said in his reaction. The lead sponsor Tata Steel had also expressed disappointment. “We are indeed disappointed to not be able to host the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic… We hope to be back with the next edition of the premier literary meet with increased participation of all our stakeholders,” Tata Steel Vice President, corporate services Chanakya Chaudhary said.