Updated: February 13, 2018 4:36:49 pm
If you’re still reeling from the aftereffects of the five-day literary extravaganza that was the Jaipur Literature Festival and can’t believe you have to get back to your mudane existence. Or worse, you missed the event entirely and had to settle for watching videos and reading articles about Michael Ondaatje’s session and Shashi Tharoor’s marathon talks, then take heart because all is not lost. The year has just begun and there is a whole list of literature festivals that beckon the true bibliophile, and we’ve short-listed five of our favourites for you.
Buenos Aires Book Fair, Argentina
April 26 – May 14
Spread over three weeks, with more than a million attendees, at least 1,500 events and hundreds of authors and cultural events, this is said to be the most important event for the Spanish-speaking world, as if the combination of the prospect of visiting one of South America’s most popular tourist destination and books wasn’t enough of a draw. Along side the thousands of book stalls, attend the many cultural dialogues as they discuss the spoken word and the treasures of oral transmitted literatures, a unique reading marathon during which stories and texts of Manuel Puig will be read, and special session on micro-fiction.
Sydney Writers’ Festival, New South Wales, Australia
April 30 – May 6
Known as Australia’s biggest celebration of writing and ideas, this annual event is a mix of student events and professional writers coming together across multiple venues, brainstorming and exchanging ideas. This year the festival‘s main hub will be in Carriageworks, NSW, along with three sub-venues, and promises to feature some of the world’s finest authors such as British-American author, journalist, lecturer and screenwriter Patrick Ness, who will talk about some of his most powerful stories such as The Rest of Us Just Live Here, to Chaos Walking and his latest – Release. Screenwriter Jesse Andrews’ session on How To Make Funny Happen promises to be engaging on May 2, while English poet AF Harrold has an interactive session on poems, stories and comedy on May 3.
Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, Wales, United Kingdom
May 24 – June 5
Described famously by former US President Bill Clinton as the Woodstock of the Mind, the Hay Festival is a 10-day extravaganza for the bibliophile set in the idyllic setting of Hay-on-the-Wye on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in gorgeous Wales, United Kingdom. One of the oldest literary festivals – around since 1988 – the events are ticketed, even though the entry to the festival is not. This year, try and catch Canadian author Margaret Atwood speaking about her 1985 dystopian masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale with Peter Florence on May 28; American Lit professor Sarah Churchwell offers the history ‘America First’, one of Donald Trump’s campaign slogans in a session that promises to be fascinating and charged on June 2; and Philip Pullman, Marina Warner and Jack Zipes discuss Tales Of Wonder, Magic, Resistance and Hope as they discuss the power of fairy tales and the more important function for such tales than is often recognised, also on June 2.
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The Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, Thimpu, Bhutan
August 23 – 28
Picturesque Thimpu will yet again form the venue of the ninth edition of the Bhutan literature festival, whose popularity has been growing leaps and bounds each year. Though the line-up for this year hasn’t been announced, previous years have seen prolific writers from mainly South-East Asia in attendance. What makes this a very viable option for Indian bibliophiles is the stunning locations and the possibility of travelling across the country and trekking up to the famous Paro Taktsang, or Tiger’s Nest. There are also musical performances from local bands and those from North East India to look forward to. Mountains, books, discourse, music and food – what more can you ask for?
Bangalore Literary Festival, The Lalit Ashok, Bangalore, India
After an immensely succussful six-year run, the next edition of the Bangalore Literary Festival is expected to be a fiery affair. After all, last year saw sessions such as ‘Silence – The Trolls Are In Session’, ‘Jingoism Vs Patriotism’, ‘Poetics and Politics’, which had speakers ranging from YV Reddy to Mrs Funnybones Twinkle Khanna. The event is also usually accompanied with musical evenings on each day with performances from Indian and international artistes.
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