The 10th edition of Dhaka Lit Fest officially began on Thursday, after a three-year hiatus due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Revered as Bangladesh's biggest event showcasing world literature and culture with the participation of around 500 writers, poets, performers, intellectuals, journalists and internationally acclaimed prize-winning speakers, the 2023 edition is featuring 170 sessions during the four-day event.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid inaugurated the event alongside Nobel laureate litterateur Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Indian writer-literary critic Amitav Ghosh at Bangla Academy's Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad (AKSB) auditorium in the morning.
DLF Directors Sadaf Saaz Siddiqi, Kazi Anis Ahmed and Ahsan Akbar were also present at the inauguration ceremony, according to UNB.
"After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, Dhaka Lit Fest is finally being held with the presence of global literary dignitaries. The Ministry of Cultural Affiars is proud to be associated with this prestigious event as always, and I wish the event the success it deserves," KM Khalid said at the ceremony.
Indian writer and literary critic Amitabh Ghosh said, "I grew up hearing stories about Bangladesh as my grandmother was from Madaripur district and all her life, she had her Madaripuri accent. It was amazing for me growing up hearing this wonderful dialect, this wonderful language. However, Bangladesh was a kind of absence in my life as I live in India, and I think only those of us who have the experience of that separation can really understand what this absence means."
Nobel laureate writer Abdulrazak Gurnah said, "Unlike Amitav Ghosh, I cannot tell the story of how I began here and how I belong here because, for me, this is the first time coming to Dhaka and Bangladesh, or indeed, this whole side of the subcontinent," he said.
"So I'm expecting all kinds of revelations, events to happen that I have not seen before. And I've already got a bit of a taste from the performances earlier, the dance - the very beautiful dances - the lovely costumes, the music, and then that incredibly energetic performance by the drummers."
Earlier in the morning, the proceedings began with a performance of spiritual songs at the Bangla Academy lawn.
The event remained suspended for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ninth DLF was held in November 2019.
Organisers say the historic Bangla Academy premises will become more vibrant due to the presence of eminent personalities from five continents, including two Nobel Prize-winning authors -- namely Orhan Pamuk and Abdulrazak.
The event will feature winners of the Pulitzer, International Booker, Neustadt International, PEN/Pinter, Prix Medicis, Academy Award, Windham-Campbell Prize, Albert Medal, Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and Aga Khan Award.
This event features with conversations, dialogues, film screenings, art exhibitions, music, cultural shows and much more.
According to the organisers, only children up to 12 years of age will not need any ticket to enter.
People can complete their registration by clicking this link or visiting the event website by entering their name, age, gender, occupation, mobile number, and email. After entering all the information correctly, they can select their ticket category.