When one man’s passion leads to a cultural bonanza

An article on the Kumaon Literary Festival scheduled for October 2015 in Mukteshwar and Nainital in yesterday’s TOI.

Take a bow Sumant Batra.

ALMORA: Come October, the hills of Kumaon will serve as the backdrop to a gathering of famous personalities in literature, politics, media and cinema who will congregate at a sleepy village in Dhanachauli, near Mukteshwar, for the five-day Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF).

KLF, whose organizers claim it is the country’s first annual ‘retreat literature fest’, will be held from October 23 to 27 at Te Aroha resort and will see participation from over 80 speakers including Amish Tripathi, Satyarth Nayak, Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai, Sagarika Ghose, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sanjay Gupta and Santosh Desai.

The festival is the brainchild of writer and senior corporate lawyer Sumant Batra and has eminent Supreme Court lawyer Saif Mahmood, authors Geetanjali Shree, Sudeep Sen and Kiran Manral, and Priya Kapoor of Roli Books on its planning board.

Besides, about 30 students from schools in remote villages will be selected to participate in the event through a competition to be held in June. Workshops will be held over four months to hone their skills in Hindi and English with special emphasis in writing prowess.

Young editors of different Delhi-based college magazines will also be hand-picked for participation by the board.

The first four days of the fest will be open to registered participants who can sign up for the event from July onwards.

“KLF will focus on the quality of attendees, rather than the quantity. For the first four days, 200 attendees will be invited per day of which 100 will be local residents, including school and college students,” said Batra.

On the concluding day, the festival will travel to Nainital and throw its doors open to all. Every single session conducted in course of the five days will be available for enthusiasts on the internet.

KLF will be the first ‘retreat’ lit fest in the country, making it a truly unique experience, claim organizers. “The fest will not be confined to ballrooms or hotel premises. Speakers and participants will stay at a beautiful hamlet for three to five days interacting in the midst of nature, going for walks, participating in poetry-reading sessions under the open skies,” Batra added.

The festival is expected to provide a boost to employment and tourism opportunities in the area where more than a dozen summerhouses will cater to visitors and in turn, provide a boost to villagers’ economic conditions.

Read the original here

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