Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2012
Into its third year, Mountain Echoes Literary Festival to be held in Thimpu from 20th to 24th May, 2012, is back with yet another power packed edition. It has lined up some of the most impressive authors writing from and on South Asia, including Vikram Seth, Patrick French, Wendell Rodricks, William Dalrymple, Kalpish Ratna, Ali Sethi and Gulzar.
Conceptualized in 2009, the festival began its journey in the pristine city of Thimpu in May 2010, as a joint effort by His Excellency Pavan K Varma, India’s ambassador to Bhutan, co-directors Namita Gokhale and Pramod Kumar KG, Mita Kapur, CEO, Siyahi. The festival also has the support of the India-Bhutan Foundation and the patronage of Bhutan’s queen mother, HM Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, who is herself a published author.
Mountains, particularly the Himalayas, are an important factor for the South Asian region encompassing within them other themes such as travel, environment, spirituality and philosophy – all of which feature in sessions programmed for the festival. In the session Dreaming of Prayer Flags, Karma Singye Dorji talks about what it means to write about his own land, the grand Himalayan vistas, the unhurried village life, and the significance of prayer flags. He also reads a few passages from his book. In Rolling Clouds: Dreaming Mountains, a session on travel writing with Vikram Seth, Patrick French and William Dalrymple will see these eminent writers share personal anecdotes and readings from their works.
In Blessings of Bhutan Dr. Karma Phuntsho and Sonam Jatso will examine the unique balance of tradition and modernity that exists in the social structure in Bhutan and the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, in its material and spiritual context. Namita Gokhale and Kishwar Desai will read from their recent books and discuss the impact of gender on their writing in the session called First person Feminine. The popular Bhutanese writer Kunzang Choden will be in conversation with Swati Chopra on a session discussing spirituality and how it reflects in the process of writing in the session called Writing the Spirit.
The program also includes a round table discussion between writers, journalists and media persons from both India and Bhutan, where they brainstorm on the relationship between media and democracy, and the roles and responsibilities of print, electronic and social media. Apart from these sessions, the festival has also organized a writers’ retreat in Paro.
The Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2012 promises to be an exciting experience of literary and intellectual delight set in the inspiring landscape of Bhutan.