Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah, Booker Prize winners, Jnanpith awardees and scores of eminent authors from around the world will enrich the fourth edition of 2023 (MBIFL 2023), one of India’s biggest literary festivals, which will get underway here on February 2.
Setting the stage for literary icons, along with stalwarts of arts, media and films, to share their perspectives on key contemporary topics, the four-day event, also known as ‘Ka’ in Malayalam, will feature more than 400 speakers from global literary world who include Man Booker International Prize winners Shehan Karunatilaka and Jokha AlHarthi.
‘MBIFL 2023,’ to be held at Kanakakunnu Palace, coincides with the centenary year of Mathrubhumi, one of the leading dailies of India. The theme of the fourth edition of the event is “Shadows of History, Lights of the Future.” The fest is packed with engrossing and enriching sessions of solos, dialogues, discussions and readings of poetry and prose. MV Shreyams Kumar, Managing Director, Mathrubhumi, is the festival Chairman. P V Chandran, Chairman & Managing Editor of Mathrubhumi, is the Chief Patron of the festival.
This year’s event, planned on a grander scale, will witness a confluence of authors, editors, publishers, actors, writers, poets, filmmakers, musicians, media persons and all those involved in the amazing world of letters, Mayura Shreyams Kumar, Festival Director, said.
Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Tanzanian-born British novelist, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2021 for his compassionate depiction of the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents in his work. His novels depict a culturally diversified East Africa.
Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka won the Booker Prize in 2022 for his second novel ‘The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ that recounts about a dead war photographer on a mission in the afterlife.
Jokha AlHarthi, the first female Omani novelist to be translated into English, won the Man Booker International Prize for her novel ‘Celestial Bodies’ in 2019. Set in an Omani village of al-Awafi, the novel follows the tales of three sisters.
Jnanpith awardees Damodar Mauzo, MT Vasudevan Nair and Amitav Ghosh, who has written historical fiction and non-fiction works discussing topics such as colonialism and climate change, are the other prominent figures at the fest.
Other key speakers at the event include Colum McCann, John Keay, Sjon, Futhi Ntshingila, Niall Griffiths, Raquel Santanera, Archil Kikodze, Alexandra Buchler, Megan Angharad Hunter, Carlos Fonseca Suarez, Beatriz Chivite Ezkieta, Rasa Bugavicute-Pece, Alvin Pang, Avrina Prabala-Joslin, Vamba Sherif, Paulina Stochniałek, Krzysztof Hoffmann, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Jacob Dalborg and Christian Kamill.
Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiagarajan, Mahua Moitra, MP, journalist Pritish Nandy and former cricketer Saad Bin Jung are the other prominent speakers.
Also representing the Indian literary arena will be Sudha Murty, Anindita Ghose, Anita Nair, Shobhaa De, Jeet Thayil and Anand Neelakantan et.al. Malayalam literary doyens such as T Padmanabhan, K Satchidanandan, K G Sankara Pillai, Sarah Joseph, N S Madhavan, and Paul Zacharia will also grace the event.
The list also includes Bennyamin, K Rekha, Alankode Leelakrishnan, Asha Menon, Kalpetta Narayanan, G R Indugopan, CV Balakrishnan, Prabha Varma, Rose Mary, PK Rajasekharan, Sunil P Ilayidom, Santhosh Echikkanam and E Santhosh Kumar.
The attendees from the filmdom and arts include actors Kabir Bedi, Indrans, Siddique, Aparna Balamurali, Madhupal, Joy Mathew and Divya Dutta, directors Sathyan Anthikad and Priyadarshan, art director Sabu Cyril, action choreographer Thyagarajan, lyricists Rafeeq Ahammed and BK Harinarayanan.
Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri, classical dancers Mallika Sarabhai and Alarmel Valli, Grammy Award winner Manoj George and musician Stephen Devassy will represent the performing artistes category.
Motivational speaker Gaur Gopal Das, Malavath Poorna, who is the youngest girl in the world to climb Mount Everest, Captain Gopinath, Karimul Haque, also known as Bike-Ambulance-Dada, and Sister Sudha (Cycle Didi) will be the inspirations at ‘MBIFL’23.
Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP, is the Festival Patron while Devika MS is one of the Festival Directors.
As a prelude to ‘MBIFL 2023’, a lecture series, titled ‘100 Land, 100 Speeches,’ on different topics by illustrious writers and personalities from various fields are being organised across the state.
Well-known journalists and authors Sabin Iqbal and MP Surendran are the curators while filmmaker Rajeev Kumar TK is the artistic director.
Started in 2018, MBIFL is a festival that aims to conduct, celebrate and facilitate constructive conversations by the people, for the people, of the people.