2nd virtual edition of Hyderabad Literary Festival

An artistic universe and creative space confronts the pandemic

Hyderabad Literary Festival
Hyderabad Literary Festival 2020 Image: hydlitfest.org

The 2nd virtual outing of the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) has been live from 28 January 2022. This is the second consecutive year that the much-loved literary event is being held online due to the widespread disruption to the cultural scene caused by the Coronavirus crisis.

The 12th edition of the literary event, which goes on till the 30th of January, consists of book discussions, panel sessions, and other literary events streamed live through its Youtube channel (youtube.com/c/hlf-india). 

Although the organizers and participants were hoping and looking forward to an on-ground festival their plans were again disrupted by the relentless pandemic. The HLF organizing committee was reluctant to try out the hybrid model and decided to stick to the digital version for the second year in a row. The festival directors are aware of the widespread digital fatigue but last year’s virtual edition was actually a big success with greater national and international participation than the previous on-ground versions.

The United Kingdom is the guest nation for this year’s HLF. The audience can look forward to the contribution by the British Council; the National Centre for Writing, Norwich; and the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. The focus Indian language for 2022 is Punjabi. A few panel of the discussions will focus on the North Indian state including, ‘Lest we forget 1984’ on the Sikh riots, and ‘Amritsar – A City in Remembrance’ in which photographer Raghu Rai will share his insights and talk about his recent book by that name.

HLF 2022 is dedicated to the late Ajay Gandhi, founder of Manthan, a thought-provoking discussion platform and a close supporter of the festival since 2013. The opening on the evening of 28 January included a tribute by outspoken classical musician and writer TM Krishna, followed by a talk on ‘The Artistic Universe: Creative Spaces Within and Without.’

The Red Curtain International theater group, in association with the Brazilian Os Satyros group, will present an hour-long interactive play, ‘The Art of Facing Fear: World United,’ with global participation and performances by 20 actors from 5 continents. It is set in a future after the Coronavirus pandemic and will encourage viewers to share tributes to their loved ones, and also provide them with an opportunity to share and voice their deepest fears regarding the pandemic crisis.

Economics Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, artist Cheyenne Oliver, author Balaji Vittal, journalist Kaveri Bamzai, actor Divya Dutta, author Kavitha Rao, musician Remo Fernandes, Siddharth Mallaya, and Nandana Dev Sen are some of the other interesting speakers and participants in this year’s Hyderabad Litfest. The HLF 2022 will also contain storytelling and interactive workshops for teenagers and children along with an art exhibition and several movie screenings.

For online registration and detailed schedule, visit www.hydlitfest.org

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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