2nd virtual edition of Hyderabad Literary Festival

An artistic universe and creative space confronts the pandemic

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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

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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