New entrants to list of lit fests as season kicks off

New Delhi: The literary season is upon us, and the country is awash in festivals this year - with two new ones added to the crowded Delhi lit calendar.

The Hindu is bringing its three-day festival, starting Sep 25, to Delhi -- basically to promote its literary prize launched last year -- and the Kovalam Literary Festival (KLF) is also launching a Delhi edition with the backing of the India International Centre.

There is now indication that corporates see literary festival as intellectual properties which have good shelf life in terms of recall and, hence, a right vehicle to reach premium audiences.

Last week, media group Deccan Chronicle signed up with KLF as its title sponsor.

The Thiruvananthapuram leg of the two festival will now be called the Deccan Chronicle-Kovalam Literary Festival. The Delhi leg will be presented by Financial Chronicle, the multi-edition business daily of the group.

This comes soon after the Catholic Syrian Bank became co-sponsor of the KLF. The KLF has now garnered sponsorships of Taj Hotels and Resorts, Kerala Tourism and ICCR, the cultural wing of the Indian government.

Many publisher like Penguin India, Harper and Westland support such festivals where their authors are showcased.

Binoo K. John, author and founder director of KLF, says the success of the Jaipur Lit Fest as a showcase book event has a lot to do with the new corporate interest in such intellectual properties.

"It is now accepted that literary festivals have a long shelf life because it is a talking point throughout the year and a major reference point. The new corporate interest is a big boost for small festival like Kovalam," he said.

"We have entered the Kerala market with editions in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The KLF offers us a unique platform and synergy to win the hearts and minds of discerning audiences there," said Darshan M., Deccan`s COO.

Lit fests began to be corporatised with the Jaipur fest roping in construction giants DS construction as its main sponsor. After that, Jaipur has become one of the leading international festivals, bringing in almost 125 writers compared to the 20-odd for smaller festivals like KLF.

The DSC literary prize, worth about Rs.25 lakh, is now the biggest prize for South Asian writing. Pakistani writer HM Naqvi won it last year.

The Rs. 5 lakh Hindu literary prize has said that its shortlist for this year will be announced in New Delhi on September 25. The inaugural award was won by Manu Joseph`s `Serious Men`.

On October 4, the two-day Mussourie festival held by Stephen and Tom Alter will start in Mussourie. From November 18-21, the Hay Festival will be held in Thiruvananthapuram -- which is fast becoming a sort of literary capital of the country with two lit festivals.



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