The Hay Festival, an annual festival of literature and arts in Britain, will be held in Bangladesh for the first time on November 21, giving an opportunity for a dialogue between British and Bangladeshi authors. The festival in Dhaka, originating in Hay-on-Wye in Britain’s Wales and later expanding internationally, aims at bringing together writers and literature enthusiasts to share stories and ideas and to simply mingle, said the organisers. “Hay is a riot of ideas, it is a riot of gossip. It’s a great place to mingle,” said Shreela Ghosh, director of Arts, Wider South Asia, British Council. The Dhaka festival seeks to exhibit the culture and literature of Bangladesh before the rest of the world, said Ghosh at a press conference held at the British Council in the city yesterday. The event, organised by Hay Festivals in association with The Daily Star and British Council, will feature stories and ideas in the spirit of Rabindranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary as well as contemporary literary themes. The Daily Star is the main sponsor of the day-long festival which will be held on British Council premises on Fuller Road. The British Council is the global partner of the programme with Jatrik as the project partner. Hay Festival of Literature and Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye. Often described as the “town of books”, the small town of 2,000 people is known for its 49 bookstores and as a popular destination for bibliophiles. Over 200,000 people attend the annual ten-day Hay Festival at Hay-on-Wye, usually held in May. The festival in Dhaka aims to highlight the culture of Bangladesh and mix it with what the rest of the world knows, said Lyndy Cooke, managing director of Hay Festivals, at the press conference. Speaking at the programme, Executive Editor of The Daily Star Syed Badrul Ahsan hoped the event would herald a new wave of Bangladeshi writing in the English language. Dr Kaiser Haq, a poet and professor of English at the University of Liberal Arts, said the event would be an opportunity for Bangladeshi writers to interact with foreign writers. The Director of The British Council, Rosemary Arnott, also spoke at the programme. Renowned novelists Andrew Miller, Tiffany Murray and Tahmima Anam, among other writers and thinkers, joined forces with the world-renowned festival to inspire a new wave of Bangladeshi literary writing, according to the organisers. While entry to the event is free, visitors need to pre-register at hayfestival.org/dhaka.
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