Kolkata is considered as the cultural capital of India. It is the home of intellectuals, authors, readers, poets and critics. The most prominent evidence of this is the International Kolkata Book Fair, where over 20 lakh Kolkatans visit over a period of 12 days to buy books and celebrate literature in the purest form. Kolkata hosts several International Literature Festivals. However, there hasn’t been any prominent stage for its own local literature and its varied hues. To fill this void and establish a platform, Kolkata’s oldest bookstore, Oxford Bookstore, in association with Patra Bharati, organized the Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob in 2015 and since then has become an integral part of the city’s social and cultural calendar.
Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob pioneers in providing an interactive platform for the voices of Contemporary Bangla Literature, encouraging and involving young people with different aspects of Bangla literature, and familiarizing them with the nuances of Bangla as a literary language, which is considered one of the most mellifluous and ornate languages of the world. The Utsob showcases the multitudinous gems that make Bangla literature a treasure trove of cultural and literary excellence.
Says Mr Swagat Sengupta, Director Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob, “Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob is in its fifth year after having firmly established itself in the global map of Bangla literature with its first four editions. The response and enthusiasm in the last four years have made us believe that our initial goal of passing on the literature and cultural legacy to the younger generation is on course to getting achieved. The exponential growth of the Utsob in terms of its length and categories of events in its every edition is testimony to this positive outlook. We value our partnership with Patra Bharati which is now in its fifth year. Their continuous endeavour to expand the reach of Bangla Literature through this pioneering initiative is truly inspiring. We also feel we have been able to help people rediscover the pleasure of stories, books, reading, understand the true value of a book with our various similar initiatives and created a platform for people to engage and discuss different literary and cultural ideas. We look forward to seeing all the Bangla lovers from all over the state come to the festival and make it truly memorable.”
As Apeejay Bangla Sahityo Utsob enters its fifth year, the festival aims to grow even bigger and has made its audience an integral part of the curating process. The curation of the festival, which brings together traditional and modern ideas has been immensely supported by Rabindra Bharati University, Jorasankho who have extended their support by becoming venue partner for the festival. Both ABSU and RBU have come together to uphold the rich culture, heritage and tradition of Bengal and present them in different and innovative ways for the young and the old. Our social media live feed will take the festival all over the world into the screens of all Bangla enthusiasts who would like to listen to their favourite authors speak at the festival.
Over the years, the festival has been graced by eminent authors, renowned film directors, poets and musicians covering all the facets of Bangla literature. Eminent authors Sankha Ghosh, Shirshendu Mukherjee, Sanjib Chatterjee, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Samaresh Majumdar, Imdadul Haq Milon, Bani Basu, Pracheta Gupta, Ranjan Bandyopadhyay, Prafulla Ray, Srijato, Anish Deb, Himadri Kishore Dasgupta and Subodh Sarkar amongst others; renowned film directors like Goutam Ghose, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Mainak Bhaumik; popular Bengali musicians Nachiketa and Surojit Chatterjee; actors Barun Chanda, Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Abir Chatterjee, Riddhi Sen, Swastika Mukherjee and Amrita Chattopadhyay have graced the festival. Honorable Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata Janab Zokey Ahad has also been part of the festival.