Literary stalwarts from across the world are set to share their unique perspectives on globally relevant issues such as environmental conservation, natural history and spirituality at the eighth edition of the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival to be held in Bhutan from August 25.
An initiative by the India-Bhutan Foundation, in association with Indian literary consultancy, Siyahi, the three-day festival will enable the audience to engage in myriad forms of storytelling.
"Over the last eight years Mountain Echoes has established itself as one of the most thoughtful, moving and evocative celebrations of literature anywhere on our planet. The shared narratives of Bhutan and India, and of mountain regions everywhere, expand the space for insights across cultures and geographies," festival co-director and celebrated author Namita Gokhale said in a statement.
Major themes that will dominate the festival this year include natural history and environment, business and leadership, fashion, magic and mentalism, food, spirituality and Buddhism. A special inaugural ceremony will be held in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, on August 24, the organisers said.
Australian author Markus Zusak, known for international best-sellers such as The Book Thief; Francesca Beard, a London-based writer and performance poet; American television host and author Padma Lakshmi and noted Indian author Ashwin Sanghi are among the leading personalities set to attend this festival of ideas, creativity and culture.
The highlights from the Bhutanese delegates will include ace photographer and filmmaker Pawo Choyning Dorji, Khenpo Sonam Bumdhen of the Central Monastic Body, and front-runners of the Bhutanese fashion world Chimmi Choden and Chandrika Tamang.
Other well known authors set to attend the 2017 edition of the festival include Prayaag Akbar, award winning journalist and author of the bestselling book Leila; leading mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik, Sahitya Akademi Award winner Jerry Pinto and Sharanya Manivannan, author of the critically acclaimed The High Priestess Never Marries: Stories of Love and Consequence, among others.
"The vision of the festival is to present a confluence of literature, art and music from both India and Bhutan," Siok Sian Dorji, festival co-director and Founder of the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, said, adding, “Masterpieces on canvas, through music and performances, or literature, there's something for everyone. The festival, as always, is free for everyone to attend."