Bhutan: Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2017 to focus on global issues, to be held from August 25-27

NITN 15 Jun 2017

Bhutan: Mountain Echoes Literary Festival 2017 to focus on global issues, to be held from August 25-27
Thimpu, Jun 15 (NITN): The eight edition of the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, a literary, arts and cultural festival, will be held in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, from August 25-27 this year.

The Festival brings together writers, biographers, historians, environmentalists, scholars, photographers, poets, musicians, artists, film-makers to engage in cultural dialogue, share stories, and create memories in the shadow of the beautiful mountains.

The Festival will be inaugurated on August 24 in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan.

Mountain Echoes literary festival was established under the patronage of the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, and the eighth edition of the festival aims to provide a collaborative platform for cultural dialogue and encourage the exchange of ideas, stories and experiences, according to the organisers.

The organisers said that the 2017 festival will explore globally relevant issues such as environmental conservation, natural history, spirituality, and the global evolution of textiles and design traditions, among others, thereby bringing together a range of expertise and perspectives on stage throughout the three days.

Festival Co-Director and author Namita Gokhale said, “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.”

Headliners for the eighth edition include Markus Zusak, an Australian author known for his 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 Indian author Ashwin Sanghi.

Bhutan will be represented by Kyabje Khedrup Rinpoche Ugyen Tenzin Thinley Lhendup, 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.

Festival Co-Director and Founder of Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, Siok Sian Dorji said, “Over the past seven years, Mountain Echoes has achieved tremendous positive feedback in Bhutan and encouraged participation from people across the country. Masterpieces on canvas, through music and performances, or literature, there's something for everyone. The festival as always is free for everyone to attend.”

Bhutanese author and Festival Co-Director Tshering Tashi added, "Over the years, the festival has boosted tourism here whilst also giving the people of Bhutan a window to global literature. 2017 will see an increase in the number of Bhutanese delegates at the festival and we are excited to offer the world a glimpse into our varied cultural heritage through the numerous gatherings planned.”

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 are also expected to attend.

The event, an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation, in association with India’s literary consultant Siyahi, is presented by the Jaypee Group and powered by Rajasthan Government's Department of Tourism.

Festival Co-Director Pramod Kumar KG, Managing Director of Eka Archiving Services Pvt. Ltd, a museum consulting firm said, “Mountain Echoes goes beyond just literature and books. It is a festival that celebrates ideas, creativity, and culture. Each year we aim to make the festival bigger than last year, curating a program that is enriching and inspiring. This year will be no different as the eighth edition promises to keep audiences engaged through a series of thought provoking workshops and sessions.”

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas, Mountain Echoes literary festival's panel of advisors includes Bhutan’s Secretary of Ministry of Information and Communications Dasho Karma W Penjor, authors Kunzang Choden and Malvika Singh, publisher Meru Gokhale, Member of Parliament Pavan K Varma, and development specialist and writer Sonam Wangmo Jhalani.

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