Centenary of Mathrubhumi, talks on three classics to mark the prelude to MBIFL 2023


The 4th edition of the four-day MBIFL is to begin on Feb 2

The centenary of Mathrubhumi, one of India’s leading media houses, and commemoration of 100 years of three literary classics—Çhandalabhikshuki of Kumaran Asan, The Waste Land of T S Eliot and The Prophet of Khalil Gibran—will mark the grand prelude to February 2-5 Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL 2023) at Kanakakunnu Palace here on Wednesday.

One of India’s largest cultural events now into its 4th edition, MBIFL will bring together global literary icons and formidable names in art, media, politics, social work and films to engage in absorbing conversations on an array of live issues.

Kerala Culture Minister Shri Saji Cherian will hoist the festival flag at 5 pm on February 1, heralding the beginning of the Litfest that has created a deep imprint in the literary world.

The sessions of MBIFL will begin with the keynote address by Jnanpith laureate M T Vasudevan Nair at 10 am on February 2. At 6 in the evening, Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will formally inaugurate the festival.

Eminent speakers will talk on ‘Chandalabhikshuki’, ‘The Waste Land’, and ‘The Prophet’, and how profoundly they influenced the literary landscapes since they were published over a century ago. Enlivening the evening, cultural programs, including Manipuri classical dance PungCholom and dance drama Raas Leela, will be staged to enthrall the gathering.

Mahakavi Kumaran Asan’s ‘Chandalabhikshuki’ (1922), a touching poetic narration of a woman’s pangs in a caste-ridden society who ultimately finds solace in the teachings of the Buddha, has been considered a literary classic in Malayalam.

Published in 1922, ‘The Waste Land,’ which won Eliot the Nobel Prize in 1948, is regarded as an incisive comment on the bleakness of post-war European history. Khalil Gibran’s magnum opus ‘The Prophet’ (1923), a book of 26 poetic essays, has been translated into more than 100 languages, including Malayalam.

MBIFL 2023, (also known as ‘Ka’ in Malayalam), will witness a formidable line-up of Nobel and Booker Prize winners and Jnanpith awardees, who will be among more than 400 eminent names in creative fields.

The theme of the event is “Shadows of History, Lights of the Future.” The fest is packed with engrossing and enriching sessions of solos, dialogues, discussions, conversations, and readings of poetry and prose. There will also be exciting entertainment programs that feature amazing musicians in the evenings.

On the first day of MBIFL, Tanzanian-born British author and Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah will speak on “Shadows of History; Lights of Future” while Booker Prize winner Omani author Jokha AlHarthi will give her perspective on “Fiction as a Tool for Social Change for Arab Women”, and Colum McCann on “Fiction and Contemporary Politics.”

The list of speakers on the inaugural day also includes Jnanpith awardee Amitav Ghosh on “Stories of the More-Than-Human: Fiction in an Age of Planetary Crisis,” and writer Sudha Murty on “Lights of Future: MBIFL Inspirations.”

Amitav Ghosh will also share his insights on “Life and Writing” in a conversation with Shajahan Madampatt while Sudha Murty will be engaged in a free-wheeling chat on “Words of Wisdom” with Milee Ashwarya.

Kerala Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas and poet Sreekumaran Thampi will also speak on different topics on the first day of MBIFL 2023.

British historian and journalist John Keay will talk about “Conquering the Roof of the World” in a tete-a-tete with Pooja Nair and Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri will share musical thoughts with music researcher Ravi Menon on February 2.

The festival will conclude on February 5 with Goa Governor Shri P S Sreedharan Pillai addressing the valedictory session.

Mr MV Shreyams Kumar, Managing Director, Mathrubhumi, is the festival Chairman, while Mr PV Chandran, Chairman & Managing Editor, Mathrubhumi, is the Chief Patron. Mr P V Nidhish is the Festival Patron and Mayura M S and Devika M S are the Festival Directors.


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