The Fourth Edition of the Ooty Literary Festival begins this weekend.
All the literature lovers in the city will be heading to the Nilgris for the fourth edition of the Ooty Literary Festival (OLF). This year’s festival will deal with English and Tamil titles across various genres including wildlife, environment, poetry, fiction, and history. They also plan to include sections on journalism, travel and management. The two-day event is held at the 163-year-old Nilgiri Library with several celebrated writers like CS Lakshmi gracing the event. Read on, as Meenakshi, a member of the subcommittee, offers insightful details about this year’s fete.
Tell us more about this year’s theme?
There is no specific theme as such. But, we will use this platform to celebrate the Mahatma with songs and brief references—this being his 150th birth anniversary year.
Who is your target audience?
All the residents of the Nilgiris—in Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri. Also, we have been lucky since the very beginning to have been able to hold the Lit Fest in the best possible venue: Nilgiri Library.
What are some of the major attractions in this edition?
Besides Ambai’s keynote address as the recipient of the OLF 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award, which promises to be spell-binding, we have a concert by Nithyashree Mahadevan. The vocalist will pay homage to memorable pieces by her grandmother, famed playback singer DK Pattammal. The students of St Jude’s School from Kotagiri will also be singing the OLF anthem and a few of Gandhiji’s favourite hymns.
How does one go about curating such a grand event?
Mumbai-based writer Jerry Pinto, who has been our advisor since the beginning, picks the authors from around the country. The committee and sub-committee also recommend writers who live in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore, and Chennai, etc. We rarely invite authors from outside the country.
How do you ensure that youngsters flock to this festival?
Every year, the OLF picks one English Medium School and one Tamil Medium School and they will be visited by authors whom we invite for the festival. This year, popular children’s authors Khyrunnisa A, Veera Das, Umanath Selvam, and Pranay Lal will be visiting St Jude’s Public School & Junior College in Kotagiri and St Anthony’s Higher Secondary School in Coonoor. They will have interactive sessions with the children—read from their books, host Q & A sessions, etc. Moreover, we have personally invited students from Emerald Heights College and Providence College to attend the festival—hopefully, this opportunity will inspire them. We strongly feel that listening to an author speak and then reading one of her/his books is a truly life-changing experience.