Jamshedpur, Jan 12: Keeping in view the health and safety of all concerned during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, that is held every year in Kolkata in association with Victoria Memorial Hall, has been put off for now.
As a gesture to mark the year and the iconic festival, a set of five webinars across the three evenings of January 29-31, 2021 will be organised. Details of these will be posted shortly on the festival’s social media pages.
On the development, Chanakya Chaudhary, Vice President, Corporate Services, Tata Steel, said: “We are indeed disappointed to not be able to host the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a responsible corporate, the health and safety of our patrons is our greatest concern. We hope to be back with the next edition of the premier literary meet with increased participation of all our stakeholders.”
Malavika Banerjee, Director of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, said: “The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet will not be keeping its January appointment with the city and Victoria Memorial this year in view of the pandemic. The beating heart of the festival is the congregation of writers from the city and overseas. And the crucial impact of large audiences thronging the festival. Since neither is possible, we will take a pause. We will have five webinars across the two evenings of January 30-31, 2021. Details of these will posted shortly on our social media pages.
Jayanta Sengupta, Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall, said: “Unfortunately, the Lit Meet – arguably the city’s most-anticipated annual cultural event – can’t happen on-site this year. But we can’t let a virus take away our love of reading, so we will be back bigger and better.”
The Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet (TSKLM) was started with the belief that a culturally-rich city like Kolkata needed its own festival celebrating literature and allied cultural pursuits, such as dance, music, recitation, cinema and theatrical performances.
TSKLM has been overwhelmingly received by the people of Kolkata since its inception. The meet has drawn some of the most premier authors and speakers from across India and the world. The literary meet has hosted eminent writers such as Ruskin Bond, Vikram Seth, Paul Beatty, Alessandro Baricco, Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Thomas Keneally, Amitava Ghosh, Gloria Steinem, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dr Venky Ramakrishnan, Joanne Harris, Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee and Javed Akhtar, among several others. The focus has been to present writers from across the globe, writers of as many different genres as possible, alongside speakers representing India. With topics as varied as history, sports, geopolitics and cinema, TSKLM has had something for everyone.
Each evening of the literary meet has been dedicated to the performance arts – with names like Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Pankaj and Supriya Pathak, Farida Khanum, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Shubha Mudgal, among others, performing at TSKLM.
It is a matter of pride that TSKLM has achieved the distinction of becoming the city’s annual date with books and ideas and the overwhelming response has encouraged the organisers to lay emphasis on a consistently-high quality of participants, and an inherent connection with the local cultural ethos.