MOUNTAIN ECHOES 2011 by Nidhi Mehta
Mountain Echoes 2011, a four-day festival from May 20 – 24 was held to promote the Bhutanese literature. The India-Bhutan Foundation, in association with Siyahi, united some of Bhutan and India’s top literary talent in a packed series of workshops, discussions and theatrics in various locations across Thimpu, the country’s capital for Bhutan’s second annual literature festival.
Lam Kesang Chhoephel, a freelance translator and consultant conversed with Dasho Sheruk Gyetshen, secretary of the Dzongkha Development Commission on the underlying tenet that humanity is the yearning for happiness and the rejection of suffering. Bhutan’s Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, author of Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: A Portrait of Bhutan provided insights into Bhutanese culture and society and revealed her inspiration for writing the book.
Presence of literary personalities, including publishing giant and author of The House of Blue Mangoes David Davidar, author and columnist Shobhaa De and bestselling fantasy novelist Samit Basu was icing on the cake. They engaged with the audience and each other on various literary discussions. Memoirs and biographies were also discussed, as Pulitzer award winner Kai Bird and journalist Namita Bhandare joined with Tehelka Magazine’s Gaurav Jain to share their experiences. Davidar returned later with writer Namita Gokhale, and His Excellency Pavan Varma, India’s Ambassador to Bhutan, delighted the audience with much-anticipated excerpts from their new books and Dr Nitasha Kaul, a Kashmiri writer, released an anthology of poems written in collaboration with students at the University of Bhutan.
Namita Gokhale, Writer and Festival Director, expressed her joy on opening the second edition of the Mountain Echoes 2011. She informed that it is fast becoming a prominent event in the literary calendar of the world and will eventually progress with time. The whole event was considered “another success story” by organisers and certainly provided the Bhutanese literature a pedestal to showcase its literary talent.
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