The second session on the final day of Kolkata Literature Festival 2017 saw a discussion on creative writing. It was in association with the British Council, BEE Books, Wales Arts International and Parthian.
Esha Chatterjee, CEO, BEE Books moderated the discussion. The panel also consisted of Natalie Holborow, the winner of Terry Hetherington, Sophie McKeand, an award-winning self-employed poet from North Wales, Sion Tomos Owen, winner of the Tudor Bursary Award, Gary Raymond, a regular voice at the Wales Arts International and Bengali novelist Kaberi Roychoudhury.
Mr. Alan Gemmell, the director of British Council, India opened the event with his speech.
‘The Valley The City The Village’ is a project in association with the Wales Arts International, under which Bengali, Welsch and English works will be compiled in a book. It is an inter-cultural endeavor which most of the panelists are associated with.
Sopie McKeand, Sion Tomos Owen and Natalie Holborow performed their poems to a captivated audience.
Kaberi Roychoudhury recited to an enthralled hall, “I can leave anything at any time but not the saddened face of my animals and my pen.”
Gary Raymond who has been published in The Guardian and Rolling Stone Magazine remarked, “The cross cultural connections that we are trying to develop are quite different from how it would have been back at Wales.”
When Esha Chatterjee observed that Sion Tomos Owen keeps sketching during sessions, he said, “There are so many things happening simultaneously in Calcutta that it is difficult to comprehend it all. I try to capture as much of it as possible.”
About reading out in Kolkata the poetry written in Wales, Natalie said, “I find no disconnect because poetry makes one imagine. It takes one to different spheres.”
Sophie, for whom this is the first visit to a non-Western country, commented, “We can learn a lot from each other as countries if we follow civic nationalism instead of nationalism. While the latter is divisive, the former opens its arms to others.”
Roychoudhury pointed out how people in Bangladesh suffer from identity crisis about whether to call themselves Muslims first or Bengali first. She mentioned that this is a sad state of events. She added, “I noticed that a lot is different between West Bengal and Bangladesh during my visit.”
The speakers were asked by the moderator about one thing from the City of Joy which they will remember the most. Sion Tomos Owen met with applause from the audience when he answered, “Dhonyobaad”.
‘And Suddenly I Find Myself’ was launched shortly after this. This is her first book launched in India.
A film by Owen was played in the end of the session. It cast Holborow reading her poetry in Kolkata.
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