2nd Irrawaddy Literature Festival – Feb. 2014
There’s an air of excitement in Mandalay, the second Irrawaddy Literature Festival (ILF) will be taking place from 14-16 February and everyone is free to attend. Literally! The event will takes place in the Kuthodaw Pagoda grounds for general public admission.
Following the success of last year’s inaugural event the organisers have enjoyed widespread support as Myanmar rapidly opens up to hitherto unseen freedoms. This year, a host of recognisable names form the line up of authors, including members of AP Writers such as acclaimed Burmese author Pascal Khoo Thwe, Qaisra Shahraz, Michael Vatikiotis, and Jennifer McKenzie.
Jung Chang and Feargal Keene return from last year, and other big names include Louis de Bernieres, Caroline Moorehead and Man Asian Booker winner Tan Twan Eng. Add to the list broadcasters Dame Joan Bakewell and Martha Kearney.
Those in search of the ultimate ‘selfie’ might be lucky to get to see Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was the star attraction last year and now a patron of this groundbreaking event.
”I am delighted to be Patron of the Irrawaddy Literary Festival. The success of the inaugural Festival, in February 2013, demonstrated the importance of this unique literary endeavour, which I hope will become an annual event. I look forward to taking part personally in the next Festival in 2014. The Festival will again provide a spotlight for some of the best of Burmese writing and bring to our attention some of the best of international authors. It is an exciting exchange which can only enhance our literary landscape”, she says.
The venue too is special in one particular way, it houses the ‘world’s largest book’, inscribed on 729 white marble tablets around the grounds.
Says Jane Heyn, founding director, “As with the inaugural Festival, in addition to the literary programme, there will also be a fairground atmosphere, with a host of stalls and exciting entertainment, including a fantastic movie screening each evening. With Lord David Puttnam’s special permission the Festival will present a unique David Puttnam Movie Season, encompassing many of the 20th century’s greatest movies such as Midnight Express, The Mission, The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire, to name just a few of the esteemed producer’s works.”
The ILF has been made possible with sponsorship from numerous businesses and organisations, including YOMA, FMI, Air Bagan, the Htoo Foundation and AGD Bank.