She’s always professed an abiding love for books, literature and music and walked that talk when she became the first to write out a sponsorship cheque when the Jaipur Literature Festival was being started. Of course it also tied in neatly with her interests in education and the Oxford Bookstores she owns, probably why Priti Paul is now so gung ho about the fifth edition of the Kolkata Literary Festival which is majorly funded by her own Apeejay Group. While she’s still very supportive of the Jaipur Lit Fest, this year Priti is going all out to raise the bar at her own Kolkata event with a number of creative firsts.
So while we hear Aamir Khan will be the guest speaker for the tribute organised for the 125th anniversary of legendary statesman and scholar Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, she’s also spreading the span of the event to public and heritage spaces like the Victoria Memorial, Town Hall, St John’s Anglican Church and Tollygunge Club. While she’s says some of the thrust owes to her her feeling that Kolkata was “losing its literary edge” any competitiveness between literary fests can only be good news for lovers of literature — or so we hope. Among the highlights of this year’s edition are undoubtedly the launch of Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s book My Father, Our Fraternity: The Story of Haafiz Ali Khan and My World, besides the promised gabfest on the Raj between combative Brit author Farrukh Dhondy and seasoned Indophile Sir Mark Tully.
Should be a cracker.