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We are living at a time when literary festivals are becoming immensely popular across the world- from Berlin to Wales and from Medellin to Jaipur. India now boasts of around twenty literary festivals. Almost every major city in India, even some of the mofussil towns, have one or more festivals. They include Delhi, Chandigarh, Bhubaneshwar, Patna, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Mumbai. While some of them focus on books, some focus on discussions and some on any one literary genre, like poetry. It is a disgrace that Kerala does not yet have a Festival of the dimensions it deserves as a state with a unique literary tradition and a vibrant literary culture. Whatever Festivals it has had have been irregular or have been discontinued. It is in this backdrop that DC Kizhakemuri Foundation has decided to launch the Kerala Literary Festival with support from various other organisations.

The Kerala Literary Festival has been conceived as a rare platform chiefly meant for Malayalam writers of four generations to meet, discuss and debate issues of common concern in these traumatic times when the very fundamental right of expression is being challenged by various regressive forces and their organisations in our society. One of the themes we have chosen to focus on this time is this very challenge to the freedom of artists and writers. The Festival that will also have some eminent Indian writers from outside Kerala, will also look at diverse movements and trends in contemporary literature in its varied genres and forms like poetry, fiction, drama, and literary criticism and other forms of discursive prose besides the kinship between literature and other arts like theater, film and the plastic arts. Both the hegemonic and the subaltern trends will be discussed with equal depth and intensity. Writers and thinkers will look at the emerging trends, evaluate texts and discuss ideas of social and aesthetic relevance to our times. The Festival will be a great meeting of minds, and promises to be an unprecedented get –together of writers and readers, who will exchange impressions and expectations, introspect and retrospect and share their thoughts and dreams in an atmosphere of bonhomie. Cultural programmes on all the three days of the Festival will make it a genuine feast for those who love Kerala’s art, music and performances. While it is our earnest effort to bring a representative cross-section of our writers to the Festival, surely we cannot have every writer in Kerala in this first chapter of the Festival as Kerala is so rich in literary talent. We are confident that all our writers worth the name will become part of the Festival in the long run.

We are happy to invite every real and potential reader of literature, teachers, students and those from every walk of life to be part of this unique celebration of ideas and expressions and take part in the stimulating deliberations on all the three days.