Thiruvananthapuram is set to host one of the largest and most significant literary festivals in India, Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters, bringing together over 100 international and Indian writers, speakers and performers at the Kanakakkunnu Palace on Feb 2-4, 2018.  Held at the historic Palace and Nishagandhi Auditorium, the event will be spread across the heritage property’s sprawling compound with a number of related activities like book releases, book-signing sessions and readings.

“Our vision is to bring together and facilitate a confluence of great minds, thoughts and ideas. We seek to nourish and nurture this festival into one of the largest and most influential cultural events in the world where literature, ideas and concepts are discussed, tales told to the accompaniment of music, theatre, performances and also partaking of food of the fabled Malabar coast,” said Mr M P Veerendra Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Mathrubhumi and the chairman of the festival committee.

MBIFL will have writers and speakers from over 10 countries, apart from leading Indian writers and a who’s who of Malayalam literature. Over the 3-day event, writers of prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction, artists and academics, essayists and environmentalists, reporters and editors will conduct readings and recitals besides participating in meaningful debates and dialogues on a multitude of topics. Apart from high-profile conversations, choreographed reading sessions, augmented reality sessions and impromptu performances, there will be workshops by masters and an exploration of traditional Kerala cuisine. Besides serving as an annual platform for the best in Malayalam, Indian and world literature, MBIFL will tap into Kerala’s young and new talent, helping the young and aspiring writers rub shoulders with masters.

“Literature has real value. It appeals to a more discerning audience. The Hay Festival here a few years ago was a huge success. It is time we established a durable institution that showcases Kerala as a place of ideas and culture. A lit-fest is not for visitors alone; it will also energise the vibrant reading culture in the state,” said acclaimed writer and former diplomat Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, one of the patrons of the festival.

Co-curated by writer-editor C P Surendran and Sabin Iqbal, a senior journalist, the festival will reflect on historical and contemporary concerns, scientific progress and civilisational discourses, the environment, among others. There will also be engaging storytelling sessions and amusing word games for children. Rajeev P I, Executive Editor,  Mathrubhumi, Surendran and Sabin are Festival Directors.

Mathrubhumi Kathapuraskaram with Rs 2 lakhs in prize money for the best story is also being held. Those in the age group 18-30 can send their stories in Malayalam. It can also be mailed to mystory@mbifl.com. The last date is January 20. A 2nd prize of Rs 1 lakh and 3rd prize of Rs 75,000 will also be awarded. Winners will be announced at the valedictory ceremony of the festival.

Into its ninth decade of media interventions wherever Malayalees reside, Mathrubhumi has played a critical role in shaping and evolving Malayalam literature and language. MBIFL is a celebration of our inherited syncretic culture and an initiative to take forward the legacy of literature, words and its potency.