14th Edition of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival Was Inaugurated Yesterday

AKLF 2023 is back on home ground at Park Mansions, a colonial-era architectural heritage of Kolkata. This year’s festival theme is ‘100 Years of Oxford Bookstore’. The festival will continue till 15 January.

The 100-Year logo of Oxford Bookstore was unveiled at the AKLF inauguration ceremony. The logo unveiling session was graced by Quiz Master Barry O’Brien, Actor Dhritiman Chaterji, MP & Ex-bureaucrat Jawhar Sircar, Prof. Sugata Bose, Artist Suvaprasanna and writer Anita Agnihotri. Later on all of them participated in the session named “Much More than a Bookstore” where they shared their relationship and memories with the century-old Oxford Bookstore.

The 100-Year logo of Oxford Bookstore was unveiled by the Dignitaries

AKLF 2023 was virtually inaugurated by Priti Paul, Director, Apeejay Surrendra Group in presence of Maina Bhagat, Director, Oxford Bookstore and AKLF and Anjum Katyal, Director, AKLF.

“Today marks the start of our joyous celebration of books and readers in honour of Oxford Bookstore’s 100th anniversary. After being severely impacted by the pandemic, it is heartening to see Oxford Bookstore rebound to a healthy and vibrant state, brimming with book lovers and buyers. We intend to continue the centennial celebration of Oxford Bookstore throughout the year, and AKLF 2023 is a great place to start. I hope that the 14th AKLF has an impact on everyone’s life in Kolkata and beyond and fosters a love of literature”, said Priti Paul, Director, Apeejay Surrendra Group.

On the occasion Maina Bhagat, Director, Oxford Bookstores and Director, AKLF said, “As the 14th edition of AKLF unfolds a yearlong celebration of the Heritage Oxford Bookstore’s Centenary, it is important to recall and record the iconic institution’s journey over the decades – a journey which reflects the life, times and rich history of our great city”.

Speaking at the inauguration Anjum Katyal, Director, AKLF said, “I welcome you all to AKLF with a sense of hope and faith. I see AKLF, a festival of books, writers and ideas, as a space of hope for a more inclusive society, a space of faith in humanity’s ability to connect as human beings.”

There was a hybrid session regarding ‘Restore, Renovate, Re-use’ which was on the occasion of 100 years of Oxford Bookstore, a discussion on the value of built heritage with the Director of Alliance Francaise du Bengale, Nicolas Facino, Director of Apeejay Surrendra Group, Priti Paul and State Convener of INTACH Kolkata, GM Kapur. The session was moderated by Mukul Agarwal.

The Oxford ‘Para’: The presentation was on the revival of Park Street which was presented by Monica Khosla Bhargava, followed by Barry O’Brien (The Anglo-Indians: A Portrait of a Community) on Anglo-Indians, ‘Calcutta 16’, and the city. The session based on Park Street and its surroundings, with its rich built and intangible heritage which can be considered the heart of the city.

The inaugural day also hosted the international best-selling author Jeffrey Archer. “Jeffrey Archer Unplugged” saw the celebrated author in a virtual conversation with Barry O’Brien.

Poetry Café, a trademark segment of AKLF, began with “Verse and Converse: Poets in conversation, with readings” presented with IPPL was coordinated by Ananya Chatterjee, Nabanita Sengupta, and Sanghita Sanyal across three sessions.

The 14th AKLF will be a four-day literary festival that will feature the best in fiction, translations, poetry, cinema, history, mental health, mythology, gastronomy, dance, history, art, and culture. AKLF also will have a dedicated children’s literature festival, the Oxford Junior Literary Festival, for young book and reading enthusiasts.

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