Auroville’s first Literature Festival to take place from 25-27th August 2023 across the different pavilions in the International Zone of Auroville. It brings together some of the best Indian, International and local writers and poets and a focus on the works of Maharishi Sri Aurobindo: on his 150th year – and his immensely inspiring and multifaceted legacy for India and the world.
Auroville, was launched as a Universal Town of Culture by Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, The Mother (Mirra Alfassa), in 1968. Auroville aspires one day to have an international publishing house among other things as it grows into a city and an the Ideal of Human Unity push the frontier of search and vision further.Maharishi Sri Aurobindo’s 150th birth anniversary is an ideal moment to honor that legacy and bring it to life together with the writing and search of writers and poets from India and the world today.
The Ministry of Culture to make all this possible and the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation for their encouragement and support to take this forward. Equally, we are fortunate to have the Valley of Words Festival and the Chennai International Centre as our partners and advisors regarding the requirements of organizing this event.
The weekend promises to be a truly exceptional experience with celebrated authors and poets like Namita Gokhale, Ranjit Hoskote, George Szirtes, Anne Weber, Karen Jennings, Nandini Sengupta, Sanjeev Sanyal, S. Hareesh, Sudeep Sen and Jennifer Down amongst others.
All book lovers and cultural aficionados can look forward to a rich and immersive weekend engagement. It will be a great opportunity for the youth and college students taking a break after exams to encounter something different and be part of the conversation. A warm welcome is extended to all. For those of you who cannot make to Auroville, the festival sessions will be recorded and uploaded on YouTube. You can catch them all on the festival website at your leisure: https://www.aurovillelitfest.org/.
To get there, the field of culture, literature and enquiry need to be nurtured with the spiritual and pragmatic vision that Sri Aurobindo carried for the future of humanity. Maharishi Sri Aurobindo, after whom the city was named, gave us a treasure of 36 volumes which include his articles as a revolutionary journalist in the Bande Mataram, calling for freedom from British rule, his evolutionary philosophy as in The Life Divine and the Synthesis of Yoga, his path breaking explorations of the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Gita, a 24000 line epic poem, Savitri, along with a poetic treatise, The Future poetry. His social and political thought encapsulated in the Human Cycle and
7 international authors will be participating, 17 from India, with works in translation from Malayalam, Tamil, German & French. 3 brilliant PM Yuva award winning authors are also invited and there will be a special session dedicated to Sri Aurobindo “with about 12 speakers and a book launch. For young and aspiring authors there is a session about publishing with one of India’s important literary agents. Poetry will find place in the festival, at Unity Pavilion. Apart from 4 online sessions all the other authors will be present.
The authors include several prize winners, such as the International BookerPrize for translation, the TS Eliot Prize, the Miles Franklin Award, Prix FrancoisSagan, German Book Prize, JCB Prize for Literature, Sahitya Akademi Awards,Matrubhumi award, the Tagore Prize and the Sri Aurobindo Purushkar andmore. The topics are wide ranging, from history to sustainable planning to timeand destiny. Literature in Tamil and Malayalam will also be showcased in thispacked weekend.
Here are some of the statements from writers coming to the Auroville Literature Festival:
The Auroville Literature Festival brings with it a deep legacy of ideas andintellectual and creative engagement. My instinct says that it will make adistinct mark on the literary landscape.
- Namita Gokhale, Co-founder and Co-director of the Jaipur LiteratureFestival
We all need to be reading, discussing and learning from each other… and help build a sense of a local and global community
- Karen Jennings
Sri Aurobindo was a pioneering thinker and a multifaceted writer and it is appropriate that there should be a literary festival celebrating his works…
- Shreya Sen Handley
It is a place which has all these associations of an attempt to start a new kind of society.
- Ranjit Hoskote
Like the logo, the festival celebrates the unity in diversity which Auroville stands for, and the conscious coexistence of many different strands, many different worlds.
The two-and-a-half-day festival will be held across different pavilions ofAuroville’s International Zone campus: Bharat Nivas, Unity Pavilion and SavitriBhavan. The campus will have stands for the festival and Auroville and SriAurobindo’s books, there are two exhibitions on Auroville and art exhibitions toexplore and he evenings will see a world class dance theatre production by theSurya Performance Lab, an art animation film on Sri Aurobindo by SureshEriyat, with voice-overs by Deepti Naval and Victor Banerjee, and a FiresideChat with Gautham Vasudev Menon.
Registration is mandatory and this will happen at the SAWCHU building as oneenters the Bharat Nivas campus. The sessions will be held at the Sri AurobindoAuditorium. The Author Lounge at Bhumika is where the press can meet andinterview the writers and other delegates.