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Auroville Foundation announces Auroville Literature Festival to start with a diverse line-up of Indian and International authors from 25-27th August 2023

Auroville’s first Literature Festival will start 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 focuses 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 the Ideal of Human Unity pushes 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 it 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 inquiry 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 a 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 Booker Prize for translation, the TS Eliot Prize, the Miles Franklin Award, Prix Francois Sagan, German Book Prize, JCB Prize for Literature, Sahitya Akademi Awards, Matrubhumi award, the Tagore Prize and the Sri Aurobindo Purushkar and more. The topics are wide ranging, from history to sustainable planning to time and destiny. Literature in Tamil and Malayalam will also be showcased in this packed 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 and intellectual and creative engagement. My instinct says that it will make a distinct mark on the literary landscape.

· Namita Gokhale, Co-founder and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival

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 of Auroville’s International Zone campus: Bharat Nivas, Unity Pavilion and Savitri Bhavan. The campus will have stands for the festival and Auroville and Sri Aurobindo’s books, there are two exhibitions on Auroville and art exhibitions to explore and he evenings will see a world class dance theatre production by the Surya Performance Lab, an art animation film on Sri Aurobindo by Suresh Eriyat, with voice-overs by Deepti Naval and Victor Banerjee, and a Fireside Chat with Gautham Vasudev Menon.

Registration is mandatory and this will happen at the SAWCHU building as one enters the Bharat Nivas campus. The sessions will be held at the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium. The Author Lounge at Bhumika is where the press can meet and interview the writers and other delegates.

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