Imagine the world


Hay Festival Dhaka takes place 20–22 November 2014 in the historic grounds of the Bangla Academy in Dhaka.

Now in its fourth year, Hay Festival Dhaka has grown to span three full days. Taking inspiration from Bangladesh's great literary tradition while broadening its scope, writers from the region and further afield engage with the vibrant, argumentative and politically savvy audience. 2014 will see some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers at this fresh, energetic festival.

The interconnectivity of words and images and fresh forms of expression were some of the themes in 2013. The programme included local and international authors, writers, graphic artists and activists including Hasan Azizul Huq, Syed Shamsul Haq, Eliot Weinberger, Nadeem Aslam, Syed Manzoorul Islam, Rosie Boycott, Romesh Gunesekera, Mario Bellatin, Aamer Hussein, Tahmima Anam, Peter Pannke, K Anis Ahmed, Florence Noiville, SJ Harris, Sarnath Banerjee, Rahul Bose, Karrie Fransman, Tishani Doshi, Arundhathi Subramanium, William Sieghart, Prajwal Parajuly, Shaheen Akhtar, Rimi Chatterjee, David Shook and Ned Beauman.

Hay Festival Dhaka

Panel discussions address how we define world literature and its intersections with politics and faith, as well as highlighting various forms, such as graphic storytelling. A great array of translators show us how to make our best works available to the world beyond, and some of the brightest of South Asia's new talent join us.

Hay Festival Dhaka also has many exciting events for children. A special focus as always will be on languages – over a dozen languages will be celebrated, including vulnerable ones from Bangladesh and further corners of the globe. In the words of Welsh national poet Gillian Clarke: ‘To be here is a privilege. This is a space where language and writing matters– life and death matters – and that’s an amazing aspiration.’

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    A Life in Letters

    Renowned political commentator, activist, novelist and film-maker Tariq Ali talked with Bengal Lights' Khademul Islam.

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    In Other Tongues

    Over 45 languages are at risk of being lost forever in Bangladesh. Hay Festival Dhaka 2013 featured bilingual dialogue with activists, experts, and the people who speak them, to celebrate the richness and diversity our languages in Bangladesh.

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    Egypt and Beyond

    Writer and politician Ahdaf Soueif and philanthropist and forward thinker Willian Sieghart discussed Egypt and Beyond, analysing the situation in the Middle East with Zafar Sobhan.

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    Graphic Fiction

    More than words – top graphic storytellers Sarnath Bannerjee, Karrie Fransman, Samit Basu and SJ Harris enthralled with the interconnections of words and images.

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    The Mystic Soul

    There was exploration of the spiritual path through different traditions with David Burrell, Patrick Laude, Arundhathi Subramanium and Ana Cochiarella.

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    New Writers

    Exciting new writing in English from Bangladesh was celebrated, with launches of novels, short story collections and poems galore.


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2013 highlights

  • Pankaj Mishra
  • K Anis Ahmed
  • Aamer Hussein
  • Peter Pannke
  • SJ Harris
  • Florence Noiville
  • Rahnuma Ahmed
  • Sarnath Banerjee
  • Lubna Marium
  • Nadeem Aslam
  • Eliot Weinberger
  • Tishani Doshi
  • and many more
Hay Festival Dhaka 2013