Imagine the world


Hay Festival Dhaka took place 14–16 November 2013 in the historic grounds of the Bangla Academy in Dhaka.

Now in its third 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 engaged with our vibrant, argumentative and politically savvy audience. 2013 will see some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers at this fresh, energetic festival: they include Tariq Ali, Ahdaf Soueif and Pankaj Mishra.

The interconnectivity of words and images and fresh forms of expression were some of the themes this year. The programme includes 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. A new wave of Bangladeshi writers and poets writing in English are launching their debut books, including Sharbari Ahmed, Farah Ghuznavi, Munize Manzur, Saad Z Hossain, Srabonti Narmeen Ali, Ahsan Akbar and Sadaf Saaz.

Preview in The Daily Star     Review in The Daily Star     Review of the final day of the festival in The Daily Star

Review in Dhaka Tribune    Review in Dhaka Tribune      Review in Dhaka Tribune

World Literature Today

 The Telegraph Day 1          The Telegraph Day 2         The Telegraph Day 3

Dates for the festival next year are 13–15 November 2014.

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 talks with Bengal Lights' Khademul Islam.

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    In Other Tongues

    Over 45 languages are at risk of being lost forever in Bangladesh. Join this 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 discuss 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 will enthral with the interconnections of words and images.

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    The Mystic Soul

    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 with launching 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