For three days in January, every year, Chennai sees frenetic activity with writers, novelists, artists, performers and literary enthusiasts descending upon this coastal city of Tamil Nadu. The Hindu Lit for Life takes over the metropolis and its people with performances, conversations, discussions and workshops.
In 2010, The Hindu began its first-ever edition of this Literary Festival. The brainchild of Dr. Nirmala Lakshman, Director, The Hindu Group, a Festival that started as a one-day show in 2010, has burgeoned into a three-day bonanza, hosting brilliant authors and thinkers from all over the world.
The Festival has expanded its reach every year exploring fiction, non-fiction, politics, history, arts, cinema — in fact all genres that celebrate ideas. Over the course of its journey, The Hindu Lit for Life has enriched the literary space in Chennai by looking at books and beyond.
The Festival reflects the spirit of our times and celebrates free speech and expression. The idea of the Festival is to connect literature to the masses. In that sense, both in terms of curation and execution, it is as inclusive as possible, focussing on regional literature as well.
An important highlight of the Festival is the annual The Hindu Prize for Best Fiction. An eminent jury comprising critics and writers reads hundreds of books submitted for the Prize to arrive at a shortlist of five. The winner is announced at The Hindu Lit for Life every year.
Past winners include Manu Joseph, Rahul Bhattacharya, Easterine Kire, Kiran Doshi, Jerry Pinto, Anees Salim and Ashok Srinivasan.
The three-day event also includes a Children’s Fest. Authors of children’s books and resource persons hold workshops on a range of topics including storytelling and creative writing. The Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Awards are given away during the Festival.
Previous winners include Ritu Khoda, Vanita Pai, Priya Kuriyan, Sujatha Padmanabhan, Vishaka Chanchani, Prabha Mallya and Venita Coelho.
In 2016, The Hindu Lit for Life introduced the Annual Lecture Series. The first annual The Hindu Lit for Life lecture was delivered by eminent historian and writer Ramachandra Guha. The series is intended to engage and explore important issues of the day with thought-provoking lectures that will inspire and expand the minds of the audiences.
January 2018 will also see The Hindu Lit for Life hosting the first Tamil literary festival in association with The Hindu Tamil. The Hindu Lit for Life Tamil will include presentations, screenings and conversations that will evoke pride in the Tamil language and literature.
What sets The Hindu Lit for Life apart from other festivals is its focus on the literary. Striking a perfect balance, The Hindu Lit for Life enables a rounded and eclectic engagement with the world of books and its very happening and dynamic culture. In all, the Festival endeavours to provide audiences a fabulous literary experience.