The one rea­son to head to Bhutan this Au­gust

The 2018 edi­tion of Moun­tain Echoes Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val takes place in Thim­phu

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

In­clud­ing a panel dis­cus­sion on the Hi­malayan yeti. Au­gust in Bhutan is per­fect for watch­ing the rains blan­ket the hills over a cup of tea—or bet­ter yet, meet­ing your favourite au­thors and get­ting in­spired to write at the Moun­tain Echoes Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val in Thim­phu. It will run from Thurs­day, 23 Au­gust to Satur­day, 25 Au­gust, 2018. That’s 35 ses­sions in three days, over five venues.

The most tow­er­ing pres­ence at the fes­ti­val is, of course, al­ways the Hi­malayas, and this year’s edi­tion cel­e­brates a half­cen­tury of diplo­matic ties be­tween two coun­tries shaped by this mighty range. In­dia and Bhutan’s re­la­tion­ship will take cen­trestage at the in­au­gu­ral ses­sion, with Bhutan’s am­bas­sador to In­dia, Gen­eral V Nam­gyel, his coun­ter­part Jaideep Sarkar, and Dasho Che­wang Rinzin, deputy cham­ber­lain to Bhutan’s King Jigme Khe- sar Nam­gyel Wangchuck.

There is no bet­ter plat­form to dis­cuss the Hi­malaya’s most fa­mous mys­tery: the yeti. Daniel C Tay­lor, au­thor of Yeti: The Ecol­ogy of a Mys­tery will chat about the abominable snow­man with fes­ti­val co-direc­tor Tsh­er­ing Tashi, and Karma Singye Dorji, writer of Dream­ing of Prayer Flags: Sto­ries and Im­ages from Bhutan. The hum­ble bum­ble­bee also gets a spot­light in a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween au­thors Dave Goul­son and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Karma Sam­drup, with more wildlife in­sights from con­ser­va­tion­ist Valmik Tha­par.

Also ex­pect a trib­ute to 50 years of the Bea­tles in In­dia, Ratna Pathak Shah and San­jna Kapoor on the evo­lu­tion of theatre, and a roundtable con­ver­sa­tion with vet­er­ans of the Bhutanese and In­dian film in­dus­tries.

It’s not all talk and no play—turn up for per­for­mances by spo­ken word poet Sarah Kay, Bhutanese rap­pers Kezang Dorji and May­nia Dhubee OG, and a per­for­mance of Vikram Seth’s po­ems and James Thurber’s short sto­ries by Naseerud­din Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah.

Make haste to reg­is­ter for the work­shops: Sarah Kay gives a crash course in spo­ken word po­etry, San­jna Kapoor has a kids’ theatre work­shop, Sonam Wangmo Jha­lani cov­ers the el­e­ments of fiction with the texts of Willa Cather and Michale On­daatje, and Karma Jurmi runs a cal­lig­ra­phy in­tro­duc­tion to the dzongkhag tshugyig script.

Now in its ninth edi­tion, the fes­ti­val is an ini­tia­tive of the In­dia-Bhutan Foun­da­tion and In­dia’s Siyahi lit­er­ary agency, pre­sented by the Jaypee Group and pow­ered by Rajasthan’s depart­ment of tourism, un­der the pa­tron­age of Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

Thim­phu will host the Moun­tain Echoes Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val 2018. Photo: An­drew Stra­novsky Pho­tog­ra­phy / Getty Im­ages

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