"Asia and Africa today"
- is a scientificl monthly journal (in Russian)
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Included in Russian Science Citation Index on
WoS platform, and EBSCO Publishing.
ISSN 0321-5075. Published since July 1957.

"Asia and Africa today" № 12 2020

DOI 10.31857/S032150750012803-5
Аuthor Anna A. SUVOROVA
Dr.Sc. (Philology), Head, Department of Asian literature, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )
Abstract:    Why is it that the literature festival has become so important to the national cultural circuit? Are literature festivals telling us more about the state of contemporary writings than about literature itself? It would seem so if numbers count. Many people who do not read books in general throng to literature festivals to update themselves. Festivals have burgeoned all over the world during the past two decades. While some have lasted only for short periods, new ones keep appearing. In every case, the goal is the same: to show, in a regular, ongoing manner, the latest developments in national or international contemporary literature so as to ‘benefit’ local authors and audiences.
   This perhaps is the defining aim of a literature festival. But there is always more to a literature festival than mere literature. Over the past decade, however, their ubiquity has often been questioned; as has their apparently repetitious, elitist nature. Some charge that festivals of this nature are motivated more by the demands of cultural tourism than their avowed art-world purpose of linking local literary practice and taste to international standards. A recurrent complaint of authors antipathetic to contemporary trends in literature is that it is an elaborate fraud perpetrated on the public by elitist organisers and critics. These writers object less to the festival as a forum or a platform than to the fact that in recent decades, it has just been a podium for providing entertainment in the name of literary arts. They feel that festivals of this type have taken a disastrous turn away from their ‘original’ agenda towards social and political interests. Rightly objecting to the self-promotional antics, they fail to recognise the irony and desperation in the best works of literature, ignore whole tranches of less sensationalist yet powerful literature and are rather closed to the preference of literature originating beyond the traditional centres.
Keywords: fiction, South Asia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, enlightenment, Western influence, “soft power”
Pages 76-77