Nepal Literature Festival 2012

On Day 3 of the Nepal Literature Festival at Nepal Academy, His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche talked about his book Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath and the Living Fully fellowship at the Dabali area. For the Living Fully session, there were no seats so I stood at the corner listening to the talk moderated by Anil Shah. Some of things that I took away from His Eminence’s talk were Do not take your breath for granted and you will learn to live fully. Living fully means living in the present. The messages were simple yet profound and I thought to myself that it was a good decision to have come to the festival.

I got to the Nepal Literature Festival on Day 3 with much excitement. The four festival had kicked off with much fanfare on September 20th and generated a lot of buzz on newspapers, Facebook and especially Twitter (#NepalLiterature). The handle @NepalLiterature was a great medium to follow for the latest information on the festival. The festival garnered international attention and NRNs were keen to follow the festival on social media. A friend in the US was thrilled about the festival and requested me to attend the festival and update him via tweets and later in conversations.

On Day 4, I got to the festival early to listen in on the Reading in the Time of New Media session (and also to get a good seat). For this session, the panelists were Sewa Bhattarai, Aakar Anil, Ujjwal Acharya, Kishor Pahadi and it was moderated by Rajneesh. Most of the conversation delved into how social media has played a critical part in our daily lives with seeking and attaining the latest information and news. Sewa stated that most people today get news from social media sites. During the interaction, Sewa was asked how different new media is from traditional media. She said in new media there is no space constraint and comments are much welcome. Other panelists shared their experience in new media and contrasted that with traditional media and a good discussion ensued between the panelists and the audience.

In the Backyard area, the Audience Lost and Found session was going on. I got to this session towards the end of it and an audience member had just asked the panel of Nischal Basnet, Ujjwal Ghimire and Tsering Ritar Sherpa why science fiction movies have not been made in Nepal. Nischal Basnet (Writer/Director of Loot) mainly cited budgetary reasons and opportunity cost for it. After the session, I asked Nischal when his next movie is coming out; he said he’s currently in the writing phase.

I had heard about the festival first on Twitter and was excited to be at the Literature festival for those two days. Besides the sessions, there were also book launches, book signings and books purchasing. Ncell did a good job sponsoring such a culturally significant program. A couple of literature laureates shared their appreciation for the festival with me. I hope the festival happens again next year and I very much look forward to it.

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