Nottingham has an extremely rich literary background and a vibrant writing scene, being the birth place of Lord Byron and D H Lawrence.  This was the first time an extraordinary event like this had been organised to bring together local talent and to celebrate the achievements of Nottingham’s diverse range of artists and writers. It was a fabulous platform for bringing together the growing number of Asian writers who have had their work published in their mother tongue as well as in English.

Nottingham Festival of Words was held between 9th February and the 24th February 2013 at various venues across Nottinghamshire.  There were a wide range of activities arranged and a huge variety of artists working in different forms were allowed to showcase their skills, including readings, competitions and creative writing workshops.  The event was open to people from all walks of life, age was not a barrier. The work on show appealed to children, adults and all readers of poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Book stalls were set up to both buy and sell books throughout the event.

A key strand of the festival was to introduce local writers and the Indian subcontinent writers to the event’s audience. The Kavya Rang’s Chairperson, Mrs Jai Verma, and Nottingham Asian Arts Council’s Mr Bhavesh Jani, along with their respective teams, worked together with Nottingham Writers’ Studio, Writing East Midlands, The University of Nottingham, Nottingham City Council and Nottingham Trent University to create a showcase for the Asian writers and poets of Nottingham. This was the first opportunity for a range of Asian writers to present their work and be and involved with such a large, mainstream literary festival.

On Sunday 17th February at Nottingham Trent University’s Newton Building, the event started 10am with a book launch. The guests were welcomed by Nottingham Asian Arts Council’s Chairperson Mr Rajesh Sharma. The Programme was anchored by Mrs Jai Verma, who reflected the festival theme of diversity and positivity and the writers were introduced by Mrs Baldish Bilkhu. The books were launched by the Consul General from Birmingham, Mr V S Ramalingam.  The special guest was the Hindi & Cultural attaché from High Commission London, Mr Binod Kumar.  Mr Nat Puri (an Honorary Freeman of Nottingham) and the renowned writer from London Mr Tejender Sharma were also present to grace the occasion. This included the book launch on behalf of 13 writers working in different languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Gujarati and English, and covering a varied range of subjects.  The books on show included anthologies, novels and collections of short stories. The audience was addressed by Consul General Mr V S Ramalingam from Birmingham, who appreciated the work of the writers, volunteers and organisers and expressed his full support.  The General Secretary of Katha UK London, Mr Tejender Sharma, then inspired and encouraged writers in his speech.

The Books were launched at NOTTINGHAM FESTIVAL OF WORDS:

Names                       Title of Books         Description of Books        Languages  

Santokh Dhaliwal    Te Kanu Mar Gaya                   Stories                  Punjabi
Chanchal S Babak  Zindagi Diya Pairan.                Autobiography    Punjabi
Sadia Sethi               Kabhi Naraaz Mat Hona          Poetry                   Urdu
Farzana Akhtar        Dard Ki Neeli Rangain             Poetry                   Urdu
Asi Kashmiri             Urdu Poems                               Poetry                   Urdu
Ahmed Masud          Roshni Hay Kahan                   Poetry                   Urdu
Jai Verma                  Sahyatri Hain Hum                   Poetry                   Hindi
Neena Paul               Talaash                                      Novel                    Hindi
Pushpa Rao              Zindagi Ki Shaam                     Stories                  Hindi
Shivendra Sinha      Basics of Hinduism                 Reference Book English
Roopam Carroll        Sammy the SNAIL                   Children’s Story English
Harminder Nagi        Wish I Had a Magic Carpet .     Poetry                  English
Chandrika Seth        Amazing Countries of World.   Travel Book        Gujarati

The Indian sub-continent has a very rich culture of poetry and this was reflected in the talented local poets on display.  There were two sessions of poetry recital with 25 poets reading their poetry in a variety of languages and on diverse subjects. It was an enriching and intellectual experience which captivated the audience. The first session of poetry was presented by Secretary of Kavya Rang Dr Jugnu Mahajan and, following a lunch break, the second session of poetry was conducted by Dr Jas Bilkhu. The poetry was of very high standard and touched many hearts with its creativity and diversity. It was a unique experience with English translations projected on screen to help the audience. The poems were translated into English by Mr Tejender Sharma. The Hindi & Culture Attaché Mr Binod Kumar said he had heard a wonderful array of poetry here today ranging across reflective, sensitive, optimistic and philosophical themes.             Dr Karar Khan closed the session of poetry on a very positive note.

Name of Poets        Title of Poems                     Languages  

Sandeep Dhir           Obama                                   Hindi
Somdutt Sharma      Sanskar                                 Hindi
Meena Sinha             Khoyaa Ya Paaya                Hindi
Ravi Mahajan         Godhood of any sort .           Hindi
Rekha Vashishtha   Another India                        Hindi
Arun Fakey               Shairi Kehte Hain                Hindi
Ratna Patel               Zindagi                                 Hindi
Ashish Sinha             Ganpati Bappa                     Hindi
Shriharsh Sharma   Janm Din                               Hindi
Jai Verma                  Existence of a Tree              Hindi
Neena Paul               Jaanbaaj                               Hindi
Manorma Jain          Toota Dil                                Hindi
Somesh Chaturvedi Immigration                           Hindi
Chakradhar Rao      Kya Main Le Aati                  Hindi
Sudha Vashishtha   Promise                                 Hindi
Jugnu Mahajan       Jab Desh Jao                        Hindi
Pushpa Rao              Zindgi KI Shyam                  Hindi 
Anushka Shah         Needle Lace                          English
Harminder Nagi        Nottingham                           English
Baldish Bilkhu          Mendicant                             English
Santhokh Dhaliwal The Lost Word                      Punjabi
Chanchal Singh       In Memorium                         Punjabi
Jas Bilkhu                 William Wilberforce              Punjabi
Karar Khan               My matter is the same         Urdu
Asi Kashmiri             Lonely Path                          Urdu
Ahmed Masud          Tears to Help                        Urdu
Shamim Ahmed       Aftermath of Earthquake    Urdu
Farzana Khan          Belongings                            Urdu

Bali Rai, a famous Midlands writer, was the key-note speaker for the event.  It was fascinating to listen to his life experience which he has conveyed in his books.  The way in which he integrates the mixed cultures and city lifestyles he grew up in, bringing together the different aspects of education, social and cultural issues, make it easy to relate to his experiences. He is a great role model for young people looking for encouragement and inspiration.

The creative abundance was continued in the afternoon with the professional Ghazal singer Tofail Ahmed. The Ghazal programme including historic facts of Ghazal was introduced by Prof Ravi Mahajan. It was a very melodious afternoon, with a mixture of pieces including old and new forms of Ghazals from the Indian sub-continent.  The audience really seemed to enjoy Tofail Ahmed’s choice of melodies, classical and innovative styles.  The audience were bewitched and the enjoyment was such that the organisers had to watch the clock carefully in order to vacate the venue on time!

Finally, Nottingham Asian Arts Council’s Mr Bhavesh Jani thanked everyone for supporting the event.

Report Kavya Rang Festival of Words 16.3.2013 by jai

1 24 5 6 7 8 9 10