Where art and literature drive many crazy; deep down in the hearts of million book lovers, there lies the fantasy of attending literature festivals all around. These festive revels cheer many to gather at a rostrum of variant opportunities of learning more and of acquiescing immense knowledge. Once one gets to attend such amazing expositions, not only one gets to see new things but also gets to meet many new people with different aspects and approach towards erudition that makes one believe more in learning and spreading knowledge. Henceforth, let’s transverse across the five topmost famous literature festivals held globally each year, which is surely to be added in the bucket list of every philologist and art connoisseur.
The first one in the list is the HAY FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE AND ARTS that originally takes place in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, but its international variations have also sprung up in Colombia, Peru and Spain. It is going strong since 1988 and till date it has been able to put a vehement impact. It has been famously described as “The Woodstock of the Mind” by 42nd US President Bill Clinton. This festival has multiplicated from its Welsh roots to enveloped a number of international sister festivals taking place at different points throughout the year. Its most popular Welsh incarnation takes place over 10 days from May to June. The second most renowned literature festival is the EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL. It has played host to esteemed names such as J.K. Rowling, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie. It is held in August every year in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, which is home to a vast array of events making the Edinburgh festival an epic one too. The third most influential festive felicitation resides in India’s pink city, Jaipur as ZEE JAIPUR LITERATURE FESTIVAL. This one is world’s largest free literary festival, attracting over 8,00,000 visitors and almost 2,000 speakers. Taking place over 5 days each in the month of January, equity and democracy run through the festival’s veins, welcoming together the world’s greatest minds, writers, thinkers, humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders and others. Past speakers have ranged from Nobel laureates J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk and Wole Soyinka, Man booker prize winners Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beauty, to Sahitya Akademi winners Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy. The festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A.P.J Abdul Kalam, his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry and Thomas Piketty.
The fourth one in the list hits the enormous UK-based CHELTENHAM LITERARURE FESTIVAL, which is shelter to a variety of arts and cultural events. Cheltenham is located in England’s scenic Cotswolds region, a nationally designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” The festival was started by the spa manager George Wilkinson, in conjunction with the Tewkesbury-based author John Moore, who served as its first director. The festival currently has the national newspaper ‘The Times’ and ‘Sunday Times’ as its title sponsor therefore, making the full name of the festival “The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival”. It also sees the presentation each year of the Nick Clarke Award for best broadcast interview, as well welcoming literary prize winners to discuss their most recent work. The fifth one in our list is the BERLIN INTERNATIONAL LITERATURE FESTIVAL which has focus on contemporary literature, with children’s and young adult literature playing a significant part in it. It takes place over 11 days each September. It is an event of the “Internationale Peter-Weiss-Gesellschaft” and Berliner Festspiele under the patronage of the German UNESCO committee. Its annual publications come in three parts including the Berlin Anthology, Catalogue and the Scritture Giovani. Apart from these listed festive bashes, one can also hit upon the Texas book festival, Sydney writers’ festival, Brooklyn book festival, International literary festival of Paraty, World voices festival of International literature, Gothenburg book fair, Library of Congress national book festival, Miami book fair, Word-stock: Portland’s book festival, Conrad festival, Istanbul book fair, Buenos Aires book fair, NGC Bocas lit fest, Norwegian festival of literature, and Ubud writers and readers festival.