10 Best Literary Festivals of India that Every Book Lover Must Attend


Image – British High Commission/Flickr

Each year literary festivals take place in many parts of the country to draw large numbers of readers, writers, playwrights, and editors, who gather to exchange ideas with like-minded people. Most literature festivals feature opportunities to meet and polish your skills with your favorite authors and include extensive storytelling sessions and other engaging activities for children and young adults, to encourage a true love of reading.

Several Indian cities commemorate the literary richness of the country and conduct annual festivals. Not only conversations and debates but also cultural acts such as music and performances with literary leaders, authors, thinkers, etc are held here. Most of India’s literary festivals intend to popularise regional writers’ work with backing from internationally renowned personalities. Each state has at least one literature celebration held at its capital, organized by India’s Ministry of Culture, so check out your state’s next one. It is also a fantastic incentive to travel around. This list is for you if you want to experience the best of all the Indian literary festivals.

1. Jaipur Literature Festival

Literary Festivals of India - Jaipur-Literature-Festival
Image-Kirk Kittell/Flickr

The Jaipur Literature Festival is a magnificent festival of ideas and is described as ‘the biggest literary exhibition on Earth.’ It has turned into a global sensation in the past decade, with about 2000 speakers and over a million book enthusiasts from around India and from other parts of the world. In the pink city of Jaipur at Diggi Palace, this five-day extravagance is a delightful experience. Writers from all over the world come to make this place the prime spot for all book enthusiasts. It is the finest choice if you have never attended literary festivals, as it features everything, from book readings to panel discussions and stimulating speeches. Jaipur Literature Festival has had writers like Call Me By Your Name author Andre Aciman, Life Of Pi which was written by Yann Martel, and creator of Calling Sehmat, the book that prompted the Bollywood movie, Raazi, Ramachandra Guha, highly regarded Indian author, historian, and biographer and many more discuss their books and interact with readers.

2. Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival

Literary Festivals of India Apeejay-Kolkata-Literary-Festival
Image-Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia

Organized every January by Oxford Bookstore and hosted by a range of authors from around the world, the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival must not be missed by bookworms. The AKLF line-up is always a pleasure as it harbors dignitaries from recipients of the Pulitzer Prize winners to journalists. The celebration marked its 10th anniversary recently with writers like David Davidar, Anuja Chauhan, and Naseeruddin Shah, a few of whom were highly regarded as panelists.

The events are recognized for delivering an incredible combination of panels for writers, workshops, music and dance, and many other amusing activities. The fact that it also organizes workshops for young authors is one of the aspects that make it even more unique. Outstanding names like Shashi Tharoor, Ramachandra Guha, Devdutt Pattanaik, and Bon Okri are some of the previous speakers in that festival. This celebration transmits the City of Joy’s rich cultural and literary legacy.

3. Times LitFest

Literary Festivals of India Times-LitFest

Times LitFest is an annual festival for writers, journalists, book enthusiasts, and lecturers. As one of the best in the country, this illuminated fest has flourished. Journalists Bachi Karkaria and Namita Devidayal saw the notion of this literary festival together. The Times lit Fest is an event that lasts three days with a new theme every year. Arianna Huffington, Akhil Sharma, Amish Tripathi, Anupama Chopra, and Ashwin Sanghi took part in one of the themes “Power As Hero and Villain” with sessions organized around it. The entry is free of charge for this event. The festival also features debates on mythology, history, crime, fiction, storytelling, romance, and modern interactions. To focus on many dimensions and facets of illustration, painting, parenting, gender, sexuality, etc., as well as panel discussions, Times LitFest provides a range of workshops. The festival organizes a wealth of the country’s literature, movies, and music and promotes dynamic dialogues and debates.

4. Khushwant Singh Literature Festival

The literary festival, first held in 2012, was exclusively named after the legendary writer and is currently celebrated every October. Since Khushwant Singh wrote most of his work in Kasauli, it is was only fitting to organize it among the gorgeous hills.

It connects figures from several walks of life, including Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil, Shobhaa De, Anupam Kher, Coomi Kapoor, Dr. Dilip Donde, Bishen Singh Bedi, Bachi Karkaria, and more. Kushwant Singh Lit Fest’s premise or topic changes annually to facilitate all types of discussions and debates. While on one side of this hill there are sessions and workshops with writers, the other side features music entertainment, and exciting performances. You can enjoy this lovely fest and read your favorite books in the lap of the wilderness.

5. Bangalore Literature Festival

Literary Festivals of India - Bangalore-Literature-Festival
Image-Sujatha Bhagath/Wikimedia

The Literary Festival of Bangalore celebrates reading and writing and takes place in ‘Namma Bengaluru’ in November every year, immersing itself in the city’s literary environment. Under the winter sun in the Garden City of India, book worms and bibliophiles are welcome to meet writers from all around – local, national, and worldwide. The Festival is city-owned and honors the creative energy that it offers and celebrates the diversity of literature, bringing it into conversation with the brightest brains in India and outside. It includes numerous Indian and international authors who gather here to share experiences and experiences. The main festival event is attended by bibliophiles from around the country. Book collectors from all over the country are invited to participate in the main activities of the festival. The contest begins with written papers and the top 20 teams select several intensive literary questions leading to a winning group.

6. Valley of Words, Dehradun

Literary Festivals of India Valley-of-Words,-Dehradun
Image Source

This literary festival in the center of the hills is more than just an excuse to get away from the busy city life. Dehradun brings together artists and authors from around the world, offering an amazing combination of culture and natural beauty. It offers people from diverse disciplines of art and literary works, three days in the valley, ranging from authors such as Anand Neel Kanth and Sagarika Ghose to performers such as Rahul Dev and Sorabh Panth. VoW is an open and inclusive festival with no entrance fees. It opens up a universe for young adults, storytellers, bloggers thespians, photographers, painters as well as craftsmen. The fest organizes concerts and hikes, promotes local crafts through its shows, and celebrates all kinds of creative expression. VoW celebrates different ways of thinking and knowledge by creating a forum to listen to new writers. It allows the first-time authors, translators, and narrators- space, time, and support by presenting books and facilitating talks and discussion with distinguished writers.

7. Goa Arts And Literary Festival

Literary Festivals of India, Goa-Arts-And-Literary-Festival
Image-Frederick Noronha fredericknoronha1@gmail.comFoll/Flickr

If a literary fest with your favorite books and sunsets and waves by the beach sounds like your perfect dream- this is the place for you! GALF is a non-profit organization that has been fully volunteered every year since 2010. It’s now become a magnet for the top writers in the country for political and social discourse. In the middle of this city’s culture, it takes place at the International Center Goa. This event offers to provide you with your cultural fullness, lectures by famous writers, poets, and painters. The Goa Arts And Literary Festival focuses on Goan and diaspora literature as well. Emergent and well-known scholars such as Amitav Ghosh, Amish Tripathi, and Teju Cole have been welcomed there before. Goa is known for its beaches, beautiful architecture, and unique culture, and is usually one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. But many things are less known: a flourishing theatre, musical, and film culture for some of India’s top artists and authors.

8. Himalayan Echoes: Kumaon Festival of Literature & Arts

Image – Himalayan Echoes/FB

The Kumaon Literature & Arts Festival brings together writers from India and around the globe as well as a distinguished local essence with established young voices from Uttarakhand. It is a unique convergence of words and compelling ideas in a gorgeous location. In contrast to other events, this event is defined by the strength of its voice, the intimate crowd, and the wonder of its environment. The festival also offers the opportunity to learn about, and experience one-on-one interactions with ecological, socio-cultural, art, musical, cinematic, sports, and wildlife writers and specialists.

This is India’s only “Green” Festival where the curators believe in open spaces for conducting meetings with mountain views of the Deodars and oaks instead of the conference rooms or enclosed tents. They provide birdwatching lessons, forest walks, and heritage paths. Emphasis is put on local craftsmen and art and crafts of the region, whether it be weavers, artists, or Uttarakhand organic farmers. They are a festival that does not contain plastic, with mineral water in glass bottles and tea in paper cups. Dustbins painted by school kids are distributed throughout the festival and people are aware that their surroundings need to be clean.

9. Kerala Literature Festival

Image-Amarjith Mohan/Wikimedia

The Kerela Literatur Festival (KLF) is regarded as the “most prominent celebration of word, story, and idea” and is situated along the coast of Kozhikode facing the Arabian Sea. Except for the literary festival, this is a cultural show with performances by famous artists from all over the world. To engage participants in vital dialogues concerning literature, environment, culture, art, film, music, and technology, the festival offers a series of seminars and interactive activities. On the nights, several performers and bands celebrate and play music from all over the world. Environment and climate change were at the forefront of KLF 2020. As a guest nation, KLF 2020 invited Spain, and the literature concentrated primarily on Tamil texts.

10. Queensline Lit Fest, Mumbai

Wonderful sunsets, fancy discussions, or debates with the sea breeze that blows your hair. Is any better way to demonstrate your passion for literature than with a beautiful glass of red wine in your hand and views of the spectacular skyline of Mumbai? The Queensline Lit Fest, which is hailed as India’s first marine literature celebration, offers literature enthusiasts a chance to share their love for books amid the ocean. The three-day festival showcases some of India’s biggest names sharing remarkable stories. Onboard the brand new addresses of the Mumbai sea – Queensline Neverland and Queensline Sea YAH — ships with a capacity of 400 people each.

Art, literature, and culture are embedded in the DNA of Mumbai. When paired with the silhouette of the skyline of Mumbai it provides for an ideal combination in which great minds come together and debate or deliver speeches on different subjects. Magnum opus of Shripriya Dalmia Thirani, the owner of the Queensline Neverland and Queensline Lit Fest saw some of the top minds from the literary world having an intellectual discourse about famed works. 

These literature festivals are a must-visit when you’re in any of the states. They aim to unite the past with our contemporary lives now, the real with the imagined and the spoken with the written. Literary festivals have become a great center for all literature aficionados and aspiring writers with a growing passion for books and expanding love of writing.

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  1. How wonderful to think about these festivals and what could be……..but we are all plagued by this pandemic, so all we can do now is pray that we get through it, that all will get vaccines, and someday we return to these special festivals.

  2. I can imagine what a treat these festivals would be
    But one comes to know about them when it’s over
    They need to be advertised well in advance


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