Culturally among the richest states of India, Odisha has always been at the forefront of iconic works of Indian literature, from Jaydev’s Gita Govinda, to Sarala Das Mahabharata, to the path-breaking works of poets such as Sitakant Mahapatra and Ramakanta Rath, and fiction writers such as Prativa Ray in the modern era.
It is to celebrate this immense richness that the Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet (BLM) was launched in 2016, with the inaugural edition held at Lalit Kala Akademi on January 9 and 10, 2016.
The idea was to pay homage to the best of Odia literature, while also going beyond the confines of the purely literary and bringing on board such varied areas of interest as theatre, dance, music, cinema, journalism, and politics, all of which directly or indirectly affect literary pursuits.
Among the participants at the inaugural edition were Devdutt Pattanaik, Arabinda Behera, Rajdeep Sardesai, Derek O’ Brien, Avirook Sen, Nil Madhab Panda, Sugata Bose, and Anant Mahapatra.
On January 20 and 21, 2017, the second edition of Tata Steel BLM was held at the Trident, and featured such jewels of the literary world as Amitav Ghosh, Nayantara Sehgal, Debi Prasanna Pattanayak, Sitakant Mahapatra, Kiran Nagarkar, Anant Mahapatra, and Paramita Satpathy. Alongside them were a host of luminaries from various allied fields, such as actor Rajit Kapoor and filmmaker Suman Mukhopadhyay, journalist Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, and international authors like Stephen Kelman and Albert Forns.
The third edition is bigger and better, and will be held from January 11-13, 2018, also at Trident Hotel. Participants include the legendary Ruskin Bond and Manoj Das, Mark Tully, William Dalrymple, actors Nandita Das, Kirti Kulhari and Divya Dutta, and journalists Bachi Karkaria, Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose.