If you’re an avid reader with a penchant for literary events, then we recommend a visit to this charming book-house nestled in the heart of North East India. The White Owl is renowned for curating a diverse array of activities and programs aimed at cultivating a deep-seated love for reading while championing a societal shift wherein books serve as gateways to imaginary worlds and enlightenment. And what better timing than now, as this indie bookhouse, tucked away amidst the scenic hills of Chumukedima in Nagaland, gears up to host the region’s first literary festival — the White Owl Literature Festival and Book Fair.
This collaborative effort between The White Owl Book Lounge, Cambridge University Press and Penguin Random House India will make its grand debut in Nagaland on February 9 and 10 at Zone Niathu Dimapur by The Park. Based on the theme of Echoes of Narratives, the two-day extravaganza is meticulously curated to celebrate the rich tapestry of Northeast India’s history, culture and geography.
“The White Owl Literature Festival is my most ambitious venture. A vision that started with the book lounge now sees fruition in the form of a grand literary event. Nagaland, along with the other northeastern states of India, is a vibrant tapestry of storytelling. Literature, oral and now written, has kept us grounded in our roots and given us the ability to collaborate with other strengths,” Viketuno Rio, festival director.
The festival lineup boasts luminaries like Jahnavi Barua, whose debut collection Next Door was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award; Durjoy Datta, the author of nineteen bestselling romance novels; Theyiesinuo Keditsu, an indigenous feminist, poet and advocate for the revival of Indigenous Naga textiles and women’s narratives; Easterine Kire, a trailblazing Naga poet and author; and Sarnath Banerjee, a pioneering Indian graphic novelist, illustrator and filmmaker, among others.
From workshops and insightful panel discussions to exploring Nagaland’s literary landscape and delving into the intersection of literature and politics, there’s something for every literary enthusiast. Moreover, the festival promises a delectable culinary experience, with offerings from Cafe Captain Americano and Jonathan’s Corner. Notably, student entry is free, while the entry fee is Rs 50.