A first-of-its-kind crowd-funded literary festival – Ukiyo Literature Festival – came to an end in Imphal successfully. Youth from different backgrounds got together to organize the two-day festival in a bid to bridge the gap between the authors and readers of the region and outside.
“In spite of the abundance of writings and narratives, there were some gap – a limited exposure of native writings to readers outside of their respective communities, a thorough engagement between writers and writings from outside the state and its readers and an impaired culture of reading that calls for restoration,” Armstrong Chanambam, one of the organizers, said.
Chanabam said these are reasons why they decided to hold this kind of literary festival in Imphal.
“The passion for reading outside of school textbooks is one that has suffered malnourishment due to the heavy importance placed on report card achievements. How do we regain our own intimate ties with the literature of our region and reach out actively to the stories and narrations from another?” Chanabam added.
Though initially, the organizers got the assurance from the individuals and corporate sectors, later many didn’t keep their promises forcing the youths to chip in themselves to organize the festival in time.
“Many backed out or didn’t donate as expected or promised. Individual team members had to chip in, some more than the others, by rushing out to family, friends and colleagues. But the festival will be bigger next year as people now have an idea of what we are doing,” Chanabam said.
The literature festival was inaugurated by internationally renowned dramatist Ratan Thiyam and it was attended by some of the best known authors of the region and outside including Dhruba Hazarika, Pradip Phanjoubam, Mamang Dai and Mitra Phukan among others.
Among others Jerry Pinto was a centre of attraction. His debut novel Em and the Big Hoom for which he won the Hindu Literary Award, 2012, his second novel Murder in Mahim were sold out within the two-day festival.
The members behind organizing the fest were Martin Thokchom, Rakesh Konjengbam, Parul Tayenjam, Natali Ningthoukhongjam, Tutu Thokchom, Jemini Irengbam, Sandip Yengkhom, Rishi Laishram, Niraj Laishram and Reggie Thokchom.