Every city worthy of its name has, at least, one important cultural event. Locarno and Cannes have a film festival; Frankfurt and London, a book fair; Jaipur and New York, a literature festival; Venice and Toyko, an art festival. So, why not Kathmandu? We asked ourselves. That’s how the idea to have a literary festival of our own was born. And we girded ourselves for the first iteration of the festival.
We knew that organizing a literary festival would make for a huge undertaking, but we also knew that we had the vision, spirit, and most importantly, the diligence to make our festival a success. Today, nine years on, the IME Nepal Literature Festival has become a yearly red-calendar affair in the cultural landscape of Nepal.
The first edition of the Festival in 2011 went overwhelmingly well. It was received well by the media, and the turnout was far higher than we had hoped for–so much so that the audience spilled over from the festival hall to the adjoining lawn. Encouraged by the success of the first Festival, we decided to host the event at the bigger premises of the Nepal Academy the year after. That venue served us well for three years. With growing enthusiasm for the Festival over the years among both writers and audiences, the aspiration to take it beyond Kathmandu, which buzzes with various kinds of literary events, became stronger. With a leap of faith, we took the Festival to the scenic city of Pokhara where it continues to be organized to this day.
The Festival has now grown into the largest, most respected, and most popular literary event in the country, with people from Mechi to Mahakali making plans to attend it well in advance and international writers expressing interest to be a part of it.
Now we feel we are ready to take the next great leap, and turn the Festival into a truly South Asian event.