Mumbai, Feb 14 (PTI) From a sex worker-turned-author to a domestic help who is now a writer of global acclaim, over 50 women writers from 17 languages will grace the fourth edition of the Gateway LitFest here next week.

This year’s Gateway LitFest, which is rated as the largest platform celebrating regional language writings, will have a true slice of women power in contemporary literature, the organisers said today.

The three-day LitFest, with the theme ‘Women power in Indian literature’, will begin on February 22 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) here, they said.

The roster of speakers has many Sahitya Akademi Award winners and a Jnanpith winner Odiya writer, Pratibha Ray.

Nalini Jameela, who was a sex worker for long in Kerala and launched herself into the world of letters with an autobiography, and Baby Haldar, a domestic help before she penned her bestselling autobiography, would attend the event.

The other key speakers include Nitu Bhattacharya, who is a DIG in Kashmir, Patricia Mukhim, the editor of a popular Meghalayan daily, actor Neena Kulkarni and leading Dalit- feminist poet Pradnya Daya Pawar.

Another participant is Jacinta Kerketta, an inspiring poet from Jharkhand who has made a mark outside the country too, the organisers said.

The other eminent personalities expected at the event include famed Bengali filmmaker Aparna Sen, actor-director Nandita Das, writers Shobhaa De, Anju Makhija, Devika J, Indu Menon, Kanaka Ha, Karthika VK, Malika Amar Sheikh, Nirupama Dutt, Challapalli Swaroopa Rani, Bina Paul and Temsula Ao.

“The Gateway LitFest has established itself as the largest national platform that brings together talents from different streams of our vast world of literature,” the festival’s director, Mohan Kakkanadan, said.

“This time it is going to be the largest gathering of young and experienced women writers from across the country, representing 17 languages,” he claimed.

Well-known authors from Assamese, Ahirani, Bengali, Bhojpuri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Khasi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Kosali, Malayalam, Marathi, Manipuri, Mythili, Odiya, Punjabi, Sindhi, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil languages will be attending the three-day literary jamboree, he added.

What makes it special this time will be the rich and diverse repertoire of women writers, said the LitFest’s executive director, Joseph Alexander.

“One session is specially dedicated to seven young woman writers who won the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017, while another will bring together those women who made a mark with their candid and open narrations,” he said.

“It is the celebration of our writings as young and experienced authors meet under one roof to debate the literary trends,” said another executive director of the festival, M Sabarinath.

“Despite the multiplicity of our languages, there is a unique unity among them all,” he said, adding that over 200 authors graced the last three editions of the LitFest.

Globally celebrated filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Bengali writer Subodh Sarkar, veteran Gujarati poet Sitamshu Yashachandra, Marathi writer Laxman Gaikwad, Gujarati writer Sachin Ketkar, and Open Magazine editor S Prasannarajan are on the advisory panel and will also be speaking at the event.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.