The Canadian South Asian Literary Festival 2023: A Brief Report

Organised by the noted author and media-personality Tahir Gora, TV host Halima Sadia and their dedicated team, the inaugural edition of the Canadian South Asian Literary Festival-2023, held from August 25-27 in Brampton, attracted major talents and footfalls from the different demographics and regions that characterise South Asia and its rich and complex realities. 

The multilingual, multi-session, mega event proved to be a critical success in terms of serious and engaging conversations on things political and literary, spanning continents and cultures and writing systems encoded in the rich traditions of the languages spoken in the region, in the context of their host country Canada. There were discussions and independent poetry symposia in Punjabi, Hindi, Sindhi, Bengali, Urdu, Kashmiri and English. The flavours were enchanting!

“It was an overall fruitful and productive exercise,” says Tahir Gora, also the CEO of Tag TV, main sponsor of the Fest, “We could conduct meaningful conversations on identities, geographies, linguistic and literary heritage of the writers coming from South Asia and hope to take forward this legacy in coming years through the support of authors and readers alike here. South Asian diaspora is strong and so is their contribution to the Canadian landscape. Diversity is the key term.”

The High Commissioner of India, H.E. Sanjay Kumar Verma and Consul General of India, Mr. Siddhartha Nath inaugurated the Nalanda Awards Ceremony and the festival. There were important sessions, well-attended and moderated, on issues such as South Asian Literature outside South Asia, Canadian Landscape for South Asian Writers, Revisiting the legacy of Iconic Canadian South Asian Writers, Revisiting South Asian Peace Possibilities, South Asian Poetic Sensibilities in Canada, and Society’s well-being by South Asian Writers. The festival also arranged Kashmiri Writers’ Conclave, Bengali Writers’ Conclave, Punjabi Writers’ Conclave and Sindhi Writers’ Conclave. The peer participation was another interesting feature. The discerning audiences loved it all---dialogues, poetry, prize distributions.

Prominent South Asian origin writers such as Anubha Mehta, Ashfaq Hussain, Ujjal Dosanjh, Sam Mukherjee, Dheeraj Sharma, Irfan Sattar, Meena Chopra, Barrister Hamid Bashani, Silmy Abdullah, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Aruna Papp, Sumaiya Matin, Ajaib Singh Chatha, Dr. Sunil Sharma, Subrata Das, Surjit Kaur, Hasan Mujtaba, Manoshi Chatterji, Vidya Dhar, Juss Kaur, Shailja Saksena, Kushal Mehra and many others participated in it. 

Also 21 Nalanda Awards were given to the literary figures for their singular achievements.  

1- Best Author - Ujjal Dosanjh
2- Best Novelist – Anubha Mehta
3- Lifetime Achievement for Urdu Literature - Ashfaqe Hussain
4-  Best Contemporary Poet - Irfan Sattar
5- Best Kashmiri Author – Hamid Bashani
6- Best South Asian Non-Fiction Author – Ishtiaq Ahmed
7- Best Research Author – Dheeraj Sharma
8- Best Autobiographer – Aruna Papp
9- Best contributor for Punjabi Language – Ajaib Singh Chatha
10- Best Canadian Bengali Author – Subrata Kumar Das
11- Best Hindi Poet - Meena Chopra
12-  Best Online Literary Magazine - Setu
13-  Best Literary Graphic Designer - Shivam Lakhanpal
14-  Best Literary Art Author - Juss Kaur
15-  Best Literary Activist - Vidya Dhar
16-  Best Sindhi Poet - Hasan Mujtaba
17-  Best Punjabi Poet - Surjit Kaur
18-  Best Literary Anchor - Dr Shailja Saksena

1 comment :

  1. Definitely!South Asian diaspora is growing strong in Canada with each passing year...and this first-of-its-kind festival just fulfilled the need of the hour!
    Kudos to the pioneers: Tahir Gora and Halima Sadia!!

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