Lit fest: Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, known for directing recent Bollywood hits such as Three Idiots and PK, will be at this year’s Mountain Echoes literary festival.

This year’s festival will be dedicated to the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

According to an Indian media report, some of the other speakers that could be attending the literary festival include bestselling author and entrepreneur Ashwin Sanghi, journalist Bahar Dutt who is also the sister of journalist Burkha Dutt, actor Kalki Koechin, columnist Suhel Seth, and even the mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

“This is a just a teaser,” said an organiser of the event, Mita Kapur, in reference to the speakers.

From the Bhutanese side, the confirmed speakers for this year’s event include the director of the language and culture institute, lopen Lungtaen Gyatso, academic and historian Dr Karma Phuntsho, photographer and writer Yeshey Dorji, and photographer Pawo Choyning Dorji.

Other speakers include former secretary of the Dzongkha Development Commission, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen, researcher Dr Yonten Dargye, historian khenpo Phuntsok Tashi, and wildlife enthusiast and conservationist Tshering Tempa.

One of the local organisers, Siok-Sian Pek Dorji, said that a final list of speakers will be compiled by a committee by the end of this month.

It was also pointed out that new and emerging writers will also be featured in this year’s festival. Like previous years, the festival will also serve as a platform to launch new books, both local and Indian.

Given its popularity, a poetry reading session will also be included for both English and Dzongkha poems.

It is also planned to have at least one-two sessions in Dzongkha.

This year’s Mountain Echoes festival will be held from August 19-22. An initiative of the India-Bhutan foundation in association with Siyahi, this will be the sixth edition of the literary festival.

By Gyalsten K Dorji