In a bid to go beyond binaries and bringing together different identities and sections of the society, Delhi will host its first-ever queer literary festival on December 7-8. 'The Rainbow Lit Fest - Queer & Inclusive', conceptualised by author Sharif D Rangnekar, was conceived on the belief that "literature and art should speak for as many as possible, particularly those who aren't usually heard."
It will see participation from over 75 exponents of prose, poetry, art, music, dance and cinema.
"The lit fest essentially aims to engage with the truths of identity and diversity, and while drawing on the distinctions, we wish to address the common ground of humanity. There is no better way than literature, art, poetry, music and talk to bring such topics to life!" said festival director Rangnekar, who is also the author of "Straight To Normal - My Life As A Gay Man".
The festival will be held at the Gulmohar Park Club here. The venue is significant as it saw the early risings of the gay movement in 2001 at the office of the Naz Foundation, an NGO that has been at the forefront of the battle against Section 377.
Some of the participating speakers will include authors Devdutt Pattnaik and Nemat Sadat, and filmmakers Nandita Das and Onir, who will share stories and ideas seeking to stitch together a more informed narrative of diversity, existence and co-existence.
Panel discussions and talks will be interspersed with screenings of iconic films like "U for Usha" by Rohan Kanwade, the Konkona Sen-starrer, "Monsoon Date" by Tanuja Chandra, "I Am Sanjo" by Jijo Kuriakose and the most-awarded silent LGBT silent film, "Sisak" by Faraz Ansari.
Also part of the line-up are dance performances, a puppet show, a drag act and three music performances by the traditional Nizami Brothers, the 12-member Manzil Mystics and one of the most diverse rock bands in the country - 'The Original Knock-Offs'.
The fest is backed by an eight-member advisory committee -- Anjali Gopalan (Founder, Naz Foundation), Apurva Asrani (National Award-winning filmmaker, film editor and screenwriter), Maya Sharma (author and activist), Parmesh Shahani (Founder, Godrej India Culture Lab), Saleem Kidwai (historian and queer activist), Saif Mahmood (author, activist and lawyer), Vivek Mansukhani (educationist and theatre personality), and Zainab Patel (Manager, D&I, KPMG).
'The Rainbow Lit Fest' will be co-presented by Embrace: Music Justice Arts, a platform Rangnekar curates, and Epic India, the event firm of the festival's creative director Pankaj Malhotra.