The Government of Sikkim has announced a new initiative, the Sikkim Arts and Literature Festival - Khangchendzonga (SALF), in collaboration with Teamwork Arts, to be held at the historic town of Yuksam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from 6 to 8 May 2023.
The programme aims to celebrate the literary landscape of the region, which has a rich history of stories, lore, art, and poetry. The festival will also address important local and global concerns including climate change, wildlife conservation and biodiversity, history, culture and ethnicity, poetry, architecture, folklore, mental health, writings from the North East, fiction, young adult literature and more.
“The artistic and literary treasures of Sikkim are deeply ingrained in the cultural matrix of India and the first landmark edition of this Festival will open them up for the entire country and beyond to explore and partake of,” PS Golay, Chief Minister of Sikkim said in a press statement.
Teamwork Arts is also the producer of the popular Jaipur Literature Festival which annually brings together a diverse mix of writers, thinkers, humanitarians, and politicians, to champion the freedom to express and engage in debate and dialogue.
SALF will be held in the foothills of the majestic Khangchendzonga mountain range and will host a lineup of well-known speakers such as Hoihnu Hauzel, journalist and writer from Manipur; Ankush Saikia, Shanghai Writers' Association's 2018 fellowship recipient; Nawaraj Parajuli, Nepalese poet known for popularizing the slam poetry genre in Nepal; Rosy Chamling, academic and writer; Moushumi Kandali, author, bilingual short story writer, art historian; and translator Priyadarshini Gurung who works at the remote sensing and climate change division of Sikkim State Council of Science and Technology. Shobhaa De, celebrated Indian author and columnist; Anand Neelakantan, author of Asura: Tale of the Vanquished, and Shombi Sharp, United Nations Resident Coordinator for India, will also be participating in the festival.
Speaking about choosing the Khangchendzonga National Park as the primary location for the festival, Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director at Teamwork Arts said it was an effort to focus on climate crises and the need for environmental awareness and positive action.
The programme will also feature some celebrated artists such as Harpreet, who sings original musical compositions in Hindi, as well as in Punjabi, Bengali, Assamese, Rajasthani and Haryanvi; Bipul Chettri, an Indian singer-songwriter who sings in the Nepali language and plays Himalayan folk music with a contemporary touch; the Kutle Khan Project, a unique collective of Rajasthani folk-sufi musicians led by Kutle Khan, a multi-talented musician and many more. Local performers from Sikkim will also take the stage.