Dhaka Lit Fest

Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF or Dhaka Literary Festival), held at the historic premises of the Bangla Academy every year since 2012, marks a resurgence of Bangladeshi literary culture while vigorously engaging other cultures far beyond our own borders. Dhaka Lit Fest began its journey with a pilot event in 2011 under the aegis of the world famous Hay-on-Wye festival.

The British Council has been collaborating with the Dhaka Lit Fest since its inception as part of Hay Festival International in 2011, and we have been pleased to watch it grow into an independent festival hosted on the historic Bangla Academy grounds, bringing together Bangladeshi and international literary influencers to an audience of 20,000 annually. As the largest international literary platform in Bangladesh, the Dhaka Lit Fest builds on 2,000 years of literary and cultural heritage through encouraging new writers and readers, creating a safe space for all kinds of discussion and dialogue and creating catalyst for future literary endeavours through showcasing and connections.

The British Council continued its collaboration with Dhaka Lit Fest through an outreach programme and roadshow by bringing British authors for talks and workshops in Chittagong and in Dhaka.

By working with Dhaka Lit Fest we aim to enrich the next generation of Bangladeshi leaders and strengthen their link with the UK, while making Bangladeshi literature accessible in the UK by bringing authors and discussions to our premises, we hope that like Dhaka Lit Fest, our sites will be seen as safe spaces for dialogue, critical thinking and freedom of expression.

We are organising several workshops and talks with three UK authors who are coming at the Dhaka Lit Fest. 

Bee Rowlatt

Bee Rowlatt is a writer and broadcast journalist. Her current book In Search of Mary was inspired by the life of Mary Wollstonecraft. It won the UK’s Real Life Reads and made the Independent’s Best Biographies list. It was featured on BBC Meet the Author, PRI’s The World, and described by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen as “terrific—quite unlike anything I’ve read before.”

Bee writes regularly for the BBC, co-wrote the best-selling Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad and is one of the writers in Virago’s Fifty Shades of Feminism. Her public speaking appearances include Jaipur LitFest, Southbank Women of the World festival, Hay Festival, and British Council literary events in Iraq, Norway, India, Mexico, Russia and Palestine. She has four kids and lives in New Delhi.                          


Aamer Hussein

He was born and brought up in Karachi and spent two years in India before moving to complete his education in London in 1970, aged 15. A graduate of SOAS, he has been writing since the 80s. His first collection, Mirror to the Sun, appeared in 1993. He has since published four acclaimed collections, notably Insomnia (2007) and the award-winning 37 Bridges (2015), and two novels, Another Gulmohar Tree (2009) and The Cloud Messenger (2011). A retrospective selection, Electric Shadows, was published by Bengal Lights in 2014. His latest work is a brief collection of fictions entitled Love and its Seasons (2017). He also writes in Urdu.

Aamer is a senior research fellow at the Institute of English Studies (University of London), a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a senior editor of Critical Muslim.


André Naffis-Sahely

He is from Abu Dhabi and was later educated in Britain. The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin, 2017) is his debut collection of poetry. He has also translated numerous works of fiction and poetry from the French and the Italian, including Abdellatif Laâbi's Beyond the Barbed Wire: Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2016), which received a PEN Translates award. He currently lives and teaches in Los Angeles.

Charles Glass

Charles Glass is a writer, broadcaster, journalist and publisher. His books include Syria Burning: Short History of a Catastrophe, The Deserters: A Hidden History of World War II, Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation and Tribes with Flags: A Journey Curtailed. He was ABC News Chief Middle East Correspondent from 1983 to 1993 and has covered conflicts around the world since 1973. His work appears in the New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, Harper's, Granta, Times Literary Supplement and other publications.


Esther Freud

She was trained as an actress before writing her first novel, Hideous Kinky, which was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys prize and made into a film starring Kate Winslet.  After publishing her second novel, Peerless Flats, she was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young British novelists.  Her other books include The Sea House and Lucky Break, and her most recent,  Mr Mac and Me,  won Best Novel at the East Anglian Book Awards. She contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines, and teaches creative writing for the Faber Academy.  

Roderick Matthews

Roderick Matthews has written articles and reviews for a number of British and Indian publications, including the Literary Review, the Observer, the Times of India and Open magazine. His first book, The Flaws in the Jewel: Challenging the Myths of British India was published in 2010, and his second, Jinnah vs. Gandhi, was a bestseller in India in 2012. These were followed in 2015 by The Great Indian Rope Trick: Does the Future of Democracy Lie with India? He has recently finished a fourth – a narrative history of British India. He is 61 and lives in London.