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Hay Festival draws large crowds

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Authors Germaine Greer of Australia and Jung Chang of Britain, along with oral storytellers Jan Blake and Cat Weatherill, drew in crowds, including a large number of children, at the Hay Festival which concluded here on Saturday.

The three-day literary extravaganza, that concluded at the Kanakakunnu Palace, featured poets, authors, filmmakers and journalists who discussed a variety of themes and influences ranging from literature, politics, science, media and films.

Chinese-born British author Jung Chang said she saw the Mao Zadong turning the world of the China upside down.

“There is no reason for anyone in the world to support Mao today when it has come to light that he has been the reason for the death of 70 million people,” said the acclaimed author of Mao’s biography Jung Chang.

Jung, who worked on the book with her husband and historian Jon Halliday, said the great famine of 1958 to 1962 was caused as Mao sold food to Russians and East Europeans in exchange for arms.

Feisty feminist and novelist Germaine Greer compared some of the great works of Shakespeare such as Romeo and Juliet and explained the character sketches with all details incorporated into those characters.

“The audience response has been really good and what we anticipated. We couldn’t have asked for a better attendance of informed and engaged audience,” said Peter Florence, Director Hay Festival.

He recited poems Cactus and Self, which were self-depictions of the emotional and identity turmoil of an individual.

Sampurna Chattarji, who has translated many poems from foreign languages to Bengali, and writes originally in English, also recited her poems.

Sian Mellangell Dufydd also recited her poem in Welsh. Her poems dealt with farmers, their lives and surroundings. She also read out poems Abortion, about a ruined steel factory and The Dilapidated Building, about Paris.

Twm Morys sang a song about her daughter in a beautiful voice, while Vishnu Khare read out his poem. He also wrote a poem named Ambani’s Folly, which criticised about Mukesh Ambani’s new abode.

Simon Armitage entertained and intrigued the audience with his poem about the inequality men face. He observed that women are always considered beautiful, even though men do better deeds.

Farrukh Dhondy, a popular Indo-English writer recited her poem, which was translated from a 13th century poem. It talks about Sulekha, wife of Yousuf. Sulekha is obsessed with her husband so that whatever she says, was metaphor for romantic descriptions about her husband. (UNI)

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