Corporate houses sponsoring literary meets are often instrumental in connecting festival directors with renowned authors, says Malavika Banerjee, director, Kolkata Literary Meet (KALAM).
The six-day literary event, which was jointly organised by Tata Steel Limited and Game Plan from January 21 this year, hosted over 100 speakers including renowned authors like Ruskin Bond, Nayantara Sahgal, Amish Tripathi, Amartya Sen, Gopalkrishna Gandhi and Javed Akhtar.
“Corporates are supportive of whatever we need. They are also generous with their contacts often helping literary meets in signing up renowned authors,” Banerjee said.
The festival this year focused on the theme of “India” and thus featured discussions on the ongoing debate of “growing intolerance” in the country.
Tata Steel came on board as the title sponsors of the six-day-long event only last year before which it was being hosted by Gameplan alone for the past five years since the festival's inception in 2012.
Besides organising the literary meet here, the corporate groups also partnered to curate the 2-day-long Bhubaneswar Literary Meet which began on January 9.
Banerjee said that there was minimal interference and demands on part of the sponsors who themselves were literary enthusiasts.
"They are the most reliable and supportive. They are enthusiastic about literature and make no demands. There is no question of any interference whatsoever," she said.
According to Peeyush Gupta, Vice President, Tata Steel, the active corporate participation expands the scale of the event while boosting growth of art and culture.
“We give them support if needed. The scale of the literary meet increases as a result of our association,” Gupta said.
However, he insisted that their role is limited to a macro-level and that they prefer to give the festival directors complete freedom to pick the theme and authors of their choice.
“We do not get into the specific choices as to who is invited and who isn't. Malavika Banerjee has complete freedom in inviting authors and choosing the themes,” Gupta said. KALAM comes to an end on Monday.