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Around 350 speakers from India and abroad will take part in the upcoming third edition of the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2020, to be held here over four days starting January 30, the main organiser of the event said on Monday.

The theme of this edition of the festival is “Shrinking spaces, Transcending letters”, which “attempts to identify and celebrate the cognitive efforts to resist the sustained onslaught on democratic discourse, and elevates the Letter, which has and continues to inspire literature across cultures and civilisations.”

The festival will host nearly 40 foreign speakers, 200 representing different generations in Malayalam, and 100 from the rest of India.

The list of participants include Booker Prize jury member Lemn Sissay; the first woman of colour publisher in Britain, Margaret Busby; one of the most influential LGBT persons in the UK as well as one of poetry’s greatest modern voices, Dean Atta; one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors, Alexander McCall Smith, and former Zimbabwean cricketer Tatenda Taibu, to name a few.

Mathrubhumi Group Joint Managing Director and festival patron M.V. Shreyams Kumar told IANS that this would be a “green literary festival”.

“We have paid a huge sum of money to the State Electricity Board to draw additional power lines and there will be no generators used this time. Solar power also will be sourced. Last year, we used 20,000 litres of fuel for the generators. No plastic material in any form will be used,” said Kumar, a former two-time legislator and son of the legendary Kerala socialist leader and Rajya Sabha member M.P. Veerendra Kumar.

“Another feature of our festival is this is a paid festival, as entry is through tickets,” he added.

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