The Curtain Raiser of the 14th Edition of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival Held at the Oxford Bookstore


The event witnessed Shashi Tharoor speaking about his memories associated with the century-old Oxford Bookstore and having an engaging conversation on his books

Kolkata: At the century-old Oxford Bookstore on Park Street, Kolkata, the curtain raiser of the eagerly anticipated fourteenth edition of the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF) was hosted with a dialogue between author and politician Shashi Tharoor and historian and author Rudrangshu Mukherjee.

Curated by the Oxford Bookstore, the theme of the curtain raiser of the fourteenth AKLF was “100 Years of Oxford Bookstore: Cover to Cover.” The event saw Shashi Tharoor reminiscing about his memories of the Oxford Bookstore. Tharoor also spoke at length about his books with Rudrangshu Mukherjee. Foreign affairs columnist Ishaan Tharoor, who has a long relationship with Oxford Bookstore, was the special guest at the event.

Speaking at the event, author and politician Shashi Tharoor opened up about his relationship with the Oxford Bookstore. “I was in Calcutta from class nine to eleven. That was the time I used to come to the Oxford Bookstore and read books at the library here. Then as parents when we would visit Kolkata my kids would absolutely devour books here. And the third phase of my relationship with the Oxford Bookstore started when I started coming here for events. This is the venue where I have done all sorts of discussions. It remains a brand that I care about,” he said.

Speaking about his books during the event author and politician Shashi Tharoor said, I am already a former minister, I can be a former MP, but I do not ever want to be a former writer.

Commenting on his experience at the Oxford Bookstore historian and author Rudrangshu Mukherjee said, “My relationship with the Oxford Bookstore goes back a very long way. As a child I used to come to the library here and became an avid reader. Then when I joined college and wanted to browse for books this was the only place in Kolkata where I could do so. And the next phase of the relationship started when the store came up with this lovely event space. In a city where institutions are fading away very fast I hope Oxford Bookstore has a second centenary.

Speaking at the event, Ishaan Tharoor Foreign affairs columnist and son of Shashi Tharoor, said, “My 14-month-old daughter is sitting here today. And she is the fourth generation of our family to come to the Oxford Bookstore. As a child when I used to live in the US, we would come to Kolkata on our summer breaks and my mother would bring me here. Oxford Bookstore remained a part of our childhood summer imagination and as grownups, the books here helped us build our imaginations too.

Anjum Katyal, Director of the 14th AKLF said, “A stimulating conversation between two prominent thinkers of our country, starting with reminiscences and personal experiences of Oxford Bookstore as we celebrate its 100 years, is the best kind of curtain raiser for AKLF. This is just a taste of what lies in store, as we welcome everyone to AKLF at the Indian Museum from 12-15 January.”

Neeta Sreedharan, the Programme Head of the 14th AKLF said, “We are delighted and honoured to witness a tête-à-tête like never before as we host Shashi Tharoor and Rudrangshu Mukherjee, two literary stalwarts who never fall short of delivering riveting conversations; coming together to retrieve their memories of the iconic Oxford Bookstore, we have all come to love. At AKLF we are raising bars and curtains, as we celebrate Oxford Bookstore’s splendid entry into the next century. It only gets better from here at #AKLF2023.”

For its 14th edition, the festival will feature a prestigious list of speakers, authors, and humanitarians from diverse fields of non-fiction, fiction, history, wellness to mental health, mythology, food, dance, history, art, and culture, translations, poetry and music, language, on the grounds of Indian Museum. The Pulitzer Prize-winning iconic writer Alice Walker will be among over 100 speakers at AKLF. The illustrious list of speakers also includes filmmakers Onir and Muzaffar Ali; actress, director, and writer Deepti Naval; poet Jeet Thayil; journalist, author, and columnist Vir Sanghvi; author Shobhaa De; author, academician, and museum curator Dr. Alka Pande; dancer Mallika Sarabhai; author Shobha Tharoor Srinivasan; author and mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik; actors Divya Dutta and Arunoday Singh; author Durjoy Datta; journalist and columnist Bachi Karkaria; translator Arunava Sinha; author Anuja Chauhan; social activist and writer Syeda Hameed; chef and author Karen Anand; French dancer and choreographer Annette Leday; German writer Christopher Kloeble; Australian author John Zubrzycki; singer Usha Uthup; author and professor Dr. Kunal Basu; journalist and author Seema Goswami; speaker and writer Jawhar Sircar; architect and designer Dikshu Kukreja; Member Governing Council and State Covnenor, INTACH, GM Kapur;  translator Arshia Sattar; journalist and author Sandip Roy; writer Aparna Piramal Raje; actor Dhritiman Chaterji; journalist Monideepa Banerjie; writer, filmmaker, and musician Sangeeta Datta; author and columnist Nilanjana S. Roy; Bharatanatyam dancer, choreographer and author Sohini Roychowdhury; film director Suman Mukhopadhyay; author Supriya Newar; writer, publisher and activist Urvashi Butalia; celebrity chef Shaun Kenworthy to name a few.

Along with the festival partner The Indian Museum, the other partners include The Park Hotels, The Glenburn Penthouse, Cha Bar, Goethe Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan, French Embassy in India / Ambassade de France en Inde, Institute français India, Alliance Française du Bengale, The Australian High Commission, 91.9 Friends FM, Prakriti Foundation, iLEAD and Seagull Books.

About Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival

Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, India’s only literary Festival created by a bookstore and Kolkata’s first literary festival, reflects our city’s vibrancy of thought, its engagement with the literary world at large and explores literature as part of our tangible and intangible heritage. Celebrate books, music, art, film, and more with the finest creative minds in the nation and globally, as events unfold at the city’s magnificent heritage sites. Please visit to know more. 

About Oxford Bookstores

Established in 1919, Oxford Bookstore is one of the oldest heritage bookstores of the nation. It is India’s only bookstore to curate multiple literary festivals like Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Apeejay Bangla Sahitya Utsob and Hindi Sahitya Utsav. The Oxford Bookstore not only offers book lovers access to the very best books and ambience, but also India’s first of its kind tea boutique, Cha Bar. At Oxford Bookstores, success is measured by the smiles on millions of happy readers that the brand has served over the last 100 years. Each time you walk into our iconic store in Kolkata, its old-world charm leaves you enchanted and desiring for more. Our fleet of ‘happy to help’ the knowledgeable booksellers and conversant hosts, work round the clock to bring to our vendees and world-class reading experience. Be it through our books or our fine teas we abide by the brand’s motto – Much more than a bookstore – at every Bookstore.

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