As a major literary festival ended in Jaipur, preparations are underway for the second edition of Valley of Words (VoW) festival, an International literature and arts festival, to be held in Dehradun. In preparation for the three-day festival, scheduled from 23-25 November 2018, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Skill Development, Dharmendra Pradhan, launched its website in the Capital on Tuesday.

The minister spoke of Uttarakhand’s rich cultural history and the need to link it to the celebration of art, literature and poetry. Sharing his perspective about such festivals, he said, “They are a platform for dialogue and discussion about the democracy, judiciary and everything that makes up a country and its culture.” Pradhan also suggested incorporating smaller events around Kumaoni and Garhwali, citing them as “two of the sweetest Indian languages”.

The festival will focus on several distinct knowledge verticals, Himalayan ecology and environment, Hindi as a global language, migration and India’s relations with her neighbourhood.

The website launch saw eminent guests commenting about each theme. The keynote address for VoW 2018, to be delivered by Bibek Debroy, will be on the universal message of Sanskrit epics.

Sanjeev Chopra, the festival’s honorary advisor, laid emphasis on celebrating not just established authors, but budding voices from all spheres. The 2017 edition of VoW witnessed around 200 authors, 70 sessions and an audience of a few thousand people.

Valley of Words, a not-for-profit initiative of the Shivalik Hills Foundation Trust, also announced awards for excellence in Fiction/Non Fiction Writing, both for Hindi and English. The website can be accessed at www.valleyofwords.org.