The theme of this Festival was “Mountain Literature.” Two visual exhibitions were included: photographs by Coni Horler, a Swiss living in Bangalore, and ink drawings by David Wagner WS ’63, a botanist from Eugene, Oregon.
Coni’s photographs of mountain scenes were nearly 36” square, mounted on the walls of the hallway at the Hanifl Center. They are incredibly evocative of the high Himalaya. His website has many beautiful pictures to see. Click on the mountain scene at the right end of the second row to see several other mountain scenes similar to the ones exhibited. You can also read more about him and his work here.
David’s drawings of plants, insects, and small animals are meticulous and beautiful. He produces a calendar that includes his drawings and natural history notes for the Willamette Valley area. You can see many of his drawings (and order the calendar) here.
The chief speaker was Her Excellency Margaret Alva, Governor of Uttarakhand. Unlike the U.S., the state governership is a centrally-appointed position. The Chief Minister of the state is the highest state political office. Mrs. Alva gave the official book release for “Mussoorie Writers’ Anthology,” edited by Surendra Pundeer. The book contains short pieces by 18 Mussoorie authors, 6 in English and the rest in Hindi. She and David Laurenson, Woodstock Principal, presented a copy of the book to each of the authors.
Following the book release, Mussoorie’s most famous author, Ruskin Bond, read his story, “Road to Badrinath.” I have enjoyed his writing for many years and own at least 20 of his 75+ books. More about him: Ruskin Bond
Mrs. Alva then addressed the packed house, focusing on the beauty of our area and how important it is to keep it unspoiled. We need to explore, study and preserve the environment of Uttarakhand, which is mostly mountainous. She said that writers open our eyes to see better and this is a special need of politicians. She has had a remarkable career. You can read more about her here.