Heartstone Odyssey book is inspiration for Preston-based international online book festival


The first Heartstone Odyssey Book Festival, which continues July 9-10, will be run from Preston.

County communities, schools and libraries and the Gujarat Hindu Society of Preston are taking part in the linked Heartstone Odyssey project which challenges prejudice and racism.

Storyteller and dance performer Sitakumari, who will be one of the festival’s main presenters, said the book that inspired the festival has universal appeal.

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Part of The Heartstone Odyssey cover designed by Tony Moo-Young who painted the cover in 1988.

Supporters of the project include Preston City Council, UCLan and The Harris Charity.

Sitakumari said, “The Heartstone Odyssey” by Arvan Kumar is a trilogy of novels for all ages, a story of magic, mystery and suspense that also deals with intolerance and the theme of how each, whatever its origin, wants to be treated and accepted to make it a story of our time. It’s also about overcoming huge obstacles to reach your goal and make your dreams come true.

Sitakumari is Director of Creators at Heartstone Festival, a non-profit organization that uses the book in projects to challenge intolerance.

Many young people from the North West have already participated in a pre-festival arts initiative and their work will be displayed on a digital screen at the launch.

Sitakumari who is one of the main presenters of the festival Photo: ©Nick Sidle

The festival will be opened by Lord Lieutenant Lord Shuttleworth of Lancashire and it is hoped that Good Morning presenter Ranvir Singh will be able to attend the launch.

Famous actor Sir Derek Jacobi is to join online from London to give a reading from the book.

Preston MP Mark Hendrick was also supportive and said: ‘This project will explore identity, culture and provide much needed positive role models for the diverse community of children in Preston and beyond. Racism and discrimination are learned behaviors and to counter this we need to ensure that children are taught from an early age to value others and celebrate our differences, whether in color, creed and race. beliefs or culture.

The Festival’s lineup includes Lancashire contributor Mario Kkounnous, head of UCLan’s animation course, who pre-visualized scenes from the book to adapt them to cinema screens.

Chandra and Hugbundle at the Observatory by Gurachi Phoenix, Japan inspired by the book

James Arnold, curator at the Harris Museum in Preston, will also be there. It will show how the objects in the museum relate to some of the

characters from the book, providing a local connection to the story. It is hoped that the Heartstone story will eventually be made into a movie. Barrie Osborne, producer of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, is expected to join the launch on Zoom from Los Angeles.

Over the weekend, a series of contributors from America and India will be among the 10 speakers. They include those with personal memories of the civil rights movement in America, presenters from the Corbett Tiger Reserve in the foothills of the Himalayas, astronomers from the Mumbai Planetarium and contributors from the Indian Institute of Science of Bengaluru.

To register for the Book Festival, which takes place from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on July 9 and 10, contact: [email protected]

Part of The Heartstone Odyssey cover by Tony Moo-Young

The launch will include a photography exhibition.

Spirit of the Land, the Making of the Heartstone – by Mario Kkounnous, UCLan
Sitakumari, one of the festival’s main presenters, will also lead a movement session with young people at the launch Photo: ©Nick Sidle

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