New Delhi, Hailed as one of grandest literary worldwide, the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2020, opens on Thursday at its iconic abode, the Diggi Palace Hotel, to continue its tradition of providing access to a gamut of 'stories' - fearless, funny, tender, fantastical, true-to-life, fiery, equivocal, atypical and everyday - to all.
The magnitude of programming remains as astonishing as every year with over 500 speakers and performers representing around 15 Indian and 35 international languages and over 30 nationalities as well as major literary awards ranging from the Nobel, the Man Booker, the Pulitzer, the Sahitya Akademi, DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, Commonwealth Book Prize.
On the list are some of the world’s best thinkers and writers: Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Man-Booker-winner Howard Jacobson, author of over sixteen novels including his most recent, Live a Little, that has been described by The Guardian as ‘wonderful’ and by The Sunday Times as ‘joyous’; Forrest Gander, eminent translator and author of the Pulitzer-winning collection of poems, Be With; Paul Muldoon, author of Moy Sand and Gravel, for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize; Pulitzer winner Stephen Greenblatt, author of 14 books including Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Ramon Magsaysay Award winnerRavish Kumar, India’s well-known and intrepid TV anchor, journalist and writer; Ruchira Gupta, Emmy-winning journalist and activist.
The 2020 line-up continues to entice minds thirsty for knowledge with a long list of Sahitya Akademi winners which includes Hindi poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi, author of 30 books of poetry and criticism published in Hindi; versatile writer Chitra Mudgal, author of Avaan which has received worldwide acclaim and portrays the era of the Trade Union Movement during the time of Datta Samant; poet and novelist Keki N. Daruwalla, author of 12 poetry volumes, the first of which, Under Orion, was published to considerable acclaim, six story collections and three novels; poet, cultural theorist and curator Ranjit Hoskote, author of Vanishing Act, Central Time and Jonahwhale.
In a session focused on fiction, five of the world’s celebrated novelists— Elizabeth Gilbert, Leila Slimani, Avni Doshi, John Lancaster and Howard Jacobson -- share their insights on the art of the novel with Damian Barr. The session will give answers to all the questions like where does fiction come from? What is the process of its creation? How does one make up characters and situations that are believable - and why should the reader care?
The Festival will also include various sessions with a focus on climate change. One of the sessions will feature eminent writers and environmentalists in conversation with journalist Jeffrey Gettleman, as they discuss our responsibility towards the Earth and what it means to act for the planet. The panel will be graced by celebrated authors Martin Goodman; politician, economist and environmentalist Jairam Ramesh, and journalist David Wallace-Wells.
India's rich, diverse and colourful literary heritage remains at the core of the 13th Jaipur Literature Festival as it brings together writers from across India representing a multitude of the country's languages.
This year, the Festival hosts speakers from the vast canvas of Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi, Nagamese, Oriya, Prakrit, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Tamil and Urdu writing.
The programme explores the magnificent legacy of these languages while examining contemporary trends in writing. Rajasthani language finds voice in its distinctive syntax and variety of dialects –- the iconic Rajasthani poet Chandra Prakash Deval, a pioneer poet of Rajasthani literature Raju Ram Bijarnian, eminent authors Ritupriya and Madhu Acharya will speak of the rich heritage and linguistic traditions of the state in a session titled “Rajasthani Binya Kyaro Rajasthan”. In a conversation with distinguished author Vishes Kothari, the panel will talk about the unique genius of Rajasthani literature in its many manifestations.
A session on a series of multi-vocal poetry readings titled, 'Poetry Durbar', will be graced by eminent authors and poets Makarand R. Paranjape, Chris Agee, Afra Atiq, Madhav Kaushik, Sholeh Wolpe and Keki Daruwalla.
During the Festival, Namita Gokhale, author and Festival Co-director, will launch her new novel, ‘Jaipur Journals’. Set against the backdrop of the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival, it is partly a love letter to the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, partly an ode to the millions of aspiring authors who wander the earth with unsubmitted manuscripts in their bags and, in the end, a tribute to that loneliest tribe of them all: the writers. Namita Gokhale is the author of 18 books, including 9 works of fiction.
In conversation with diplomat and author Shashi Tharoor and poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, she will discuss the themes of her new novel and how her two personas – writer and Festival director - come together in it.
In a special session titled ‘The Anarchy’, historian, author and Festival Co-director William Dalrymple will unfold his riveting tale of the first global corporate power, the East Indian Company and its ruthless, methodical plunder of India.
Writer and Festival Co-Director William Dalrymple said, "I can't wait for the opening of the Festival. Months of planning will be put into action as our extraordinary line up of speakers begin to weave their magic. It's our strongest programming ever and I can’t wait to see it come to life."
In another session celebrated actor Madhur Jaffrey, iconic ambassador of Indian cuisine, will speak of her rich and intensely -lived life tracing her early years in Delhi, her association with the legendary Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, her encounters with theatre and film, and finally her recent rap video.
Additionally, the first-ever British chef to have featured on Netflix’s Emmy-nominated Chef’s Table, Asma Khan, will enlighten audiences about her journey with food through her unique lineage associated with both Rajput and Bengali aristocracies.