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The 2018 Jaipur Literature Festival kicks off

The next five days will see over 380 speakers and thousands of literary enthusiasts converging at the Diggi Palace Hotel

January 24, 2018 01:22 pm | Updated January 25, 2018 05:09 pm IST

 A file photo of audience at the Jaipur Lit fest.

A file photo of audience at the Jaipur Lit fest.

Numbers say a lot, and at the Jaipur Literature Festival — which kicks off on January 25 — they speak volumes. Try 3.5 lakh footfalls in the last edition, over 380 speakers representing 15 Indian and 20 international languages in 2018, and three international outposts — in Boulder, New York and London — for size. But what gives JLF its iconic status is not just its staggering size, but also its depth, feels co-curator Namita Gokhale. “When we do the programming, we put an enormous amount of work into the research and background. In my mind, JLF has become a place where India hears itself think and listens to itself argue,” she says.

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The five-day festival promises some pleasant surprises. “We have three big writers who are returning — British playwright Tom Stoppard, Canadian poet and novelist Michael Ondaatje, and Pico Iyer, who brings an oasis of quiet and sanity wherever he goes,” says Gokhale. She is also looking forward to the sessions by Helen Fielding and Amy Tan. “This is Fielding’s first time in India, and she will be one of the stars. Her Bridget Jones series have become a mirror of how women perceive themselves in their self anxiety, and we are all very excited,” she adds.

Feminine voices are being highlighted in the 11th edition, with an important session around Angela Saini’s new book, Inferior. “She is somebody I am looking forward to. Her book is about how women scientists have been ignored or marginalised,” she says. The poetry element has also built up hugely, and Gokhale promises some excellent sessions for young readers, along with literature from India’s northeast. “I have edited a new book, The Himalayan Arc - East of South East, which will be released during JLF. It is about the area from Nepal to Myanmar and the cultural continuities there.”

Nahargarh Fort’s one-of-a-kind Sculpture Park

The music and art experiences are always a highlight, and she asks us to prepare for a rousing show. After all, Zakhir Hussain, Kailash Kher, Shilpa Rao, and the Skavengers will be present, along with Afro Celt Sound System, Trippy Sama & Barmer Boys and others.

Where the crowds are headed :


January 25
Indian Women Mystics: From The Rishikas to The Bhakti Poets11.15 am - 12.15 pmDurbar Hall
Writer and poet Arundhathi Subramaniam and Sanskrit scholar and teacher Atmaprajnananda Saraswati in conversation with professor of Hindi and modern studies at the University of Iowa, Philip A. Lutgendorf
Undercover in North Korea: Facts and Fictions 12.30 pm - 1.30 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Writer and journalist Suki Kimin conversation with journalist and consultant Michael Breen
A Life in Music 2.30 pm – 3.30 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Zakir Hussain and Nasreen Munni Kabirin conversation with Sanjoy K Roy
The Real Thing 3.45 pm - 4.45pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard in conversation with actor Sanjna Kapoor
Mira Nair: The Personal and the Political 3.45 pm - 4.45pmAU Bank Samvad
Mira Nair in conversation with Vir Sanghvi
Banned in India 5.15 pm – 6.15 pmRajen Kilachand Mughal Tent
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Mridula Gargand Paro Anandin conversation with Salil Tripathi
January 26
The Empire Writes Back11.15 am - 12.15 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Charmaine Craig, Jeet Thayil and Linda Spalding in conversation with Pico Iyer
Visible Work, Invisible Women 11.15 am - 12.15 pmRajen Kilachand Mughal Tent
Journalist Kota Neelimaand writer-translator Namita Waikar in conversation with journalist Namita Bhandare
The Frontline Club12.20 pm - 1.30 pmCox & Kings Charbagh
Writer, journalist and filmmaker Adrian Levy, writers Carlo Pizzatiand Peter Bergen and journalists Jeffrey GettlemanandSuki Kim in conversation with journalist Suhasini Haidar
The Great Survivor 2.30 pm - 3.30 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Hamid Karzai in conversation with William Dalrymple
January 27
The Joy Luck Club 10 am - 11 amCox & Kings Charbagh
Authors Amy Tan and Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi in conversation
Bridget Jones' Diaries 11.15 am - 12.15 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Author Helen Fielding in conversation with publisher Meru Gokhale
Readings from Six Continents1.40 pm - 2.20 pmAmity University Baithak
Adriana Lisboa, Han Yujoo, John Freeman, Josefine Klougart, Léonora Mianoand Tara June Winch, moderated by Radha Chakravarty
Adaptations2.30 pm - 3.30 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Writers Amy Tan, Nicholas Shakespeare and Michael Ondaatje, film-maker Mira Nair, playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard in conversation with publisher Chiki Sarkar. Introduced by businessperson Aparna Bhosle
Digital Narratives (Round Table) 3.45 pm - 4.45 pmJaipur Bookmark Haveli
Akshay Rathi, Anish Chandy, Anu Singh Choudhary, Anurag Kahsyap, Arpita Das, Gaurav Solanki, Karan Anshuman, Kathy Reichs, Pankaj Dubey, Samir Nairand Shailesh Bharatwasi in conversation with Vani Tripathi Tikoo
Fish at War and A Cup of Brew: The Politics and Poetics of Women's Work in India3.45 pm - 4.45 pmRajen Kilachand Mughal Tent
Writer and poet Mamang Dai, visual artist Minam Apang and poet Mona Zotein conversation with graphic novelist Parismita Singh
January 28
The Perils of Celebrity2.30 pm - 3.30 pmAU Bank Samvad
Soha Ali Khan and Sharmila Tagore in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy
The Vanishing: Tigers, Forests and Nature3.45 pm - 4.45 pmAU Bank Samvad
Hema Maira and Prerna Singh Bindra in conversation with Nupur Paiva
Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong5.15 pm - 6.15 pmRajen Kilachand Mughal Tent
Journalist and broadcaster Angela Saini, writer and entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shawand physicist Lisa Randall in conversation with journalist Namita Bhandare
January 29
Breaking Free: The Novel and Gender Writers 11.15 am - 12.15 pmDurbar Hall
Anosh Iraniand Sandip Roy in conversation with writer Bee Rowlatt
The Reformation: Europe's House Divided 12.30 pm - 1.30 pmDurbar Hall
Writer, historian and broadcaster Diarmaid MacCulloch introduced by writer, historian and festival director William Dalrymple
#MeToo: Do Men Still Have It Too Easy?5.15 pm - 6.15 pmBank of Baroda Front Lawn
Writers Bee Rowlattand Sandeep Roy, editor John Freeman, advocate Pinky Anand, academic and activist Ruchira Guptaand journalist Vinod Dua, moderated by journalist Namita Bhandare


From January 25-29. Details:


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