16th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival opens with keynote address by Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah

The literary extravaganza hosts sessions by the biggest names of our time in the field of literature and ideas

January 19, 2023 10:07 pm | Updated 10:07 pm IST - Jaipur

Writer Artemis Cooper, author Katherine Rundell, author Anna Keay and historian Ruth Harris in conversation with author Anita Anand during the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur on January 19, 2023.

Writer Artemis Cooper, author Katherine Rundell, author Anna Keay and historian Ruth Harris in conversation with author Anita Anand during the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur on January 19, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

“Other literature festivals may do what they do, but no one does mayhem like we do,” declared William Dalrymple as he, Sanjoy Roy and Namita Gokhale kicked off the 16th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival on Thursday following an electrifying music performance.

Celebrating the “power of literature, art and culture with a focus on Indian languages”, the festival, which is being held completely in person for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, features sessions on 21 Indian and 14 international languages across five venues at Hotel Clarks Amer. It features 350 participants speaking on subjects including climate justice, the female voice, crime fiction, memoir, translation, poetry, economics, tech morality and Artificial Intelligence, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the violence unleashed by the British Empire, Partition, geopolitics and art.

The literary extravaganza hosts sessions by the biggest names of our time in the field of literature and ideas, including Abdulrazak Gurnah, Geetanjali Shree, Shehan Karunatilaka, Tanuj Solanki, Ashok Ferry, Ashwin Sanghi, Avinuo Kire, Bernadine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, Daisy Rockwell, Deepti Naval, Christopher Kloeble, Alex von Tunzelmann, B.N. Goswami, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, Ruth Ozeki, Katherine Rundell and Marlon James.

Nobel Laureate Gurnah delivered the keynote address on ‘writing as a form of resistance’. He spoke of resistance not so much to tyrannical rule, as is widely understood, but to the more ordinary things in life. Writing, he said, is a “form of resistance to forgetfulness, to distraction, to neglect, to let what we know and what we remember to pass away”.

Every year, the festival recognises a poet of repute with the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for Poetry. The winner this year is the modern poet, critic, editor, translator, and academic K. Satchidanandan. The festival concludes on January 23.

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