The year 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the now famous Jaipur Literature Festival which begins on January 19. From a small idea, it has come to be known as the worldâ€™s largest free literary festival having hosted more than 1300 speakers over these years.
This year the 5-day literary extravaganza expects participation of over 25 authors, thinkers, politicians, journalists and popular cultural icons. With around 30 languages represented from India and across the world, the Festival will feature authors writing in Indian regional languages including the popular Volga in Telugu, S.L. Bhyrappa and Vivek Shanbhag in Kannada, Kaajal Oza Vaidya in Gujarat, C.P. Deval and Hari Ram Meena in Rajasthani, Kanak Dixit and Binod Chaudhary in Nepali, Dhrubajyoti Bora in Assamese, Gulzar and Javed Akhtar in Urdu, Jatindra K. Nayak in Oriya, Naseem Shafaie and Neerja Mattoo in Kashmiri, Arunava Sinha and Radha Chakravarty in Bengali, and Arshia Sattar, A.N.D. Haksar, and Roberto Calasso in Sanskrit. Writers in Hindi include Ajay Navaria, Anu Singh Choudhary, Manav Kaul, MrinalPande, Narendra Kohli and Yatindra Mishra.
Some more names of consequence include Sadhguru, Rishi Kapoor, Shashi Tharoor, Valmik Thapar, Amruta Patil and Nandana Sen.
In a first for the Festival, it is introducing a Vlogging Competition this year for those bitten by video bug. The Jaipur Literature Festival is looking for films of up to 1.5 minutes (90 minutes) on the themes of humour, breaking stereotypes or passion.
This year sees a host of Man Booker winners and nominees including the current and first and only American to have been awarded the prestigious prize, Paul Beatty. She was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2016 for his caustic satire on racial politics, The Sellout, in which he â€˜plunges into the heart of contemporary American society with savage witâ€™. The panel of judges compared the 54 year old Los Angeles born writer to Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift, with chair Amanda Foreman called it a â€œnovel for our timesâ€, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement. In conversation with Meru Gokhale, Paul Beatty will be discussing comedy and controversy, racism and history, poetry and fiction.
The second Man Booker awardee Alan Hollinghurst, author of five novel, including The Swimming-Pool Library and The Line of Beauty, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2004 also joins the Festival. With a new novel due to be published in the summer of 2017, this bestselling English novelist, poet, short-story writer and translator will be talking about his life and work with Chandrahas Choudhury.
Richard Flanagan is considered by many to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation. Each of his novels has attracted major praise and received numerous awards and honours. His six novels are published in 42 countries and he was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2014 for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He joins Manu Joseph to discuss his life and work as well as joining other writers in a panel which looks at whether printed fiction can compete with movies and television with David Hare, Alan Hollinghurst, Neil Jordan and Ritesh Batra.
Mei Fong is believed to be the first Malaysian to win a Pulitzer. Formerly a Wall Street Journal China correspondent, she is an award-winning writer whose commentaries on China are world leading. She makes her debut at ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival to discuss China in the 21st Century and whether through the scale of its growth it is an unstable entity waiting to explode or owner of this era globally. Fongâ€™s book on Chinaâ€™s one-child policy debuted with â€˜impeccable timingâ€™ (Los Angeles Review of Books), exploring the unintended consequences of the policy through a narrative-rich story that is â€˜evocatively rendered and peppered with quirky charactersâ€™ (Wall Street Journal). Fong will talk about the true cost of the controversial one-child policy drawing on eight years spent documenting its repercussions.
Naseem Shafaie was born and brought up in Kashmir and began writing Kashmiri poetry in 1988. She is the author of Open Window and Neither Shadow Nor Reflection, which won the Tagore Award for Excellence in Literature and the Sahita Akademi Award. She is the first Kashmiri female writer to receive both awards. At ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017, she joins Dhrubajvoti Bora and Ornit Shani to discuss the voices of women in war zones around the world, and Neerja Mattoo and Neelesh Misra to read from their work and share their experiences of violence, strife and discord.
Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and co-director of the Festival says “”As the festival approaches, we are delighted by the illustrious writers who will be joining us soon in Jaipur.
Sanjoy K. Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, Producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literatire Festival says: It is a fantastic coup to have Paul Beatty from his fresh win of the Man Booker Prize. We are delighted he will join us along so many other winners and nominees of prestigious literary awards and look forward to the debate and discussion of their life and works.”