Report by Rashmi r Parida, Jaipur: A global literary phenomenon, deemed as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’ and the ‘Kumbh of literature’, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2018 will open tomorrow and continue its legacy as a diverse and equitable platform for literary and artistic expression across languages, religions, countries, politics and genres.
The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival’s sheer magnitude of programming is astonishing, the most erudite of speakers from far corners of India and the world address what has for over a decade been a catalyst for social, moral, and economic debate and changed the cultural landscape of our country. This year the Festival presents marquee names including, celebrated American novelist Amy Tan, award-winning playwright & screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard, Booker-winner Michael Ondaatje, Paramita Satpathy Tripathy an influential voice in Odia fiction-writing recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award, acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer, Padma Bhushan awardee writer and art historian B. N. Goswamy, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, internet sensation and performance poet Rupi Kaur, cult young adult writer Anthony Horowitz, Sahitya Akademi awardee Hindi writer Mridula Garg, Gruffalo creator and the enticing children’s author Julia Donaldson, Manoranjan Byapari the acclaimed Dalit writer from Bengal, Suki Kim, the first undercover journalist in North Korea, Pulitzer-awardee of Spotlight fame Michael Rezendes, acclaimed Kannada novelist and playwright Vivek Shanbhag, Bollywood personalities Anurag Kashyap, Sharmila Tagore and Soha Ali Khan, Padma Vibhushan awardee danseuse Sonal Mansingh, Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding, tabla wizard Zakir Hussain, Sahitya Akademi awardee Kiran Nagarkar, popular writers Ashwin Sanghi, Amish, Chetan Bhagat, and businessperson & anthropologist Sudha Murthy and several others.
There is much to look forward to at Jaipur BookMark (JBM), the business segment of the Festival, providing the much-needed B2B support and infrastructure to the global publishing industry converged at the Festival. JBM will be held at JBM Haveli in Diggi Palace and has a host of sessions, roundtables and masterclasses.
Starting tomorrow the city will be overtaken by a deluge of cultural and heritage events spilling beyond the four walls of Diggi Palace with over400 events in 10 venues, including the Music Stage at Clarks Amer, and two special heritage sessions at Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal respectively, supported by Rajasthan Tourism.
The Festival’s carefully curated sessions offer a wide array of themes encompassing poetry including sessions like Hasso, Hasso, Phir Hasso, milk and honey, Nude: The Poet Within and more, gender studies with The Feminine Gaze: Women Writing Memoir, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and likewise, children’s writing, crime writing, environment, the vast canvas of Indian languages, journalism and media including Sansad: Inside Parliament, Rajasthan: Badalte Mahaul Mein Media, Across Barbed Wires, and Undercover in North Korea: Facts and Fictions, Bollywood, several Rajasthan focus sessions, business and economy, Asia/China/Southeast Asia, history, sociology, Shakespeare, religion and identity, sport and many more.
This year the Festival is working with 51 different corporate partners, education institutions, government departments, trusts and foundations who support the event and celebrate the core values of democracy and equality it stands for.
This year the Festival has booked 4,000+ hotel nights to host over 500+ speakers and over 178 musicians, who will participate in 205 sessions, 19 concerts of infectious music played morning and night. The Festival, produced by Teamwork Arts, has an essential team of 375 volunteers and crew of 300 who make the event run smoothly.
Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, ‘It’s lovely to be backstage at Jaipur watching the Festival come alive before my eyes. Seeing the faces of eager young volunteers reminds me of the tremendous youth energy that is harnessed and also unleashed at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Literature is an infectious form of magic, and shared stories and narratives reinforce our human bonds and understanding, and we welcome one and all at the Festival to join in this magical Celebration of the word”
William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We have gathered talent from across the globe—from Afghanistan to Patagonia and Tasmania to Turkey—to present writers of genius as diverse as the great literary critic Homi K. Bhabha, travel writer Redmond O’Hanlon, terror expert Peter Bergen and the theoretical particle physicist Lisa Randall. We import some of the world’s most admired playwrights and novelists, including Tom Stoppard, Michael Ondaatje and Amy Tan. We delve deeply into areas of world literature we have so far failed to explore, notably the novelists and poets of Scandinavia, Syria and West Africa while returning to examine eternal classics such as the works of Conrad, Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf.”
Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Festival, said, “The city of Jaipur comes alive in January with the sounds of music, of words and ideas, discussions and debates. Where else can you listen to the best minds from across the world, take in the beauty and heritage of the magnificent Amber fort, dine out amongst the stars and meet up with old friends!!”