Jaipur Literature Festival to focus on Indian writing


New Delhi : Writers from India and abroad will meet at the sixth Jaipur Literature Festival at Diggi Palace in Jaipur Jan 24-28 for five days to discuss literature. The festival will also highlight Indian language writing to explore transitions in literary ethos.

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Announcing the festival, the organisers in a statement Monday said a host of writers has confirmed their participation. These include Ambai, Benyamin, Bhalchandra Nemade, Diana Eck, Elizabeth Gilbert, Hisham Matar, Homi Bhabha, Javed Akhtar, Kancha Ilaiah, Kunwar Narain, Linda Grant, Madeline Miller, Michael Sandel, Michel Houellebecq, Nadeem Aslam, Neelesh Mishra, Orlando Figes, Pico Iyer, Reza Aslan and Simon Armitage.

Described as the mecca of literature, the festival on an average has nearly 57,000 visitors each day and drew more than 122,000 people in 2012, the organisers said.

This year too the festival will showcase diversity of writing in over 16 Indian languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Rajasthani, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Punjabi, Bangla, Malayalam, Gujarati, Sindhi, Kannada and Kashmiri.

A special emphasis will be on the transition of Maithili and Bhojpuri literature from the traditional to the contemporary.

A session, “Remembering Sunil Da”, will pay tributes to noted Bengali writer, late Sunil Gangopadhyay, who had before his death agreed to attend the festival in 2013.

The sessions will also look into Russian literature, Jewish novel, William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, cricket writing, the New Africa, Iran, and writings on contemporary art. Sessions on the Buddha will comprise aspects of literature, aesthetics, philosophy and social issues with discussions by writers and practitioners like Ranjini Obeyesekere, Ani Choying, Benoy K. Behl and Kancha Ilaiah.

Co-director of the festival Namita Gokhale said: “This January, the magical banyan tree of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival will once again spread its branches and extend it roots, to celebrate the tradition of books, dialogue and creativity.”

Festival co-director and author William Dalrymple said: “The international list at Jaipur this year is one of unprecedented depth and range, with our most cerebral and intellectually formidable group of writers yet. These include a galaxy of Booker, Pulitzer, Orange, Crossword and Samuel Johnson prize-winners and some of the most important thinkers and critics of our time.”

He said a series of intellectually-stimulating sessions will include discussions on “Stalin vs. Mao”, “Freedom of Speech”, “The Middle East”, “The Future of Afghanistan”, “Empire”, “Yoga”, the “18th Century Sexual Revolution”, “Depression”, “Gandhi Re-examined”, “Ethics”, “Ashoka” and “Breakout Nations”.