The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is back for its 10th year and has gone from being a small gem of an idea to the world’s largest free literary festival.
Having hosted more than 1300 speakers and welcomed nearly 1.2 million book lovers over the past decade, JLF 2017 will take place between 19th and 23rd January, in the historic Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur.
Celebrating writers from across the globe, the Festival has hosted some of the best regarded and loved names, ranging from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners to debut writers such as Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eleanor Catton, Hanif Kureishi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan, JM Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Mohammed Hanif, Oprah Winfrey, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Salman Rushdie, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, Vikram Seth and Wole Soyinka, as well as renowned Indian language writers such as Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, MT Vasudevan Nair, Uday Prakash as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and UR Ananthamurthy.
Described as ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’, the Festival expects to welcome over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians, journalists, and popular culture icons to Jaipur this time around.
Equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins, placing some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers from all walks of life together on stage. All events are completely free and there are no reserved spaces; this egalitarian access is a powerful statement in a country where access to such individuals remains the privilege of a few.
The Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, and is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy, whom we caught up with, last year, along with William Dalrymple – JLF’s Director. They tell us about what all goes in to creating the greatest literary show on Earth, controversies and all.
The first 10 speakers appearing for JLF 2017 have been announced and here’s how the list goes:
Alice Walker – She is an American novelist, short story writer, poet and activist. She was the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the National Book Award in 1983 for her novel The Color Purple. Her other work includes Meridian and The Third Life of Grange Copeland
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – She is an author, poet, activist and teacher based in the United States of America. Among her best-known works are Arranged Marriage (which won an American Book Award) and Mistress of Spices
Eka Kurniawan – He is the first Indonesian to be nominated for a Man Booker International Prize and won the 2016 Emerging Voices Award. He has released two novels so far – Beauty is a Wound and Man Tiger, while his third novel, Love and Vengeance, is due to be released next year
SL Bhyrappa – He is a Kannada writer. He was awarded the Padma Shri earlier this year
Nassim Nicholas Taleb – He is a Lebanese-American essayist, statistician, former trader and risk analyst who focuses his research and writing on probability, uncertainty and randomness. His book The Black Swan was described in a review by The Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II. Taleb refuses all honours and anything that “turns knowledge into a spectator sport”
Mark Haddon – He is a British novelist who writes for both children and adults. He is best-known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which won the Whitbread Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. His latest work, The Pier Falls: And Other Stories, is his first collection of short stories
Sir David Hare – He is an English playwright and screenwriter, winner of two Laurence Olivier Awards and two-time Academy Award nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Hours and The Reader
Alan Hollinghurst – He is a Man Booker Prize winner author who has authored novels like The Line of Beauty, The Swimming Pool Library and The Stranger’s Child
Richard Flanagan – He won the 2014 Man Booker Prize. He has written several novels like Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and The Unknown Terrorist. He is said to be one of Australia’s finest writers
NoViolet Bulawayo – Her debut novel in 2013, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize, making her the first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to do so