Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 – Day 1

Day 1
17 January, 2014

“I cancelled my trip to Agra to come here!” said an excited Australian festival-goer in the front row of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival this morning. He was beeming with excitement when he added, “Jonathan Franzen, Amartya Sen, free?! I simply cancelled my ticket there and then.”

And so began the first day of the 2014 ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literary festival taking place at Diggi Palace. The 5-day event began with an inauguration ceremony attended by Her Excellency The Governor SMT. Margaret Alva and Bhaskar Das, CEO of ZEE Media Corporation, as well as Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen.

Festival producer Sanjoy. K. Roy kicked off proceedings with Festival Co-Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple welcoming visitors to the Festival. After the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Amartya Sen delivered the keynote speech, A Wish A Day for A Week.

On day one, the Festival witnessed the presence of Gloria Steinem, Irrfan Khan, Jonathan Franzen, Raj Kundra, Ved Mehta, Urvashi Butalia and Antony Beevor amongst many other writers from Rajasthan and across India.

Gloria Steinem in conversation with Ruchira Gupta spoke about reproductive freedoms, differentiating erotica from pornography and stated that in order to achieve democracy it is important to practice democracy at home.

Also announced today, the Festival has partnered with HaikuJAM, an app that allows festival-goers to write poetry with the award winning authors that attend the Festival.

Tomorrow’s events will prove equally as stimulating with Jhumpa Lahiri, Jim Carce, Xiaolu Guo, M T Vasudevan Nair, Jerry Pinto, Samantha Shannon, Nadeem Aslam, Farah Ghuznavi and Shashi Tharoor announcing the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014.

Youth Outreach – JLF2014

Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literary festival,
goes one step further in its outreach this year, by taking writers from the Festival to visit local schools in Jaipur.

The third edition of Pratham Books – ZEE-JLF Outreach Programme has been organised in partnership with Pratham Books, a not-for-profit children’s publisher, with an aim to inspire young people and inculcate a love
for literature through a series of events taking place between 13th – 21st January 2014.

The authors confirmed to take part in this outreach, are – Paro Anand (Author of children’s books), Valentina Trivedi (Storyteller), Anita Mani (Storyteller/Editor of ‘news-for-children’), Ajit Narayan (Illustrator/cartoonist), Devyani Bhardwaj (Poet/journalist/translator). Visiting Festival authors include Peter Godwin, journalist and
author of When the Crocodile Eats the Sun, Dr. Maya Jasanoff, Harvard history professor and author of the award-winning Liberty Exiles, Mahesh Dattani, actor, writer and director along with art historian Partha Mitter
who specialises in Indian art.

Besides the local schools supported by Pratham and Vodafone, the list of participating schools also includes SKIT, The Step by Step and St. Xavier.

During the outreach programme, visiting Festival authors will participate in over 25 reading sessions, workshops and interactive activities promoting the joy of reading books amongst young students in Jaipur.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2014

Jaipur Literature Festival

Jaipur Literature Festival

About The Jaipur Literature Festival

The Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free literary festival, celebrating national and international writers, and encompassing a range of interests including film, music and theatre. The festival has already hosted some of the best-known national and international writers including Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, John Berendt, Kiran Desai, Christopher Hampton, Ian McEwan, Vikram Seth, Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Pico Iyer, Simon Schama, Thomas Keneally, Hanif Kureishi, Vikram Chandra, Anoushka Shankar, Michael Frayn, Stephen Frears, Alexander McCall Smith, Donna Tartt, Tina Brown, Shashi Tharoor, Mohammed Hanif, Paul Zacharia, among many others. The Directors of the Jaipur Literature Festivals are William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale and the festival is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy and Sheuli Sethi of Teamwork Arts.



From the Second World War to the old life of Delhi, The ruins of Pompeii to the plantations of the 19th Century, History is set to come alive at the 2014 Jaipur Literature Festival

Covering wide ranging events from Stalingrad to the rise and fall of Vijayanagra, the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, to the life of Jesus, the seventh edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival will host such luminaries as Antony Beevor, one of the world’s most successful non-fiction writers, acclaimed Professor Maya Jasanoff from Harvard University, renowned British historian Mary Beard as well as a sneak peak of the forthcoming portrait of Delhi, Capital, from Commonwealth Prize-wining Rana Dasgupta.


Antony Beevor’s books have sold more than four million copies worldwide with his account of the great battle of Stalingrad, winning Britain’s three biggest prizes for non-fiction: the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden. The groundbreaking historian, whose style of prose led the way for many contemporary non-fiction writers, will visit the Festival to discuss the Second World War from a global perspective.


Staying with the Second World War, Rana Mitter will recount the epic, untold story of China’s devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan – a war which later lead to China becoming an ally of the West. Some have claimed Forgotten Ally rewrites the entire history of the Second World War, whilst offering surprising insights into contemporary China.


In another session, marking 100 years since the start of the First World War, Australian war historian Peter Stanley, and writers Geoff Dyer and Maya Jasanoff will discuss the Indian subcontinents role in the conflict, along with military historian Rana TS Chhina.


Emma Rothschild’s celebrated book The Inner Life of Empires is a study of the plantation-owning Johnson family, who were at also at different times speculators, slave owners, government officials, and occasional politicians in America.  Gaiutra Bahadur looks at the other end of the plantation pecking order: the coolies, from whom she is descended. In Coolie Woman she excavates the repressed history of some quarter of a million female coolies and chronicles their epic passage from Calcutta to the Caribbean. Both writers will discuss the legacy of plantations on contemporary India at JLF.


The person and work of Jesus of Nazareth has been a topic of constant interest since he lived and died some 2,000 years ago. Reza Aslan, who authored the much acclaimed No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and The Future of Islam, offers a compelling argument for a fresh look at the Nazarene in his latest book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth focusing on how Jesus the man evolved into Jesus the Christ. The New York Times bestselling author and professor at The University of California will visit JLF to share his findings on the man who is the leader of one of the world’s biggest religions.


David Cannadine, professor of history at Princeton, will argue that in its heyday the British Empire was more concerned with exporting a class system to the colonies that it was with a hierarchy by race. He will discuss his views and his latest book The Undivided Past: History Beyond Our Differences at JLF. Also looking at the British Empire, Harvard’s Professor Maya Jasanoff will present her book, Liberty’s Exiles, a remarkable account of the global diaspora of Americans who fled their home country once the last British troops pulled out of New York on November 25, 1783. One in forty Americans left the newly independent America for other parts of the British Empire. Jasanoff’s account of this time in history recently won the George Washington Book Prize.


Closer to home, Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott Clark will visit the festival to tell the stories of the guests, staff, police and the National Security Guard involved in the November 2008 terrorist attacks on the Taj Mumbai. By piecing together transcripts between the terrorists and their handlers, the authors have produced The Siege, the ultimate account of the attack that shook India.


In their latest graphic novel, Vishwajyoti Ghosh and Ahmad Rafay Alam rewrite personal and political history of partition. Using oral histories and intensive personal research, Urvashi Butalia has also written poignantly about the multiple tragedies that took place during the partition of India. These writers will renegotiate the maps of memory at JLF in conversation with Indrajit Hazra.


Looking further back into India’s past, the archeologist and architectural historian George Michell who has spent half his life mapping and digging the Vijayanagra, one of the greatest cities in the world and in many ways the capital and cultural hub of Southern India, will tell the story of its rise and eventual fall in 1565.


Even further back in time, well-respected and well-loved British historian Mary Beard will visit JLF to recount the fate of another lost city, Pompeii. Destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 CE, the ruins of Pompeii offer the best evidence we have of life in the Roman Empire. In The Fires of Vesuvius, Cambridge Prof. Beard makes sense of the remains. She explores what kind of town it was – more like Calcutta or the Costa del Sol? – and what it can tell us about ‘ordinary’ life there.


Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 – Award Winners Pour In

An unprecedented number of award-winning writers, drawn from over 19 different literary prizes, are set to descend on Diggi Palace this Friday as the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival begins.

Taking place from 17 – 21st January, the world’s largest free literary festival, will play host to not one but two Nobel Prize winners, Dr. Amartya Sen (1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics) and Dr. Harold Varmus (1989 Nobel Laureate in Medicine), as well as four listed writers from this year’s Man Booker Prize – Jhumpa Lahiri, Tash Aw, Jim Crace and Alison MacLeod. Other Man Booker Prize listed authors include Philip Hensher, A.N. Wilson and Justin Cartwright.

The Pulitzer Prize is well represented by Jonathan Franzen who was a finalist for The Corrections in 2002, Jhumpa Lahiri who won the Pulitzer for Interpreter of Maladies in 2000, as well as Mark Marzetti a Pulitzer winning journalist who will discuss the work of the CIA. In addition to this Franzen is also the recipient of the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the UK’s oldest literary prize.

The Festival will welcome two winners of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Rana Dasgupta and Vikram Chandra as well as Nayomi Munaweera, Tash Aw, Philip Hensher and Jhumpa Lahiri who have all been listed for the prize.

Four winners of the Crossword Prize, William Dalrymple, Anand (C.P. Sachidanandan), Vikram Chandra and Jerry Pinto will join the event, along with four shortlisted writers. An incredible twelve winners of the Sahitya Akademi Prize will be present at the Festival reading from their work.

Non-fiction is also well represented by British historian Antony Beevor, who won three of the UK’s top prizes (Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Wolfson History Prize and Hawthornden Prize for Literature) for his best-selling book Stalingrad. In addition to this Festival Co-Director William Dalrymple has been long listed four times and once shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and also won the Wolfson, Britain’s top history prize.

The Festival will also play host to the winner announcement of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014. The six shortlisted writers for the Prize are; Anand (Book of Destruction; Penguin India), Benyamin (Goat Days; Penguin India), Cyrus Mistry (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer; Aleph), Mohsin Hamid (How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia; Hamish Hamilton/Penguin India), Nadeem Aslam, (The Blind Man’s Garden; Random House, India) and Nayomi Munaweera (Island of a Thousand Mirrors; Perera Hussein Publishing).

The winner of the US$50,000 award, judged by a panel led by literary critic Antara Dev Sen, will be announced by Shashi Tharoor at an Award Ceremony at the Festival, held at 6pm on Saturday 18th January 2014.

Overall, there will be at least 19 major prizes represented at the Festival include, Nobel Prize, Man Booker Prize, Commonwealth Prize, DSC Prize, Man Asian Literary Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Crossword Prize, Sahitya Akademi, One World Media Award, National Book Award, James Tait Black Prize, The Neustadt International Prize, Orange Prize, Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Hawthornden Prize, Padmashree Award, Wolfson History Prize, Bihari Puraskar and Costa Book Award.

Child Lit Festival at Mumbai

Mumbai witnessed the launch of an annual literary festival exclusively for children. The “Child Lit Festival” which wants children to “Chill with Literature and more”.

The festival has been initiated with a singular focus on providing a platform for children to engage with literateurs and practitioners and get drawn into the world of books, reading,  writing, personal motivation, leadership and more.

Held over 2 days the festival drew over 2500 children from different schools across Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and evenLonavala. There were book readings, storytelling sessions, and art & craft sessions. 

Speakers included US based innovator and speaker Mr. Jeff Hoffman who works with the White House, the Executive Office of the President.

Mr. Amole Gupte, director, actor, producer, writer and child rights activist who is a key supporter and hon. Patron of the initiative held multiple sessions with children on both days. He also gave away the awards to children for the poetry writing and short story writing competition at the festival.

Mr. Rahul Sinha, President – Sales & Marketing, Pidilite Industries Ltd  one of the main  supporters of the initiative (CPASF Division) says  “FevicolMR is proud to be associated with such an event which brings out the creativity in children while bringing a smile on their faces. We at Pidilite, believe Art & Craft plays a very important role in a child’s all-around development.

The Chil D Lit Festival is an initiative by LeapVault, a knowledge media firm. It s shall be held annually in Mumbai and shall be launched in other cities.