Jaipur Literature Festival 2018: From speakers' list to schedule, your guide to the 11th edition

Ten years on, once again, it’s time for literature to take centre stage in a wintry Jaipur.

The city will host the eleventh edition of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival at the Diggi Palace in the coming days with a diverse set of sessions and speakers scheduled to make an appearance. From the bestselling authors to the new kids on the block to the knighted playwrights and literary giants, the five-day festival from 25-29 January has it pretty much all covered. And it won’t be just “literature”, the sprawling (although quite crowded at times) venue will also be home to a number of scientists, historians, artists, journalists, economist, filmmakers, among many others. A true kaleidoscope of all your childhood dream professions.

Among those headlining the festival this year will be Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Shakespeare in Love), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones series), Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter's Daughter), Kathy Reichs (Temperance Brennan series) and Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom). The former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai will also be in the attendance.

Scenes from the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2018, just a day before it is due to star on 25 January. Photo courtesy Facebook/@JaiputLitFestOfficial

Scenes from the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2018, just a day before it is due to star on 25 January. Photo courtesy Facebook/@JaiputLitFestOfficial

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The festival is set to feature nearly 200 sessions spanning a multitude of themes across genres. Prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, politics, world affairs, satire, travel, science, myths and so on — chances are, if you show up, you will find something to stimulate your intellect. Although the majority of the exchanges are in English, there will be sessions in Hindi as well.

Apart from the above mentioned, some of the notables among a lengthy line-up include:

— Adam Nicolson (God's Secretaries, Sea Room)
— Adrian Levy (journalist, author The Siege, The Meadow)
— Alexandra Harris (literary critic, art historian, author Romantic Moderns)
— Alia Malek (journalist, author The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria)
— Amin Jaffer (curator Victoria and Albert Museum, author Made for Maharajas, Luxury Goods from India)
— Amitava Kumar (A Matter of Rats, Husband Of A Fanatic)
— Anna Funder (Stasiland)
—Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider series)
— Christophe Jaffrelot (political scientist, author The Pakistan Paradox, Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability)
— Dan Jones (historian, journalist, author The Plantagenets, The Wars of the Roses)
— David McWilliams (economist, broadcaster, author The Pope's Children, The Generation Game)
— Diarmaid MacCulloch (historian, author A History of Christianity, The Reformation)
— Gurcharan Das (India Unbound, The Difficulty of Being Good)
— Homi K Bhabha (professor, author The Location of Culture, Nation and Narration)
— Janice Pariat (Boats on Land, Seahorse)
— John Freeman (literary critic, author Tales of Two Americas, The Tyranny of E-mail)
— Justin Rowlatt (journalist)
— Kiran Nagarkar (Ravan & Eddie, Cuckold)
— Lisa Randall (theoretical physicist, author Warped Passages, Knocking on Heaven's Door)
— Manu Joseph (journalist, author The Illicit Happiness of Other People, Serious Men)
— Marina Warner (historian, mythographer, author From the Beast to the Blonde, Once Upon a Time)
— Markiyan Kamysh (Oformland)
— Michael Buckley (Sisters Grimm series)
— Milan Vaishnav (When Crime Pays)
— Mira Nair (filmmaker)
— Muhammad Yunus (social entrepreneur, economist, author Banker to the Poor, Creating a World Without Poverty)
— Nayantara Sahgal (Rich Like Us, Indira Gandhi)
— Nicky Arscott (poet, illustrator)
— Norman Ohler (Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany)
— Palagummi Sainath (journalist, founder-editor of the People's Archive of Rural India)
— Paola Antonelli (curator, author Humble Masterpieces)
— Patrick French (historian, author India: A Portrait, The World Is What It Is)
— Peter Bergen (journalist, author United States of Jihad)
— Philip Norman (journalist, author John Lennon: The Life, Shout!)
— Pico Iyer (The Art of Stillness, Video Night in Kathmandu)
— Rabih Alameddine (An Unnecessary Woman, The Hakawati)
— Redmond O'Hanlon (scholar, author Into the Heart of Borneo, No Mercy)
— Sandip Roy (journalist, author Don't Let Him Know)
— Snigdha Poonam (journalist, author Dreamers)
— Susan Abulhawa (Mornings in Jenin, The Blue Between Sky and Water)
— Victor Sebestyen (Revolution 1989, Twelve Days)

You can check out the this year’s line-up in its entirety here.

Spread across seven venues inside the Diggi (Charbagh, Front Lawn, Mughal Tent, Baithak, Durbar Hall, Samvad and Haveli), each day will kick off at 9.15 in the morning with a music performance, with the sessions commencing at 10 am.

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With much to choose from throughout each day (chances are, at some point, you will find yourself torn between multiple sessions taking place simultaneously), it can be a daunting task to pick what to attend without the prospect of regrets later on. Much boils down to personal interests and speakers of your choice, but here are some sessions to keep an eye out for:

— Dark Matter and Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
Lisa Randall introduced by Angela Saini
(Day 1, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Charbagh)

— Magical Mystery Tour: The Beatles in India
Philip Norman and Ajoy Bose in conversation
(Day 1, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Front Lawn)

— Once Upon a Time: A Short History of the Fairy Tale
Marina Warner introduced by Chandrahas Choudhury
(Day 1, 12.30 pm-1.30 pm, Mughal Tent)

— A Conspiracy of Bones
Kathy Reichs in conversation with Amrita Tripathi
(Day 1, 2.30 pm-3.30 pm, Charbagh)

— The Real Thing
Tom Stoppard in conversation with Sanjna Kapoor
(Day 1, 3.45 pm-4.45 pm, Front Lawn)

— The Art of Stillness
Pico Iyer in conversation with Patrick French
(Day 1, 5.15 pm-6.15 pm, Charbagh)

— The Frontline Club
Adrian Levy, Carlo Pizzati, Jeffrey Gettleman, Peter Bergen and Suki Kim in conversation with Suhasini Haidar
(Day 2, 12.30 pm-1.30 pm, Charbagh)

— Women of the Revolutions
Alia Malek and Susan Abulhawa in conversation with Yasmine El Rashidi
(Day 2, 2.30 pm-3.30 pm, Mughal Tent)

— Telling the Stories of 833 million
Palagummi Sainath introduced by Amita Baviskar
(Day 2, 2.30 pm-3.30 pm, Baithak)

— The Writer and the World
Markus Dohle, Michael Puett, Maya Jasanoff and Vivek Shanbhag in conversation with Nikhil Kumar
(Day 2, 3.45 pm-4.45 pm, Mughal Tent)

— The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan in conversation with Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi
(Day 3, 10 am-11 am, Charbagh)

— The Travel Session
Hugh Thomson, Pico Iyer, Raja Shehadeh, Robert Dessaix and Redmond O’Hanlon in conversation with William Dalrymple
(Day 3, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Charbagh)

— Bridget Jones’ Diaries
Helen Fielding in conversation with Meru Gokhale
(Day 3, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Front Lawn)

— Adaptations
Amy Tan, Michael Ondaatje, Mira Nair, Nicholas Shakespeare and Tom Stoppard in conversation with Chiki Sarkar
(Day 3, 2.30 pm-3.30pm, Front Lawn)

— The Art of Biography
Caroline Franklin, Diarmaid MacCulloch, Marina Warner, Nicholas Shakespeare and Victor Sebestyen in conversation with Lucy Hughes-Hallett
(Day 3, 5.15 pm-6.15 pm, Charbagh)

— Greed and Human Aspirations
Arun Maira, Dipankar Gupta, Gurcharan Das, Stephen Green, Ambi Parameswaran and Sunita Narain in conversation with Sreenivasan Jain
(Day 4, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Charbagh)

— The Art of the Novel: On Writing Fiction
Amy Tan, Chika Unigwe, Helen Fielding, Joshua Ferris and Michael Ondaatje in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhury
(Day 4, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Front Lawn)

— Manhunt: Pakistan and the Search for Bin Laden
Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark, Peter Bergen, T.C.A. Raghavan in conversation with Suhasini Haidar
(Day 4, 12.30 pm-1.30 pm, Charbagh)

— The Feminine Gaze: Women Writing Memoir
Abeer Y Hoque, Amy Tan, Juliet Nicolson, Keggie Carew in conversation with Alia Malek
(Day 4, 3.45 pm-4.45 pm, Charbagh)

— Writing the Arab World
Alia Malek, Rabih Almaddine, Rodaan Al-Galidi and Susan Abulhawa in conversation with Yasmine El Rashidi
(Day 5, 11.15 am-12.15 pm, Front Lawn)

— Fashion as Design: Making Ourselves and Others Through What We Wear
Paolo Antonelli in conversation with Pramod KG
(Day 5, 1.40 pm-2.20 pm, Charbagh)

— Among the Insurgents
Cathy Scott-Clark, Michael Vatikiotis and Peter Bergen in conversation with Charlie English
(Day 5, 2.30 pm-3.30 pm, Charbagh)

— After Patagonia: Remembering Bruce Chatwin
Elizabeth Chatwin, Nicholas Shakespeare and Redmond O’Hanlon introduced by William Dalrymple
(Day 5, 3.45 pm-4.45 pm, Mughal Tent)

— Anil’s Ghost
Michael Ondaatje in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhury
(Day 5, 3.45 pm-4.45 pm, Samwad)

There will also be a number of book launches, usually scheduled between 1.40 pm-2.20 pm and 4.45 pm-5.15 pm every day. You can check those and the festival's full programme here. Time and venues are subject to change.

The festival will also host musical performances each evening (7 pm) from 25-28 January at Hotel Clarks Amer. The artists performing will include Barmer Boys and Trippy Sama, Kailash Kher and Kailasa, Real Sugar (Paban Das Baul & Sam Mills), Shilpa Rao ft Talvin Singh, among others.

You can check out the entire line-up and book your tickets (Rs 600/day or Festival Pass for four all days) for the performances here.

And that is pretty much all you need to know about the “the greatest literary show on earth”.

But even after all the sessions, music events and festival food and drinks, you find yourself craving for more, there is the incredible city itself. Just step out and explore!

See you there.


Published Date: Jan 24, 2018 14:38 PM | Updated Date: Jan 26, 2018 11:16 AM

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