The sixth annual DSC Jaipur Literature Festival
Written by Karen Martin
The sixth annual DSC Jaipur Literature Festival, where literary talents from across the globe meet, takes place January 24–28 at Diggi Palace in Jaipur, India.
The DSC Jaipur Literature Festival continues to be the largest free literature festival in Asia–Pacific and is among the five largest such festivals in the world.
The five-day festival encompasses a wide range of activities including debates, discussions, music, and workshops.
International sessions at the festival will explore Russian literature, the Jewish novel, Shakespeare, Kipling, cricket writing, the New Africa, Iran, and writing on the contemporary art scene.
Commenting on the Indian Languages participation at this year’s festival, festival co-director Namita Gokhale said, “This year, the festival will emphasise readings and dialogue in over 17 Indian languages, foregrounding the joy and vitality of both tradition and contemporary interpretation.”
Of the list of speakers, festival co-director 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.”
Among the authors attending:
American author Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, which spent more than 200 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. Chronicling Gilbert’s year-long self-described ‘‘spiritual and personal exploration‘‘ through Italy, India, and Indonesia, the book gave rise not only to a film of the same name, starring Julia Roberts, but also a sequel of sorts: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, detailing her decision to marry a Brazilian man named Felipe whom she met in Indonesia on the journey.
Libyan author Hisham Matar was Man Booker Prize shortlisted for his 2006 debut novel In The Country of Men and followed that in 2011 with Anatomy of a Disappearance, a tale that, although not autobiographical, drew attention to Matar’s upbringing as it contains a character whose father is taken away by the authorities, much as his own father, a political dissident, was kidnapped in Cairo in 1990 – he has not been seen since.
Honoured in 2011 with the ‘Pune Pandit’ Award (Scholar of Pune Award) by the Art & Music Foundation of India for outstanding contribution to Indian literature, poet and essayist Kunwar Narain was first published in 1956 and is generally regarded as the leading Hindi poet, with his debut Chakravyuh regarded as a landmark work. At the age of 81, Narain published the epic poem Vjashrav Ké Bahné to broad critical acclaim.
British Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam earned the Author’s Club First Novel Award for his debut Season of the Rainbirds in 1993, before taking a decade to complete his second effort. Released in 2004, Maps for Lost Lovers won the Kiriyama Prize for fiction. Aslam’s third and most recent novel, The Wasted Vigil, was nominated for the esteemed Warwick Prize For Writing and delves deeply into the meeting of Islamic and Western cultures.
Originally a journalist, having written for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker as well as serving as a columnist for the Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph, Zoë Heller has written three novels, two of which were turned into feature films: Notes on a Scandal, involving a teacher’s affair with an underage pupil, and The Believers, about a family’s struggle after its patriarch is taken ill. Heller’s trademark has become somewhat unlikeable characters, to which she notes the goal “is not to like them, but to understand them”.
Distance: 2,572 km
Flight Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Frequency: 2 flights a day