Stage set for Jaipur Literature Festival

Writer and oral historian Aanchal Malhotra will be in conversation with the author of ‘Partition Voices’, Kavita Puri, where she reveals how the Partition is not yet an event of the past and its legacy is threaded into the daily lives of subsequent generations…reports Asian Lite News

The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), which will run from January 19 to 23, 2023 at Hotel Clarks Amer in Jaipur will host over 250 speakers from across an array of nationalities, as well as recipients of major awards such as the Nobel, the Booker, International Booker, the Pulitzer, the Sahitya Akademi, Baillie Gifford, PEN America Literary Awards, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and the JCB Prize for Literature.

Announced on Tuesday at the preview held in the national capital, the list has some of the world’s greatest minds including Nobel awardee and celebrated writer Abdulrazak Gurnah in conversation with British publishing legend Alexandra Pringle for a panel discussion titled ‘The Essential Abdulrazak Gurnah’.

Gurnah’s striking and formidable works include Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way, Dottie, Paradise, By the Sea, Desertion, and his most recent, Afterlives, which examines the German colonial force in East Africa and the lives of Tanganyikans, as they, work, grieve, and love, in the darkening shadow of war.

In a tale celebrating the pluralist past of the Middle East, private diplomat, journalist and author Michael Vatikiotis traces the history of his family caught between a clash of faith and identity. Lives Between Lines recounts life under the Ottoman Empire where communities from different creeds and origins thrived.

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo (‘Manifesto: On Never Giving Up’), will talk about is an inspirational account of her life and career as she rebelled against the mainstream and fought over several decades to bring her creative work into the world. Booker Prize winning author Shehan Karunatilaka will speak on ‘Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ where Karunatilaka will delve into his latest tale of pathos, humour and satire, and the grave dangers of collective amnesia. At another session, the winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize 2022, Katherine Rundell will speak of her sparkling biography of John Donne: the poet of love, sex, and death.

The list continues with the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Caroline Elkins for a panel discussion where Elkins will take the audience through her illuminating and authoritative book ‘Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire’. During the session, Elkins will explode long-held myths and shed disturbing new light on the empire’s role in shaping the world today. The Festival will also feature acclaimed art historian Katy Hessel for a panel discussion with Xavier Bray on a session named ‘The Story of Art without Men’, where Hessel will discuss the historical documentation of art and her attempts at dismantling patriarchy within the art world.

Bibek Debroy, scholar and translator who had made a number of previously difficult-to-access Sanskrit texts available to readers in English will be in conversation with Festival Co-Director Namita Gokhale, talking about the intricate layers of wisdom and learning contained in the Puranas, with special reference to his latest rendering of the Brahma Puranas in English translation.During one of the key sessions at the Festival, three experts of agrarian studies, scholar and writer Maryam Aslany and academic Surinder S. Jodhka will be in conversation with Mukulika Banerjee, delving deeper into the causes and consequences of the situation and the complex and acute tragedy of farmer suicides.

India’s relations with China have seen numerous highs and lows. At a session, journalist and author Manoj Joshi, in ‘Understanding the India-China Border: The Enduring Threat of War in the High Himalayas’, will trace the brutal circumstances of the LAC and the impact of its “fuzziness”.

Secretary Vijay Gokhale and former Ambassador to China, Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal & former Foriegn Secretary Shyam Saran will discuss the rising tensions at the unresolved LAC, and what that means for the region.

Writer and oral historian Aanchal Malhotra will be in conversation with the author of ‘Partition Voices’, Kavita Puri, where she reveals how the Partition is not yet an event of the past and its legacy is threaded into the daily lives of subsequent generations.

Technology-friendly writers Nandan Nilekani and Tanuj Bhojwani induct readers into the secret of using electronic devices for their benefit without losing either mental peace or physical fitness. Philanthropist and writer Sudha Murty for an insightful discussion where Murty will present a pragmatic worldview that is nevertheless based on compassion and empathy.

At another session oncologist, biologist and celebrated Pulitzer prize-winning author, Siddhartha Mukherjee will talk about his most recent book, ‘The Song of the Cell’. and present a panoramic saga that combines “memoir, history and science” as it attempts to answer the questions of what it means to be alive.

This year, the festival will celebrate the diversity of language and literature by conducting a panel discussion featuring International Booker Prize winner Geetanjali Shree in conversation with translator Daisy Rockwell and Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar recipient Tanuj Solanki for a session on Ret Samadhi: Tomb of Sand. At the session, the trio will discuss the nuances of language, translation, prizes and fame. A session on the late Lata Mangeshkar’s long journey as a vocal artiste, featuring celebrated poet, music and cinema scholar, Yatindra Mishra in conversation with translator and writer Anu Singh Choudhary.

JLF 2023 will also showcase some of the greatest novelists, including Marlon James and Ruth Ozeki and some of the greatest non-fiction writers, including Anna Keay, Jonathan Freedland, Rebecca Wragg Sykes, David Wengrow, David Raubenheimer, Luke Harding, Alex Renton, Antony Beevor, Orlando Figes, Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Mikhail Zygar, Sathnam Sanghera, Merlin Sheldrake, Tansen Sen, Vincent Brown, Kris Manjapra, Miranda Seymour, David Olusoga, Edmund de Waal, Katie Hickman, Anthony Sattin, and Anita Anand, amongst others.

Speaking during the preview, Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher, and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said: ” Our programme as always forefronts new voices across languages and cultures and spans a wide arc from geopolitics, history, religion and spirituality, prose, poetry and argumentative discourse to planetary concerns, crime-writing, detective fiction and psychological thrillers, appropriately titled ‘Jaipur Noir’. The Jaipur BookMark too returns onground to examine publishing perspectives.”

William Dalrymple, writer, historian and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said: “Every year we try and raise the bar at the annual Jaipur Literature Festival, but 2023 will undoubtedly be our finest festival yet. We are proud to present almost all the year’s most decorated writers: we have the winners of the Nobel, Booker, Sahitya Akademi, Baillie Gifford, National Book Awards & Women’s Prize!”

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said: “Jaipur Literature Festival is a platform for spreading considered knowledge and presenting different perspectives on complex issues of our times. In 2023, the Festival will focus on themes such as climate crisis, geopolitics, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Indo-China relations, agriculture, and energy.”

The Delhi Curtain Raiser at The Leela Palace saw a performance by the Barmer Boys welcoming the audience with their Rajasthani folk and Sufi music penetrating the walls of the palace with an exemplary performance.

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