An evening of dramatic readings and music in the national capital tonight marked the countdown to the world’s largest free literary gathering, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.
The highly-anticipated event at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi was packed with publishers, authors and supporters of the festival, media and the literati.
Co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple shared their insights into the themes and authors participating at the annual carnival of the mind to be held from January 19th -23rd, 2017.
With around 30 languages represented from India and across the world, the Festival will feature authors writing in Indian regional languages including the popular Volga in Telugu, S.L. Bhyrappa and Vivek Shanbhag in Kannada, Kaajal Oza Vaidya in Gujarati, C.P. Deval and Hari Ram Meena in Rajasthani, Kanak Dixit and Binod Chaudhary in Nepali, Dhrubajyoti Bora in Assamese, Gulzar and Javed Akhtar in Urdu, Jatindra K. Nayak in Oriya, Naseem Shafaie and Neerja Mattoo in Kashmiri, Arunava Sinha and Radha Chakravarty in Bengali and Arshia Sattar, A.N.D. Haksar, and Roberto Calasso in Sanskrit. Writers in Hindi include Ajay Navaria, Anu Singh Choudhary, Manav Kaul, Mrinal Pande, Narendra Kohli and Yatindra Mishra.
International writers include winners of the Man Booker Prize Alan Hollinghurst and Richard Flanagan; NoViolet Bulawayo who was the first black African woman to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013; Laurence Olivier award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee Sir David Hare, who makes his first visit to the Festival; internationally acclaimed poet Anne Waldman; bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni; 2016 Emerging Voices Award winner Eka Kurniawan; Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who predicted the 2008 global financial crisis; writer, journalist and broadcaster Simon Winchester, OBE; the ‘literary institution of one’, Italian writer and published Roberto Calasso; Neil MacGregor, past director of the National Gallery London and the British Museum and author of A History of the World in 100 Objects; American Journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning Dexter Filkins; Alex Ross, the music critic for The New Yorker and the author of the books The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century and Listen to This; Ha-Joon Chang whose books, including 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism and Economics: The User’s Guide will have been translated into 40 languages and published in 43 countries; and Linda Colley, award-winning historian, academic, author and broadcaster who specialises in post-1700 British history and author of Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 and Acts of Union and Disunion.
Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We live in times where the cycles of change are puzzling, often disruptive. Books are the answers to these puzzles, literature is the force that links and binds human stories, and contemplates the human situation. In an increasingly parochial and polarised world, literature helps us scale the walls. And translation is the tool that helps us access cultures and knowledge systems.
This year’s festival is more multi vocal than ever before, with about thirty languages represented there. Translation is a key focus and a variety of strands and themes including the constitution, the Magna Carta, Sanskrit, the movements from the margins to the centre, examine the ideals, the ideologies, the realpolitik, of our world, as well as the freedom of the dreaming imagination.”
William Dalrymple, writer and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “It’s been an extraordinary journey from 16 attendees ten years ago to a third a million today. On the way we have brought many of the world’s greatest writers to India and showcased Indian writing to the world. We have ignited a million minds to the wonders of literature. This year will be our most irresistible spread of literary genius yet. Roll on the 19th of January!”
The programme for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 will touch upon a multitude of ideas and themes including a look at the nation, Freedom to Dream – India at 70 which explores India today in the context of its history as well as its future, Translations and World Literature, Women and Marginalised Voices, Sanskrit, and Colonialism and the Legacy of the Raj.
A new partnership with the British Library brings a facsimile of the Magna Carta to India and to the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival to put on display as part of a programme highlighting Magna Carta: The Spirit of Justice that looks at the legacy of the important famous treaty. As part of the partnership the festival finds its new home in the UK and the ZEE JLF @ British Library will be held on 20-21 May, 2017.
Another partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) brings in a discussion on Citizens and Borders: Migration and Displacement based on a series of discrete projects across The Museum of Modern Art in New York, related to works in the collection offering a critical perspective on histories of migration and displacement.
Given the international demographic of both the Festival’s visitors and speakers, title partner ZEE Entertainment continues to support the festival, fitting well with their vision, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The World is My Family).
Cox & Kings have come on board as venue sponsors for the first time taking a bold move as a tourism based firm investing in a key cultural property, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival.
Other returning partners include The Aga Khan Foundation, AVID Learning, the Getty Foundation and supporters Penguin, BBC History Magazine and Ambit. Continuing their longstanding support of the festival are the Jan Michalski Foundation, The Glenlivet, Kingfisher and Full Circle, who will manage the Festival Bookstore.
Sanjoy K. Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, Producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival said “It’s been an incredible 10 years fueled with discussion, debates and controversies. Through this we have been able to stick to our key principles of ensuring a platform for diverse thought and opinion, a place of democratic access that allows for the free flow of knowledge and information and uphold the traditions of freedom of thought and expression”
Sunil Buch, Chief Business Officer, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Limited said, “At ZEE, we are of the strong belief that our nation is blessed with immense talent, especially in the realm of art and literature. Our support and involvement in esteemed properties like ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (ZEEJLF) stems from this belief. We also aspire to revive the passion and love for the written word amongst the citizens of our nation, especially the youth. As a responsible representative of India Inc., ZEE takes great pride in bringing ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival to the nation and to the world. It being the 4th year, our association with ZEEJLF is growing stronger than before. We’re extremely excited to work with William, Namita and Sanjoy to make ZEEJLF a success, not just in Jaipur, but also in Boulder (US) and South Bank (UK).”
The evening featured a programme of music and words titled Bhakti: Resilience, Resistance and Resonance. This evening of joyous musical performances with powerful dramatic readings and translated renditions was performed by Arundhati Subramanian, Harpreet Singh, H.S. Shivprakash and Parvathy Baul.
Satyajeet Krishnan, General Manager, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi said, “The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi is privileged to continue its association with the Jaipur Literature Festival to present an exclusive glimpse of the very eagerly awaited annual event. The hotel has been a purveyor of art, culture, heritage and timeless traditions for over three decades now and we are delighted to partner with Teamwork Arts to offer a sneak peek into the country’s most popular literary festival. With some of the finest literary minds coming together for the third edition of the Curtain Raiser at the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel, we are sure it will be a memorable evening with thought-provoking conversations, discussions and soulful performances at the Hotel inspired by elements of the ‘Pink City’ and our rich cultural heritage.”
The Australian High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu used the platform of the Delhi Curtain Raiser to announce JLF Melbourne, a pop up edition of the Festival in February. The Melbourne Writers Festival joins forces with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival to present JLF@Melbourne, an exciting pop-up festival with a difference which will be a celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring internationally acclaimed writers and thinkers from India and Australia.
In an extraordinary presentation of talks, performances, music and poetry at Fed Square, JLF@Melbourne will be an exploration of culture, migration, identity and gender issues, politics, the environment, travel and history. Connecting South Asia’s and Australia’s unique identities, the festival is set to bring ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ to Australia’s City of Literature as part of Asia TOPA.
In association with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the fourth edition of Jaipur BookMark was also announced. The Jaipur BookMark this year opens a day earlier and then runs alongside ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival in the same venue, the Diggi Palace Hotel, 18 – 23 January. Jaipur BookMark is a dynamic forum for the global publishing industry, with seminars, talks and discussions focused on the emerging South Asian books and allied markets. The event also creates a unique platform for publishing professionals from across the world to come together and connect with their South Asian counterparts over issues facing the industry as a whole. The main focus of JBM 2017 continues to be translation and exploring how to ensure South Asia’s translated stories make it to readers around the world.
Online Registration for the Festival is FREE and open to all. All visitors must pre-register on the Festival’s website at www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org.