Image Source: Pixabay
Image Source: Pixabay

Described as the ‘biggest literary phenomenon in the world’, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is all set to lure literature lovers with its 12th edition. Every year, the festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue, along with a spate of new book launches at the Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur. The festival over the years has hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe. The 11th edition includes a line-up of eminent personalities like Shashi Tharoor, Gulzar, Kanishk Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai, Aruna Roy, Barkha Dutt, Ornit Shani, Alexander Mccall Smith, Germaine Greer, Bee Rowlatt, Ahdaf Soueif, Katty Kay, Christophe Jaffrelot, AJ Finn, Akwaeke Emezi, Andrew Sean Greer, André Aciman, and Irvine Welsh, among others. In 2019, the five-day fest will take place at Diggi Palace in Jaipur between January 24 and 28.

Check out the most interesting picks of the 12th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Day One – January 24 (Thursday)

  • Because We Are: A Portrait of My Father

Acclaimed film director Meghna Gulzar is the author of ‘Because He Is’, a tribute to her father, the legendary Gulzar Saheb. Meghna and Gulzar in conversation with editor Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, speaks of her childhood, the tender parenting she received and the creative connection that she continues to share with her extraordinary father.
Speakers: Gulzar and Meghna Gulzar in conversation with Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri
When: 11:15 am to 12:15 am
Where: Front Lawn

  • Between the Covers: Form and Fiction

The session comprises reading and conversation, where prominent contemporary writers tell us of how and why they write, and the creative impulses and contexts of their narratives.
Anjum Hasan, Kanishk Tharoor and Mahesh Rao in conversation with Mitra Phukan
When: 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Durbar Hall

  • #Tharoorisms

A prolific writer and politician Shashi Tharoor has a predilection for long words and telling phrases. In the session, he speaks of the personal and the political and the beliefs and ideas that have anchored him in his public life and literary career.
Speakers: Shashi Tharoor in conversation with Mihir Swarup Sharma
When: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm
Where: Front Lawn

Day Two – January 25 (Friday)

  • Where Does Fiction Come From?

Where does fiction come from? What is the process of its creation? How do you make up characters and situations that are believable and why should the reader care? Five novelists — Andrew Sean Greer, Ben Okri, Sebastian Barry, Tania James, and Vikram Chandra — share their insights on the art of the novel with Chandrahas Choudhury.
Speakers: Andrew Sean Greer, Ben Okri, Sebastian Barry, Tania James and Vikram Chandra in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhury
When: 11:15 am to 12:15 pm
Where: Charbagh

  • More Views, Less News?: Eye Balls and Content

Abhinandan Sekhri, Anuj Khare, Ruben Banerjee and Sudhir Chaudhary in conversation with Rajeev Punnoli Irrupatil.
When:1:40 pm to 2:20 pm
Where: Mughal Tent

  • Eleven Gods and a Billion Indians: Will Virat Kohli be The Biggest Celebrity if India Wins the World Cup?

Boria Majumdar’s ‘Eleven Gods and a Billion Indians’ chronicles the history of India’s most enduring obsession and takes us on a behind the scenes tour of the gods, deities, and temples of cricket. It follows Indian cricketing milestones from early tours to the more contemporary Indian Premier League, offering a complete understanding of the evolution of the game both on and off the field.
Boria Majumdar, Rajdeep Sardesai and Shashi Tharoor in conversation with Prayaag Akbar
When: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm
Where: Charbagh

  • Indian Princes vs the Raj

Even at the height of the Raj, the British only directly controlled three-fifths of India. Two-fifths of South Asia’s vast landmass always remained under the control of its indigenous princely rulers, split up between nearly 600 princely states. ‘God created the Maharajahs,’ wrote Kipling, ‘so that mankind could have the spectacle of jewels and marble palaces’. Not all observers, however, were so enamored with India’s princes. Indian nationalist leaders like Nehru and Gandhi regarded them as foolish and wasteful playboys, spineless quizzings of the British and enemies of India’s freedom movement. But have the Maharajas been undervalued? A distinguished cast of historians discusses this with Ira Mukhoty.
Speakers: Moin Mir, Stewart Gordon and Sunil S. Amrith in conversation with Ira Mukhoty
When: 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm
Where: Durbar Hall

Day Three – January 26 (Saturday)

  • Brexit and the British

The fractions of a question of Britain’s relationship with Europe has divided the country, brought down a government and threatens to create havoc in the near future.
Speakers: Nikesh Shukla, Rachel Johnson and Sir Roy Strong CH in conversation with James Crabtree
When: 10 am to 11 am
Where: Charbagh

  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race

Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ has become the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations.
Speakers: Anita Heiss, Chiké Frankie Edozien, Hari Kunzru, Kayo Chingonyi and Reni Eddo-Lodge in conversation with David Olusoga
When: 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Mughal Tent

  • Naye Bharat Ki Hindi

Last year’s Oxford Dictionaries ‘Hindi Word of the Year’, announced at the 2018 edition of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, was greeted with excitement and enthusiasm by Hindi readers and writers. Once again, audiences at Diggi Palace will await the jury decision on the most vibrant, contemporary and relevant word of the year. The announcement will be followed by a panel discussion.
Speakers: Akhil Katyal, Geetanjali Shree, Neelesh Misra, Pravin Kumar, Rakhshanda Jalil in conversation with Saurabh Dwivedi
When: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm
Where: Samvad

  • Poetry Hour

A daily series of multi-vocal poetry readings featuring writers from around the world.
Speakers: Akhil Katyal, Anupama Raju, Devesh Alakh, Makarand R. Paranjape, Kaveh Akbar and Ruth Padel, moderated by Satyajit Sarna
When: 5:15 pm to 5:45 pm
Where: Samvad

Day Four: January 27 (Sunday)

  • Reclaiming the Mother tongue

A mother/father/parent tongue is the first language learned at home in childhood. In some situations, it indicates the language of one’s ethnic group. The umbilical link with one’s mother tongue is often severed in modern society. Five outstanding writers speak of their literary bilingualism and their enduring connect with and commitment to their first language.
Speakers: Salma, Akhil Katyal, Desraj Kali and NS Madhavan in conversation with Kanishk Tharoor
When: 10 am to 11 am
When: Baithak

  • On First Novels

The first novel is always the most difficult. Four super successful first-timers tell Kanishk Tharoor about the trials and tribulations of writing first fictions and read from their work.
Speakers: Anuk Arudpragasam, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Omar Robert Hamilton and Tanwi Nandini Islam in conversation with Kanishk Tharoor
When: 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
When: Mughal Tent

  • Borderline: Reclaim Your Life

Depression is a modern day’s most debilitating malaise. One in four amongst us struggles with mental illness and in India, suicide is the chief reason for death amongst the youth. Yet we tread gingerly around conversations about mental health and often choose to stay silent about ourselves and for others around us. Therapist and counselor Shelja Sen’s Reclaim Your Life is about standing up to the forces of shame, stigma, and silence around depression and reclaiming the right to carve our lives the way we want.
Speakers: Shabri Prasad Singh and Shelja Sen in conversation with Amrita Tripathi
When: 5:45 pm to 6:20 pm
Where: Charbagh

Day Five: January 28 (Monday)

  • Kumbh: The Greatest Gathering on Earth

The Kumbh Mela remains the largest religious gathering on Earth with approximately 150 million devotees and pilgrims expected to be present in 2019. According to some interpretations of ancient Hindu mythology, Lord Jayant was supposed to have spilled drops of ‘amrit’ (elixir of life) at four places while transporting it in a ‘kumbha’ or pot. These four places are identified as present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela. The fascinating phenomenon of the Kumbh will be in discussion amongst leading scholars of Indian history and theology.
Speakers: Awanish Awasthi, Daniela Bevilacqua, Deshna Mehta, James Mallinson and Sanjana Nanodkar in conversation with Harish Trivedi
10 am to 11 am
Mughal Tent

  • Shades of Life

Lawyer and politician Kapil Sibal speaks of life and learnings in the context of his long career and commitment to the political life. His recent bestselling book, Shades of Truth, reflects on contemporary concerns and differing approaches to sectors and subjects as diverse as interpreting the law, aspects of telecom policy, education and science, and technology. In conversation with author and journalist Barkha Dutt, he speaks of his poetry and his convictions, and his take on present problems and the challenges of the future.
Speakers: Kapil Sibal in conversation with Barkha Dutt
When: 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Charbagh

  • Examining Faith

In his book ‘Examining Faith’, Khurshid explores the central and unjust premise on which Triple Talaq as a practice had been founded and what the Quran and Muslim religious leaders say about it. The Supreme Court of India, in a milestone judgment on the Shayara Bano vs Union of India case, has recently declared this practice as unconstitutional.
Speakers: Harsh Mander, Rakesh Basant, Revati Laul and Salman Khurshid in conversation with Sagarika Ghose
When: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm
Where: Charbagh

Information source: Jaipur Literature Festival Official Website

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