The Jaipur Literature Festival is all set to return for its 14th edition, to be held virtually, from February 19 to 28. The much-awaited literary extravaganza brings together a feast of transformational perspectives and literary thought in its remarkable line-up featuring some of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers and speakers.
Celebrated author and poet Mark Haddon, famous for his global bestseller, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, will talk about the inspiration that guides his pen. The Festival will also see acclaimed and popular writer Philip Pullman, talking about his vision of alternative reality. At another session featuring two disquieting novels, writers Deepa Anappara and Annie Zaidi, will unflinchingly examine inequity and alienation across Indian society, and speak about their writing process.
Ireland’s greatest living novelist Colm Tóibín will take the audience to the roots of his writing process and celebrated career at a session on his bestselling book, The Master. There will also be a session on Avni Doshi’s Booker-shortlisted novel Burnt Sugar, published as The Girl in White Cotton in India, which is a vivid and unsettling account of the complex relationship between a mother and daughter.
Originally published in Malayalam as Meesha, S. Hareesh’s Moustache is a novel of epic dimensions and a contemporary classic, mixing magic, myth and metaphor. The debut novel won the JCB Prize for Literature 2020 and is an extraordinary example of the importance of bringing India’s hidden corners to light through literature. In this session, Hareesh, and his award-winning translator Jayasree Kalathil, will speak with author and translator Aruni Kashyap about the work’s deep roots in the history, geography, politics and folklore of the Kuttanad region along with the process of translating the award-winning novel.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Priya Atwal have both evoked the spirit of the beautiful Maharani Jindan Kaur through fiction and fact. Kaur was regent of the Sikh Empire from1843 until 1846. In conversation with author of several works of fiction and non-fiction including The Exile, Navtej Sarna – the two writers will bring alive a fascinating tale of the splendour and downfall of a mighty kingdom, court intrigue, colonial deception and greed, as well as motherhood and feminine strength.
Celebrated for its vibrant and innovative art and architecture, the reign of Emperor Jahangir was also marked by cultural, political and economic interactions between the Indian subcontinent and the West. His artistic and cultural patronage, along with the assimilation of European and Christian imagery in Mughal art, created the path for his court to become a visual representation of a power steeped in culture. Mehreen Chida-Razvi is an art historian specialising in the art and architecture of Mughal South Asia. She is Deputy Curator of the Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art and the In-House Editor for their publication series, and an Assistant Editor for the International Journal of Islamic Architecture. B.N. Goswamy is India’s leading art historian and is the author of classics like Pahari Masters, Nainsukh of Guler, The Spirit of Indian Painting and The Great Mysore Bhagavata. In conversation with Goswamy, Chida-Razvi will delve into the impact of this integration and its role in establishing Jahangir’s supremacy as a patron of the arts.
Acclaimed author Keshav Desiraju’s book, Of Gifted Voice: The Life and Art of MS Subbulakshmi, brings a new perspective to the most famous vocalist of Carnatic music. With access to lesser-known information about her personal life and seeing that in conjunction with the finesse of her performances, the author hopes to correct some assumptions about ‘MS’, the person, and her command over a vast repertoire of compositions. In conversation with writers and journalists Mrinal Pande and Samanth Subramanian, Desiraju will place MS Subbulakshmi’s achievements in the larger context of the advent of film, radio and gramophone which dramatically altered the music industry.
The Festival will also feature an exclusive conversation between celebrated actress Priyanka Chopra and well-known writer and columnist Shobhaa De, discussing Chopra’s autobiography, Unfinished.
The list continues with 2020 Booker Prize-winning author Douglas Stuart; celebrated American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic and political activist Noam Chomsky; Oxford professor and author of the bestselling The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World, Peter Frankopan; celebrated author and politician Shashi Tharoor; one of India’s greatest artists, Anish Kapoor; award-winning journalist and author of The Good Girls and many more.
Author and Jaipur Literature Festival Co-director Namita Gokhale said, “It’s been a joyous challenge to work on the programming for Jaipur Literature Festival 2021. We look at our transformative times and try to understand the future through the lens of the present and the past. Our hybrid digital outreach has opened up a new universe of possibilities.”