The Kumbh Mela of Literature set to enthrall yet again

16th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF),  set to be unveiled on February 19,  will feature sessions in 21 Indian and 14 international languages across 5 venues where audiences can expect a wide range of perspectives and discussions. A report by Gurvinder Kaur

The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2023 is set to kick off on January 19th like always and conclude on the 23rd of Jan. The much awaited 16th edition of the fest termed as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, will have a spectacular start with the calming strains of Morning Music by the award-winning Carnatic vocalist Sushma Soma followed by the  inaugural addresses by Founders and Festival Co-directors Namita Gokhale & William Dalrymple along with Festival Producer Sanjoy K. Roy.

The keynote address will be delivered by the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature Abdulrazak Gurnah. It will host 350 speakers from across the globe associated with literature, music, art and films from across the world. This diverse array of speakers includes recipients of major awards like the Nobel and the Booker as well as Sahitya Akademi, and cover a range of subjects such as climate justice, women’s writing, crime fiction, memoirs, translation, poetry, economics, and more.

The festival will feature sessions in 21 Indian and 14 international languages across 5 venues and audiences can expect a wide range of perspectives and discussions.

Namita Gokhale, Founder & Co-Director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, says, “The Jaipur Literature Festival 2023 affirms joy and creativity through books, ideas and shared narratives. We have some of the greatest writers in the world as well as new and emergent voices. It is a beacon of hope and belief in our fragile world.”

“We are proud to present almost all of the year’s most decorated writers. This year once again we have brought together the world’s greatest novelists and poets, historians and biographers, scientists and economists, artists and art historians: a free-flowing gathering of great literary minds that is like a global super-university opening its gates for anyone who wants to attend for five whole days,” Dalrymple adds.

Key Sessions at JLF 2023

Some of the key sessions will include ‘The Essential Abdulrazak Gurnah’ in which Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah will be in conversation with British publishing legend Alexandra Pringle. Gurnah fled Zanzibar as a teenager following the Revolution of 1964 and his most recent work, Afterlives, examines the German colonial force in East Africa and the lives of Tanganyikans – as they, work, grieve and love.

The other sessions include ‘Seven Moons of Maali Almeida’ in which Shehan Karunatilaka will be in conversation with Nandini Nair, ‘Sustaining Democracy; Nurturing Democracy’ in which Shashi Tharoor will be in conversation with Tripurdaman Singh.

Bibek Debroy, scholar and translator who had made 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.

Three experts of agrarian studies Maryam Aslany, Surinder S. Jodhka and Mukulika Banerjee will delve deep into the causes, consequences of the present situation as well as the issue of farmer suicides.

In a session titled ‘Understanding the India-China Border: The Enduring Threat of War in the High Himalayas’, Journalist and author Manoj Joshi will trace the circumstances of the LAC and its impact. Secretary Vijay Gokhale and former Ambassador to China, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Nepal, and former Foreign 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 how its legacy is threaded into the daily lives of subsequent generations.

We look forward to bringing you the diverse flavours that make this festival unique and sought after in the next issue!