Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 unveils its list of speakers at Delhi Preview
The Festival announced its line-up of over 250 speakers including Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, Christina Lamb, Dexter Filkins, Forrest Gander, Howard Jacobson, Javed Akhtar, Paul Muldoon, Prasoon Joshi, Shashi Tharoor and Stephen Greenblatt
Set to take place between 23-27 January 2020, the annual high noon of literature returns to its customary home, Jaipur’s glorious Diggi Palace Hotel – for its 13th edition. This year’s veritable power-house roster of speakers, like every edition, reflects the diversity of the Festival’s programming in books, themes, subjects, and ideas representing literature and thoughts intrinsic to both India and the world.
The Festival has hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcomed over a million book-lovers over the past editions, evolving into the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’. This year, the Festival will host over 250 speakers writers, thinkers, politicians, journalists and popular cultural icons from across a vast array of nationalities, representing several Indian and international languages as well as major awards such as the Nobel, the Man Booker, the Pulitzer, the Sahitya Akademi, the Ramon Magsaysay, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and many more.
On the list are some of the world’s greatest thinkers and writers: Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founder and co-director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab and co-author of Good Economics for Hard Times, with co-awardee Nobel Laureate Professor Esther Duflo; Man-Booker-winner Howard Jacobson, author of over sixteen novels including his most recent, Live a Little, that has been described by The Guardian as ‘wonderful’ and by The Sunday Times as ‘joyous’; The New Yorker journalist Dexter Filkins, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 as a part of a team of reporters that covered Afghanistan and Pakistan; Forrest Gander, eminent translator and author of the Pulitzer-winning collection of poems, Be With; Paul Muldoon, author of Moy Sand and Gravel, for which he won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize; Pulitzer winner Stephen Greenblatt, author of 14 books including, Tyrant: Shakespeare on Power, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare; Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Ravish Kumar, India’s well-known and intrepid TV anchor, journalist and writer.
The 2020 line-up continues to entice minds thirsty for knowledge with a long list of Sahitya Akademi winners which includes Hindi poet and critic Ashok Vajpeyi, author of 30 books of poetry and criticism published in Hindi; versatile writer Chitra Mudgal, author of Avaan which has received worldwide acclaim and portrays the era of the Trade Union Movement during the time of Datta Samant; highly-respected Urdu poet Javed Akhtar who belongs to a lineage that can be traced to seven generations of writers; poet and novelist Keki N. Daruwalla, author of 12 poetry volumes, the first of which, Under Orion, was published to considerable acclaim, six story collections and three novels; poet, cultural theorist and curator Ranjit Hoskote, author of Vanishing Act, Central Time and Jonahwhale.
The list continues with award-winning speakers such as George Polk Award-winner Anand Gopal, author of the 2015 Pulitzer finalist No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban and the War Through Afghan Eyes; James Beard Award-winner Ben Schott, bestselling author of Jeeves & The King of Clubs; Britain’s leading foreign correspondent and bestselling author Christina Lamb, recipient of BBC Foreign Correspondent of the Year and Prix Bayeux, Europe’s top war reporting prize; popular author Jung Chang, winner of many awards, including the UK Writers’ Guild Best Non-Fiction and Book of the Year UK; British author Miranda Carter, author of award-winning Second World War novel Anthony Blunt: His Lives, The Three Emperors: Three cousins, and Three Empires and the Road to World War One, which is about the dysfunctional family relationships of European royalty before World War I, as well as an acclaimed series of historical thrillers, the first of which, The Strangler Vine, is set in India in 1837; recipient of PEN Award for Poetry in Translation Simon Armitage, who published 12 full-length collections, the most recent being Paper Aeroplane and Selected Poems; winner of numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and a Crossword Lifetime Achievement Award Shashi Tharoor, award-winning author of 18 books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Great Indian Novel, An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, and the recently published The Paradoxical Prime Minister.
The Festival’s B2B arm, Jaipur BookMark (JBM) is now in its seventh edition, and remains a key platform for publishers, literary agents, translation agencies and writers wanting to talk business along with focussed sessions and major industry players from across the world. The 2020 edition features key industry stakeholders like book buyer and general manager of the Boulder Book Store Arsen Kashkashian, recipient of the 2006 Gordon Saull Award for Outstanding Bookseller from the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association; public librarian and library advocate Aspen Walker, who serves as the Community Engagement Manager at Boulder Public Library, home of JLF Colorado; a Trustee of Oxford House Jamie Andrews, who leads Cultural and Learning Programming at the British Library; publisher of Seagull Books Naveen Kishore, recipient of the Goethe Medal and the Chevalier Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; Managing Partner of leading publisher DC Books Ravi Deecee, a pioneer in Malayalam publishing and Managing Director at Current Books, one of India’s largest bookshop chains; owner and CEO of LUXE City Guides Simon Westcott, current co-chair of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival; Sridhar Balan, a senior consultant with Ratna Books, former long-standing member of the Oxford University Press in India, who writes a literary column for The Asian Age.
For emerging writers looking to find publishers, JBM has announced a new initiative – iWrite, calling out to unpublished manuscripts, be it short-stories, poems, and works of fiction or non-fiction, and selecting the best to receive feedback from industry experts. Even though only when an entry makes to the top 10 shortlists, it gets a chance to be shared with international publishers, literary agents, translators and other industry experts in a face-to-face pitching session for a potential book deal, all submitted entries are entitled to receive feedback.
Apart from scouting for unpublished manuscripts, JBM also recognises excellence in the industry with three important awards: the Vani Foundation Distinguished Translator Award given to a translator of Indian origin for his/her body of work in the field of translating between two Indian languages; the Romain Rolland Literary Prize 2020 to recognise publishers and translators working on translations of French works into Indian languages and the Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize.
Speaking on the occasion of today’s preview, author and Festival Co-Director Namita Gokhale said, “Our vision for Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 is one of inclusiveness, bringing together literary excellence and interdisciplinary conversations from around the planet. We are plural, diverse and multilingual, representing over 35 languages including 14 from India. We are each other’s stories, and Jaipur in January will once again share the joy of narratives, of music and poetry, dialogue and debate.”
Writer and Festival Co-Director William Dalrymple said, “How about: “I am thrilled to launch our line-up in Delhi. The audiences that come to the Jaipur Literature Festival always contain a large number of Delhi literature-lovers and our list of star writers is always full of Delhi literati. We hope to see more Delhi wallahs than ever at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 as this is unquestionably our strongest Jaipur line up ever. We have an especially triumphant line up in non-fiction with a world-beating roster of award-winning historians, biographers, memoirists and travel writers including our biggest haul of Pulitzer Prize winners ever with major international stars like Stephen Greenblatt, Dexter Filkins, Anand Gopal and Suketu Mehta. We also have an astonishing line up of Booker-winning novelists including Howard Jacobson and John Lanchester, Leila Slimani from France and Elizabeth Gilbert from the US. We also much look forward to hearing our most talented ever pool of poets including Lemn Sissay, Simon Armitage, Forrest Gander & Paul Muldoon. Above all we'll have a special focus on Climate change with world-leading experts like David Wallace-Wells.”
Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “The Festival continues to build upon its core values of engaging young people, and creating a democratic and accessible platform, which offers free and fair access. The 2020 edition will feature a stellar line-up of award winning Indian and international writers.”
Mr. Satyajeet Krishnan, Area Director - North and General Manager - Taj Mahal, New Delhi said, “In our constant endeavour to create unique and meaningful experiences, Taj Mahal, New Delhi is privileged to continue its association with the Jaipur Literature Festival to present the sixth consecutive edition of an exclusive glimpse of the much awaited annual event. The Hotel has been a purveyor of art, culture, heritage, and timeless traditions for over four decades now and we are delighted to collaborate with Teamwork Arts to offer a sneak peek into the country’s most popular and loved literary festival. The preview witnesses India’s finest literary minds coming together for an engaging curtain raiser at the iconic Taj Mahal, New Delhi making it a memorable occasion with meaningful conversations and soulful performa nces amidst our legendary hospitality. We are privileged to welcome the distinguished speakers and audience to this special evening."
The Delhi Curtain Raiser this evening at Taj Mahal Hotel saw a breath-taking poetic performance by popular poet Akhil Katyal followed by a musical performance by Anirudh Varma Collective.
His Excellency Mohammed Khater Al-Khater, Qatar’s Ambassador to India, present at the event, addressed the audience and shared his pleasure on the upcoming, first ever edition of JLF Doha, collaboratively organised by Teamwork Arts and Qatar National Library. Satyajeet Krishnan, Area Director-North & General Manager, Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi also addressed the audience, extending his wishes for the upcoming 13th edition of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival.
Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas.
The past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe.
The core values remain unchanged: to serve as a democratic, non-aligned platform offering free and fair access.
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.
Writers and Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple, alongside producer Teamwork Arts, invite speakers to take part in the five-day programme set against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur.
Past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk and Muhammad Yunus, Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beatty, Sahitya Akademi winners Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair as well as the late Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy along with literary superstars including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Vikram Seth. An annual event that goes beyond literature, the Festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.
The Jaipur Literature Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces it along with over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally.
The arts of India are unrivalled in their depth, diversity and mystery and showcasing it to global audiences requires a deep understanding of our culture, an acute sense of relevance in programming and an unflinching attention to detail. Above all, we at Teamwork Arts believe in love and respect for the artist.
Teamwork Arts is a highly versatile production company with roots in the performing arts, social action and the corporate world. Our expertise lies in the area of entertainment and includes documentary and feature films, television, the conceptualisation and development of contemporary performing/visual arts and literary festivals around the world, and in nurturing new talents across all art forms.
For over 25 years, Teamwork Arts has taken India to the world and brought the world to India, presenting the finest of Indian performers, writers and visual artists in the cultural and art space in India and abroad.
Every year, we produce 25 performing/visual arts and literary festivals in 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the USA. Teamwork Arts produces the world’s largest free literary gatherings, the annual Jaipur Literature Festival, the Ishara International Puppet Festival in New Delhi, the annual Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) Festival, international festivals Shared History in South Africa, India by the Nile in Egypt, Eye on India in the United States of America, India by the Bay in Hong Kong, Confluence: Festival of India in Australia, and many more.
The musical extravaganza, Bollywood Love Story: A Musical, continues to tour the world and has sold out shows in Austria, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Egypt.
The international festivals in India have included the bi-annual Bonjour India, a festival of France with more than 200 events across 18 cities in India and featuring over 250 artists, designers, researchers and entrepreneurs, and OzFest, a festival of Australia in India.