Jaipur Literature Festival - 2011

The biggest literary event of not only India but of Asia-Pacific, the much-awaited Jaipur Literature Festival, an annual event, is going to start from the 21st of this month. The festival would conclude on the 25th.
The event would witness the visit of a host of celebrated authors from all across the globe. Prominent among them are:

•Arthur Miller
•Kiran Desai
•Manju Kapur
•Nirupama Dutt
•Orhan Pamuk
•William Dalrymple
•J.M. Coetzee
The Directors of the Festival are: William Dalrymple (the author of   White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India) and Namita Gokhale. It is being produced by Sanjoy K. Roy, Sheuli Sethi and Teamwork Productions.
The first of its kind was held in the year 2006. This festival is held in the month of January every year in the Pink City, Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan (Punjab). The Hall of Audience and the gardens of the Diggi Palace of Jaipur plays host to this literary extravaganza.

DAY 1: 21 January, 2011 (Friday)
Major Highlights of the Day:
In the section 'Pamuk & Art of the Novel' you will be the privileged spectator and listener to Orhan Pamuk (Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 2006 and know for his novel My Name Is Red) in conversation with Chandrahas Chaudhury, a Mumbai-based novelist and Book Critic.
It will be a double treat for you when you witness his discussion with Kiran Desai on Saturday.
In 'Fugitive Histories' Githa Hariharan (winner of Commonwealth Writer's Prize in 1992 for her first novel The Thousand Faces of Night will be in engaged in discussion with Manju Kapur (of 'Difficult Daughters' fame).

DAY 2: 22 January, 2011 (Saturday)
John Makinson, Kiran Desai, Patrick French & Sunil Sethi will be in conversation with Sonia Singh in the section 'Why Books Matter'.

Kiran Desai in conversation with Jai Arjun Singh (author of 'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro') in the section 'The Inheritance of Books'.

DAY 3: 23 January, 2011 (Friday)
'Boys will be Boys' will see Ruskin Bond (The Life and Works of Ruskin Bond) in conversation with Ravi Singh.

'Readings from Coetzee' to be presented by J.M.Coetzee (of Disgrace: A Novel fame) himself will be introduced by Patrick French.

You will see MJ Akbar (known for The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty: Delhi, 1857) in 'Tinderbox: The Past and Future of Pakistan'.

DAY 4: 24 January, 2011 (Friday)
'Poetry in the Time of Love & Torment' will witness Ashok Vajpeyi (the co-author of INDIAS GREAT MASTERS: A Photographic Journey into the Heart of Classical Music)& K.Satchidanandan, who will be introduced by Arundhathi Subramaniam.

In 'Imperial English' we will have Adam Zagajewski, Ahdaf Soueif, J.M.Coetzee & Mrinal Pande in conversation with Githa Hariharan. The section will be presented by Merrill Lynch.

DAY 5: 25 January, 2011 (Friday)
In 'Stranger than Fiction'Arthur Miller ( Arthur Miller: Collected Plays 1944-1961 (Library of America) ) in conversation with Abha Dawesar (the writer of Babyji ).

'The Alchemy of Writing: Truth, Fiction & the Challenge of India' will have Tarun Tejpal (known for his The Alchemy of Desire: A Novel ) in conversation with Manu Joseph.

We'll be the witnesses to Vikram Seth (his most famous creation A Suitable Boy: A Novel (Modern Classics) )in conversation with Somnath Batabyal in 'A Suitable Book'.

Second Part : posted on 26 January, 2011
The Entrance Gate of Jaipur Literature Festival 2011

It was my first brush with such a huge number of authors at one place, all coming together to make the occasion all the more happening. Yes, it was at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011 that went on from 21 to 25 January. As we headed towards the venue of the festival, that is, the Diggi Palace, a strange thought came to my mind. The city did not bear a festival look inspite of such celebrated festival happening there. It was only when we neared the official venue that we could spot the colourful banners at the entrance. In my five days stay there, I spotted just small signboards put up by the sponsors outside a few shops. But let me add here that it was not at all a let down. After all, literature has still not become a celebrity, although a few authors have tried to earn name and fame by glamorizing their public image.
There was food enough for thinking minds that have a literary bent of mind. There were all, right from veterans like Ruskin Bond and Vikram Seth; Nobel Laureates like Orhan Pamuk and J.M. Coetzee; modern writers like Jaishree Misra and Abha Dawesar; and new entrants like Jai Arjun Singh. The only thing is that the list was not as small as it might seem. It was a long one rather so couldn’t be given as such in a few sentences here.

Apart from the literature being served on a platter, there were a quite a few things that were attractive enough to catch your fancy at the very first glance. Here are a few glimpses of the temptations that were laid out well to catch you unguarded.

A display of the wide variety of products at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2011
Finally to add, I would like to mention, the experiences I gained were so wide that it would not be possible for me to sum up all in just one post. I’ll be writing a series of posts on the highlights of the Festival, about major authors, their books, the discussions and also a few exclusive interviews that I conducted.

For the first time award was given at the Jaipur Literature Festival, DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. In January 2011, this US $ 50,000 award was conferred upon H.M. Naqvi for his novel ‘Home Boy’, published by Harper Collins India. The Chairperson of the Jury, Nilanjana S. Roy declared that while finalizing the shortlist when all the members of the jury argued about the merits of all the contenders they rediscovered the joys of reading. She said, “As we finalised our shortlist, the criteria that was uppermost in our minds was DSC’s mandate to look for the best and the most interesting examples of the contemporary novel set in, or about, South Asia.”
The following novels were shortlisted for the prize:
• Amit Chaudhuri’s The Immortals (Picador India)
• Tania James’ ‘Atlas of Unknowns (Pocket Books)
• Musharraf Ali Farooqi’s ‘The Story of a Widow (Picador India)
• Manju Kapur’s ‘The Immigrant’ (Faber & Faber)
• Neel Mukherjee’s ‘A Life Apart’ (Constable & Robinson)
• H.M. Naqvi’s ‘Home Boy’ (Harper Collins India)

Apart from those mentioned above the other novels included in the longlist in the previous round were:
• Upamanyu Chatterjee’s ‘Way to Go’ (Penguin)
• Chandrahas Choudhury’s ‘Arzee the Dwarf’ (Harper Collins)
• Ru Freeman’s ‘A Disobedient Girl’ (Penguin/Viking)
• Anjum Hassan’s ‘Neti Neti’ (IndiaInk/Roli Books)
• Daniyal Mueenuddin’s ‘In Other Rooms, Other Wonders’ (Bloomsbury)
• Salma’s ‘The Hour Past Midnight’ (Zubaan, translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom)
• Sankar’s ‘The Middleman’ (Penguin, translated by Arunava Sinha)
• Ali Sethi’s ‘The Wish Maker’ (Penguin)
• Jaspreet Singh’s ‘Chef’ (Bloomsbury)
• Aatish Taseer’s ‘The Temple Goers’ (Penguin/Viking)

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