Author, poets, Bollywood celebs at 8th Jaipur LitFest

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Jaipur: Nobel laureates to local writers, award-winning authors to debut novelists, Bollywood bigwigs to musicians, the historic Diggi palace here is set to overflow with authors, publishers and book lovers as the Jaipur Literature Festival kicks off tomorrow.

The eighth edition of the five-day annual jamboree, which has become a major event on the literary calendar ever since its inception in 2006, has an interesting line up of debates and discussions while music and Bollywood, too, are to feature prominently on the programme this year.

“The city of Jaipur has always welcomed and supported the ‘kumbh’ of literature since it began. We are excited to take the festival even beyond the four walls of Diggi Palace to some of the city’s most iconic sites this year,” said Festival Producer Sanjay Roy.

Unique satellite events have been planned at historic Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal. While actor Naseerudin Shah would recite the poetry of Manto at Amer on the opening day, Shabana Azmi will recite poetry at Hawa Mahal the following day.

“The festival has progressed in various ways since its debut. We try to have variety in the line up of speakers every year and ensure that there is something new every time,” Roy said.

Asked about their expectations from this year’s festival, Roy said, “I hope the content gets more coverage than the controversies”.

There is high anticipation this year as well for the festival whose past editions have also sometimes seen controversy, like the one to do with writer Salman Rushdie’s name on the dignitaries’ list in 2011 and the hue and cry over sociologist Ashish Nandy’s remarks in 2012.

Last year too, on the penultimate day, activists of a Rajput outfit protested against the presence of filmmaker Ekta Kapoor, objecting to the title of her TV serial ‘Jodha Akbar’, which they claimed presented their culture in bad light.

However, the protesters were pushed outside the venue and the event continued.

With a line up of around 234 authors from backgrounds ranging from international relations, history and environment, to human nature, regional literature, art, photography, Bollywood, theatre and travel, the festival will cover a wide slice of the literary world.

China-born British author Jung Chang, former President A P J Abdul Kalam, actor Naseeruddin Shah, British biographer Lucy-Hughes Hallett, playwright Girish Karnad, Nobel laureate V S Naipaul, Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, renowned contemporary travel writer Paul Theroux, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi are some of the participants lined up for the festival. .
Evenings at the festival are planned to be an audio-visual treat for music lovers at the ‘Musical Stage’ at Hotel Clarkes Amer.

The festival scheduled till January 25, will also see 19 new titles being launched including Masterchef India Cookbook by Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna, coffee table book “Curtain Call: Celebrating Indian Theatre” commemorating 10 years of the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, “The Front Row: Conversations on Cinema” by acclaimed film critic Anupama Chopra, poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar’s collection of poems titled “In other words” and the 26th edition of Limca Book of records, among others.

The winner of the USD 50,000 DSC prize for South Asian Literature is set to be announced on the second day of JLF.

Indian writer critic Shamsur Rahman Faruqi and Indian-American author Jhumpa Lahiri are among five authors shortlisted for the prize.

The rest of the list is brought up by Pakistani authors Bilal Tanweer and Kamila Shamsie and Sri Lankan-born London based writer Romesh Gunesekera’.

‘Book Mark’, an initiative which marked its debut last year will also bring together publishers, agents, rights holders and literary content producers from across the world at a two-day parallel event (January 21-22) at the Narain Niwas Palace.

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