Jaipur all set for literary festival

The international list of authors participating in the sixth annual DSC Jaipur Literature Festival this year from January 24 to 28 is the most cerebral, intellectually-stimulating and high-power ever fielded, according to organisers.

The festival will play host to subjects as diverse as the history of miniature painting and war reporting, Sharia law and gay and lesbian literature, Jewish novel, 18th century sexual revolution, detective fiction and the literature of 9/11.

It will focus on new writing from Latin America and Iran; examine the economic prospects of India.

It will be mixed legacy of the British Empire, the decline of America and the rise of China.
In fiction this year, the festival will host Commonwealth Prize winner Aminatta Forna from Sierra Leone, Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson, two Orange Prize winners Linda Grant and Madeline Miller, and Abraham Verghese.

“We also have two of the most respected novelists in the Arab world, Ahdaf Soueif and Tahar Ben Jalloun,” Festival Co-Director William Dalrymple said.

The festival will also have two of Pakistan’s most celebrated wunderkinds, Nadeem Aslam and Mohammad Hanif besides introducing Jamil Ahmad.

Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman who authored of “Death and the Maiden” and historical novelist Lawrence Norfolk, and three of Britain’s most popular writers, Sebastian Faulks, Deborah Moggach and Zoe Heller, European poets Simon Armitage and John Burnside will also be part of the event. “It’s going to be an absolutely extraordinary five days and only wish it were possible to clone oneself so that one could attend five sessions
simultaneously,” Dalrymple said.

The non-fiction list will have no less than three winners of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction, Frank Dikkoter on Mao, Wade Davis on Everest and Orlando Figes on Stalin’s purges, while Pulitzer winner Andrew Solomon will speak on his new book, “Far From the Tree”.

Columbia’s much-revered post-colonial and post-modern literary critic and thinker Gayatri Chakrovorty Spivak, Oxford’s acclaimed authority on Eastern Europe, Timothy Garton Ash and Shakesperian Christopher Ricks are another set of people to look out for.

The festival will also have three of the world’s most acclaimed artists in conversation: Anish Kapoor, Marc Quinn and William Kentridge.

Nandan Nilekani will discuss Breakout Nations with Ruchir Sharma, author of this year's bestselling book of non-fiction.

Organisers said some of the most admired essayists in the world will also be speaking. The names include: Elif Batuman of “The New Yorker”, Pico Iyer of “Time” magazine and Tim Parks and Ian Buruma of the “New York Review of Books”.

On a lighter note to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films, organisers have arranged a special session featuring Sebastian Faulks, who wrote the latest book in the franchise, “Devil May Care”, and Ian Fleming’s biographer Andrew Lycett.

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