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1 - 5 February 2024 | Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Namita Gokhale

Co-Director Jaipur Literature Festival

In the month of Magh, as the kites return to the winter skies, the world's largest and most beloved Literature Festival returns to the Pink City. My co-director William Dalrymple has helped put together a stellar list of speakers from around the world. Sanjoy K. Roy and Teamwork Arts have brought new vision and dimension to the Festival. As for me, I have struggled as ever to examine our world from the ground up and make sense of it. Over the last sixteen years, this annual literary pilgrimage - this Mahakumbh of readers and writers, this Katha Sarita Sagar - this ‘Sea of Stories’, has been transformative for so many people at so many levels.

The past year was an important landmark in the world recognition of Indian and South Asian literature. International Booker prize winning Hindi writer Geetanjali Shree, and her English translator Daisy Rockwell join us for our stellar 2023 edition. As also Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka, winner of the 2022 Booker prize. We are deeply honoured to be hosting Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah and have so many other international and Sahitya Akademi awardees with us this year.

Our programming focus has quite naturally gravitated to translations and to forefronting new and unheard voices across languages and cultures. India is a multilingual nation and culture. We present a gamut of 20 Indian languages across our sessions and panels. There are also 14 international languages represented at this years festival. .

There is so much more in store. Siddhartha Mukerjee discusses his extraordinary new book The Song of the Cell with its compassionate exploration of the basic unit of life. Yatindra Mishra invokes the life and legacy of the one and only Lata Mangeshkar. Gulzar saheb and Javed saheb bring Hindi, Hindustani and Urdu to new life with their exalted poetry. Recent literary biographies of the great Hindi writers Agyeya and Nirmal Verma throw light on the evolution of contemporary Hindi.

We have Nandan Nilekani speaking about his latest book, The Art of Bitfulness: Keeping Calm in the Digital World. Marcus Du Sautoy discusses the fundamental mathematical concepts that form the cornerstones of our existence. Khaled Jawed and Baran Farooqi focus on the JCB Prize winning book, The Paradise of Food. Tech journalist Vauhini Vara speaks on her celebrated recent novel The Immortal King Rao. We have writer and Ambedkarite Rapper Sumit Samos and French novelist Ananda Devi whose work incorporates French, Hindi and Creole; she speaks of her prominent work on Indian Ocean literature. There is also a strong strand of discussions around Sanskrit Literature and texts.

This year we have so much to offer that it is difficult to know where to begin. My Co-Director Namita Gokhale has written eloquently on the extraordinary list she has put together in all its multi-linguistic glory. I am equally proud of my international list which this year is, I believe, the most cerebral, stimulating and high-powered we ve ever fielded.

Shashi Tharoor speaks of nurturing and sustaining democracy. Sudha Murty shares her wisdom and beliefs. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni brings us her magnificent new novel, Independence. There are writers from far and near, literary figures like Chigozie Obioma, Preti Taneja, Jerry Pinto, Janice Pariat, Dr Anamika, Alka Saraogi, to illuminate us with their words and writing. I too have a new book out - an anthology titled Mystics and Sceptics - In Search of the Himalayan Masters.

We have a strand on crime and detective fiction and psychological thrillers, appropriately titled ‘Jaipur Noir’ We search the perils and promises of technology with brilliant thought leaders from different disciplines, and discuss how we tell and share our stories through the digital subconscious, that both divides and unites us.

Jaipur BookMark will return on-ground for its tenth edition. It is curated by the multifaceted Manisha Chaudhry, award-winning translator and seasoned publishing professional. We will celebrate the core values of publishing and share our learnings on the fast evolving face of the book trade.

We present the Vani Translation Prize and the Kanhaiyalal Sethia Poetry Award. There are several exciting announcements in store on the literary front.

Every January, the world visits Jaipur and Jaipur visits the world. From geopolitics to planetary consciousness, history to religion and spirituality, prose, poetry and argumentative discourse, we bring you the many-faceted multiple perspectives that the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’ is famous for.

William Dalrymple

Co-Director Jaipur Literature Festival

Every year we try and raise the bar at Jaipur, but 2023 will undoubtedly be our finest festival yet. We are proud to present almost all the year's most decorated writers: we have the winners of the Nobel, Booker, International Booker, Sahitya Akademi, Baillie Gifford, National Book Awards & Women's Prize. We have brought together the world's greatest novelists & poets, historians and biographers, scientists and economists, artists and art historians: a free gathering of great literary minds that is like a global super university opening its gates for anyone who wants to attend for free for five days.

The pandemic was a hard time for everyone, but for the performing arts - indeed for anyone who needed a crowd to come together in one place - it was an existential struggle to survive. At Jaipur Literature Festival we were quick to embrace Zoom technology, and our Brave New World series achieved many hundreds of millions of downloads; but no one would ever swap an hour on Zoom for the joy of a full-on in-person face-to-face literature festival. Now we are back, and are thrilled to bring our beloved Festival back to the hallowed soil of Jaipur, not as a hybrid like last year but fully on the ground, in person and live! All the work the writers got up to during lockdown can now be revealed and savoured.

The Jaipur Literature Festival is a unique celebration of writing that has grown into something far, far bigger and more wonderful than anything we could ever have hoped when we first conceived this Festival fifteen years ago. Only a handful of guests turned up in our first year. By 2007, we had a big enough crowd to fill the Durbar Hall of Diggi Palace. About five hundred people came in 2008. By 2020, we had had over half a million footfalls. The success of the Jaipur Literature Festival has inspired a whole galaxy of over one hundred other literary festivals not only in India but in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar. We are as surprised as we are proud of this.

Jaipur remains one of the world's most beautiful cities, with remarkable literary and artistic traditions. It is the perfect setting for the most wonderful book festival in the world. People also know that when they come here they will have a lot of fun as well as the greatest intellectual stimulation imaginable. As Time Out put it nicely, "It's settled. The Jaipur Literature Festival is officially the Woodstock, Live 8 and Ibiza of world literature, with an ambience that can best be described as James Joyce meets Monsoon Wedding!"

But the scale and reach of the Festival is something that still takes us all aback. When we ask an author to come to Jaipur, they very rarely say no, and this year we are proud to present a galaxy of the world's greatest writers and thinkers, including constellations of Harvard, Yale, Oxbridge and St Stephens faculty all under one Jaipur sky!

This year we have so much to offer that it is difficult to know where to begin. My Co-Director Namita Gokhale has written eloquently on the extraordinary list she has put together in all its multi-linguistic glory. I am equally proud of my international list which this year is, I believe, the most cerebral, stimulating and high-powered we ve ever fielded.

We have gathered talent from across the globe - from Zanzibar to Kyiv and Sri Lanka to Cambridge via Hollywood, Istanbul and Kabul- to present writers of genius as diverse as any literary festival on the planet. This year's line-up is a truly spectacular one of literary superstars from across the world. In fiction we have last year's Nobel Prize winner, Abdulrazak Gurnah and this year's two Booker winners, Gitanjali Shree and Shehan Karunatilaka, as well as their predecessors Bernadine Evaristo and Marlon James. We have Women's Prize winner Ruth Ozeki. We have Jamil Jan Kochai, born in an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, and a finalist in this year’s National Book Awards. We are proud to present the winner of this year's Baillie Gifford Prize- "the Non-fiction Booker"- Katherine Rundell on John Donne, along with the two finalists, Anna Keay on Cromwell's Commonwealth and Jonathan Freedland on the Escape Artist of Auschwitz.

We look at the Beginnings of Man with Rebecca Wragg Sykes on Neanderthals and David Wengrow on man's first attempts to build urban communities, including a radical new look at the vital importance of the Indus Valley Civilisation. We have a close focus on Russia & Ukraine as Luke Harding brings us dispatches from the Front Line, Anthony Beevor, Orlando Figes & Simon Sebag Montefiore give us the historical context.

We look at the Violence of the British Empire as Harvard professor and Pullitzer Prize Winner Caroline Elkins talks about her celebrated new book, Legacy of Violence, while her colleague Vincent Brown, Kris Manjapra & David Olusoga examine the horrors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the slave Plantations of the Caribbean. Alex Renton talks about his slave-owning ancestors and Sathnam Sanghera speaks on the need to educate the British about their imperial past.

We have a fascinating session on the the Global Crisis in Agriculture as Mukulika Banerjee and new superstar Maryam Aslany show how Indian Farmer Suicides are only the tip of the iceberg of a global crisis, as peasant producers across the world are pushed to the edge. We showcase some cutting-edge science as Merlin Sheldrake talks about how mushrooms and trees communicate with each other in a "wood wide web." We also have Pulitzer Prize winner Siddharth Mukherjee on the Song of the Cell.

We focus on India- China relations from the spread of Buddhism to the standoff in Ladakh, as Tansen Sen & Shyam Saran assess the history, anxieties and hopes for relations between the two superpowers of the 21st century. We look at Great Women Writers and Artists with Miranda Seymour on Jean Rhys and Katie Hessel on Unrecognised Women Artists. As usual we celebrate great writing on travel with Edmund de Waal on the Hare with the Amber Eyes, Katie Hickman on Women of the American Frontiers and Anthony Sattin on Nomads.

Finally we remember Partition 75 years on from the bloodshed of 1947 as Kavita Puri, Anita Anand & Aanchal Malhotra remember the largest forced migration in human history. It's going to be cerebral heaven: an utterly magnificent feast of mind sustaining inspiration and we look forward to welcoming you back to Jaipur.

Sanjoy Roy

Managing Director, Teamwork Arts

Literature stands against injustice and war, builds equity and engenders empathy. It exposes the cracks in fractured communities and reflects the daily pain and anguish, joys and tribulations of society.

Building equitable platforms for dialogue and creating safe environs for writers to write and for artists to express themselves are vital for the very sustenance of progressive societies. It is literature and the arts that creates a window to other worlds and allows us to appreciate and understand different cultures, their histories, traditions, economies and way of life, pushing back against hatred and the fear of the unknown.

Who would have imagined that an idea to create an arts festival to preserve built heritage in the city of Jaipur by the pioneering team of Faith and John Singh and the Virasat Foundation would lead to a literary revolution in South Asia.

Festivals of this size and scale requires an army of people to work ceaselessly. Over the years, we have grown to a crew size of over 4000 with volunteers, police, local staff, press and digital teams, legal counsel, vendors, technical crews, security personnel, cooks and cleaning staff, all supervised and trained through a series of workshops by our incredible colleagues at Teamwork Arts and Yuva Ekta Foundation. This year it has been economically challenging to mount the festival and we are grateful to our sponsors, and Friends of the Festival for their continued support and trust in the Jaipur Literature Festival.

JLF over the years has spread its wings and has taken its magical caravan across to London, Belfast, Boulder – Colorado, Houston, New York, Toronto, Adelaide and Doha – Qatar. In 2022 we opened a new chapter and take JLF to Soneva Fushi, Maldives as part of a bespoke experience to where our guests can spend quality time with their favorite writers, lounge in the sun and partake of amazing food.

While the pandemic wreaked havoc the world over it also presented us with an opportunity. In April 2020 we pivoted our festivals online and allowed us the opportunity to connect with audiences across the world through a new series, JLF Brave New World, which transported us in to the homes of our writers and allowed us to explore a multiplicity of issues and themes. JLF Words are Bridges focused on translation and aimed to bring to our viewers the world over an insight on diverse languages with a focus on Indian and European languages. These sessions along with the digital Jaipur Literature Festival in 2021, were viewed by over 27 million people.

Even as the world learns to cope with a new reality, polarization across political, social, religion and race has become more pronounced. Freedom of expression has being challenged by hatred, violence, and war which sadly are the dominant narrative. Against this backdrop of extremism and hyper nationalism it is imperative that we continue to build equitable platforms and create an environment for writers and thinkers to write and to engender creativity.

As we look ahead, we renew our commitment to showcase the best literary work, nurture new writing and to create an environment where a million ideas can rise like fireflies into the night sky illuminating us all and celebrating humanity!

Preeta Singh

President, Teamwork Arts

Give me Hope. Give me Joy!

The Jaipur Literature Festival is a beacon of hope and joy in a world that is reeling under the unprecedented pressures of a pandemic, a war and geopolitical changes. There is little respite as countries grapple with energy, inflation, food and security crises. Very few leaders in today’s generation have dealt with these kinds of traditional risks around food and energy, debt and climate and the impact it will have on every living person on Earth. Each one of us has changed, and changed forever, living through these past few years.

The Jaipur Literature Festival — a vibrant, unique brand — has successfully created an inclusive and collaborative platform for exchange of old and new ideas, scripted by leading minds across India and the world. This rich experience of sharing helps shape new thought and solutions for all who engage with the hundreds of authors and speakers at The Jaipur Literature Festival. This hybrid festival that reaches over 200 million people is perhaps the largest celebration of the written word, providing an ideal immersive environment for brands to engage meaningfully with their audiences. In today’s world consumers award their loyalty to only those brands that provide sustainable value and impact for long term benefit of society and our planet.

Our gratitude to all our partners for supporting The Jaipur Literature Festival despite the challenging times. We look forward to working with you to strengthen the flame of hope and joy through these unusual times!