One of the largest festivals of its type, it brings its caravan of books, authors and ideas to London again…
OFTEN referred to as the greatest literary show on Earth, the Jaipur Literature Festival’s London edition rolls into town from Friday evening (June 9) and will welcome a host of star and rising literary names to the capital over the weekend.
Among those appearing at JLF in London this year are authors Tahmima Anam, Sathnam Sanghera, and Nikesh Shukla, Preti Taneja and Vaseem Khan.
The festival also welcomes Indian filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj and celebrated London Indian restauranteur Asma Khan, as well as prominent British journalist and author Jonathan Freedland, historian and academic Peter Frankopan and Ravi Shankar biographer, Oliver Caske.
Broadcasters Anita Anand and Bobby Friction will also appear at different sessions over the weekend.
Nobel prize winner and biologist Sir Venki Ramakrishnan is among the prominent speakers from the world of science.
It all kicks off with a special opening evening session as Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) at the British Library welcomes politician and JLF India and UK veteran Shashi Tharoor to talk about ‘Myth and Memory’.
Tharoor will be in conversation with another literary superstar and current director of the Nehru Centre in London and Education Minister at the Indian High Commission, Amish Tripathi. Both are well-known personalities in India; Tharoor is a former diplomat and politician, whose last book. ‘Inglorious Empire’ details the excesses of the British Raj; while Tripathi was among the first Indian writers in English to unlock the avid interest and continuing fascination of the Indian public in their ancient cultures and histories. His latest book, ‘War of Lanka’ (chronicling the exploits of characters, Ram, Raavan and Sita) has just been published in the UK.
Before the Tharoor and Tripathi get going, festival co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalyrmple will welcome guests and the audience (both in person and online – see details below)to the curtain raiser. Audiences at the opening can also hear from Sanjoy Roy, whose company Teamwork Arts, produces JLF around the world; India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami and Dame Carol Black, chair of the British Library.
Among the highlights on Saturday (June 10) are ‘Agatha Christie – Murder She Wrote’ with Bhardwaj joining crime authors Jan Carson, Victoria Dowd and Vaseem Khan.
Novelists Anam and Deepa Anappara (‘Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line’) talk about the personal, storytelling and truthtelling in ‘Letters to a Writer of Colour‘ session. Anappara has just published a book titled, ‘Letter to a Writer of Colour’, edited with Taymour Soomro, which contains seventeen essays by writers of colour discussing fiction and identity among other things. Anappara and Anam will be joined by playwright Leila Aboulela and the talk is moderated by author and journalist, Shrabani Basu.
In ‘The Double Diaspora’ Neema Shah, Hafsa Zayyan and Ram Gidoomal CBE discuss the East African Asian experience.
Discussing latest trends and movements in South Asian culture and the British experience, in ‘SouthAsianRennaissance’, Ajay Chhabra, the director of culture outfit, Nutkhut, brings together iconic broadcaster and cultural commentator, Bobby Friction with Reeta Loi, the founder of Gayasians, and Dhurva Balram, Indian- Canadian writer, commentator and author of ‘Haramacy’.
Among the subjects under discussion on Sunday (June 11) are climate change with Frankopan talking to Dalrymple about his latest book, ‘The Earth Transformed: An Untold History’
Sanghera joins Richard Ovenden, Mridula Koshy and Lara Marshall to talk about the importance of libraries and how young minds can be inspired by the world of books and learning. Jamie Andrews moderates .
There is a later session on ‘Decoding Creativity’ with Dr Ramakrishnan and poet Alice Oswald. It is also available via live streaming.
Bollywood takes centre stage as Bhardwaj, screenwriter Anu Singh Choudhary and author Kunal Basu (‘The Japanese Wife’) seek to explore popular North Indian cinema’s enduring appeal.
Music and one of India’s greatest musical figures will feature in ‘Lives of the Musical Maestros’ when Caske talks to cultural and musical artist biographer Nasreen Munni Kabir (‘Lata Manageshkar…In Her Own Voice’) about the enduring fascination India has with its great musicial artists.
One of the leading figures of Indian independence and the man who headed the committee which drafted India’s constitution – BR Ambedkar will be a subject for Tharoor and academic and author, Tripurdaman Singh; the British Empire in India and its legacy will no doubt feature when Dalrymple, author and broadcaster Anand and journalist Bee Rowlatt join to discuss legacy in ‘Empire: The Search for Truth.’ Dalrymple and Anand have wrote a book about the famous Kohinoor diamond and have run a very popular podcast, ‘Empire‘, together.
Among the latest rising names to feature at the festival is debut novelist and winner of the Merky Books New Writers’ Prize (created by UK rapper Stormzy) Jyoti Patel – who is in conversation with authors Mohini Gupta and Reshma Ruia, in ‘Here and Elsewhere’. Patel’s novel ‘the things that we lost’ is an intimate portrait of a British Gujarati family (university-attending son and single mum) coming to terms with loss.
Sanghera discusses history with Alice Loxton and Yasmin Khan; Taneja talks about Shakespeare and India with Bhardwaj and Thea Buckley and Arani llankuberan; while Shukla brings his popular Storytelling Masterclass to JLF and how to finish, finesse and polish a piece prose to your – and quite possibly – someone else’s professional satisfaction. This session requires separate booking (please see British Library website details).
As is customary (in Jaipur) each day starts with music and contemplation – Soumik Datta and Gurdain Singh Rayat perform on Saturday (June 10). while Deepa Shakthi presents ‘Saints and Sages’ on Sunday (June 11).
Each morning opens at 10am with registration and sessions begin with music at 10.30am and sessions starting at 11am and conclude at 6.30pm on both weekend days.
Weekend (£36) and Day passes (£26) are available for all sessions except the ones stated above.
ACV covered the Jaipur Literature Festival in person from 2014-18 (see link below).
For the full programme, see: https://www.bl.uk/events/jlf-jaipur-literature-festival-at-the-british-library
For the opening welcome session: https://www.bl.uk/events/jlf-london-opening-session-myth-and-memory-amish-tripathi-and-shashi-tharoor-in-conversation
(In person is sold out – online (free): https://www.tickets.bl.uk/1739/1741)