Jaipur Literature Festival 2018: From Rosogolla Wars to Tom Stoppard, your guide to the fest

The annual literary festival, that takes place at Diggi Palace, Jaipur, had started with a handful of 18 writers, and over the years, the event has witnessed the presence of some of the most celebrated writers. This year the fest will be held from January 25-29.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 29, 2018 1:27:18 am
jaipur literary festival, jlf 2018, jlf 2018 sessions, what events to watch at jlf 2018, speakers at jlf, indian express, indian express news The Jaipur Literature Festival this year will be held from January 25-29. (Source: File Photo)

Often hailed as the ‘world’s largest free event’, Jaipur Literature Festival, since its inception in 2006, has grown in leaps and bounds. The annual literary festival, that takes place at Diggi Palace, Jaipur, had started with a handful of 18 writers, and over the years, the event has witnessed the presence of some of the most celebrated writers.

This year the fest will be held from January 25-29, and like always will have a stellar line-up of speakers. From acclaimed poets, authors to directors and publishers, there is a lot to look forward to. In case you are planning to go there but are yet to decide which event to attend and which ones to skip, do not fret. We have drawn up a list to help you out.

First Day (January 25)

9.15 am – 9.50 am

The first day will start with morning music by famous classical singer Meeta Pandit.

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Inaugural speech by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Shreyasi Goenka (Content Advisor, DNA), Sanjay Agarwal (MD AU Bank), Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple and Sanjoy K Roy.

This will be followed by a keynote by Pico Iyer. The British-born American essayist and novelist, who has often pondered upon the question of ‘home’ and where does it really exist, will speak on  Charting A World Without Borders. 

11.25 am – 12.15 pm

Indian Women Mystics: From the Rishikas to the Bhakti Poets
Poetry and women-centric writing are said to be the dominant themes in this year’s literary festival. Thus this session wherein award-winning poet Arundhathi Subramaniam and student-disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Atmaprajnananda Saraswati will be in conversation with Philip A Lutgendorf seems promising.

Magical Mystery Tour: The Beatles in India

If you are interested in music or in the Beatles then you can also attend this session where Philip Norman, who in the past has written a biography of the band, will chat with Ajoy Bose.

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

The Art of Stillness

Author Pico Iyer will speak with British writer and historian Patrick French. The session that borrows its name from one of Iyer’s books does seem interesting.

1.40 pm – 2.20 pm

Where the Elephant Sleeps

In case you are interested in watching films, you can watch the screening of this documentary. Directed by Brigitte Uttar Kornetzk, the film focuses on the lives of the Amer Fort Elephants, who are used to ferry tourists.

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm

A Conspiracy of Bones

If you are curious about the way a crime novelist structures their novels and also want to get a glimpse of their mind then you can attend this session. American crime writer Kathy Reichs will be in conversation with Amrita Tripathi.

A Life in Music

If you are fond of music then you can attend this session where tabla player Zakir Hussain and TV producer-writer Nasreen Munni Kabir will be in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy, the managing director of Teamwork Arts.

Biographies Across Borders: Indira Gandhi and Mr & Mrs Jinnah

Last year had been about some incredible biographies and journalist Sagarika Ghose’s book Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister did make the right noise. If you have the book or are suitably intrigued about the genre then you can attend this. Ghose and Sheela Reddy, author of Mr and Mrs Jinnah will be in conversation with former Indian diplomat TCA Raghavan

3.45 pm – 4.45 pm

The Real Thing

British playwright Tom Stoppard is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in this year’s festival and his session with Sanjna Kapoor –  theatre personality and daughter of Shashi Kapoor should be on your list to attend.

Mira Nair: The Personal and the Political

At the same time, in a parallel session director Mira Nair will converse with journalist Vir Sanghvi and analyse the personal and the personal.

Interrogating the Margins

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, author of The Adivasi Will Not Dance and Manoranjan Byapari, a pioneer of Dalit literature in West Bengal will be in conversation with Arunava Sinha and interrogate those who reside in the margins.

4.45 pm – 5:15 pm

Resistance: Songs of Freedom

While you can attend the many book launches at this time, make some time for this session. You can hear founder of Seagull books, Naveen Kishore speak on the mentioned topic.

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm

Milk and Honey

This session, that borrows its name from one of Rupi Kaur’s books will have the famous Instagram poet herself attending the event.

Second Day (January 26)

9.15 am – 9.50 am

The day will begin with the performance of famous Sitar player Azeem Ahmed Alvi.

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Whose Interpretation Is It Anyway?

Indian sociologist Dipankar Gupta, post-colonial theorist Homi K Bhabha and author Sheela Reddy will chat on the politics of interpretation with journalist Sreenivasan Jain.

The Last of the Tattoed Headhunters

In this session, Peter Bos, professional portrait photographer from Netherlands and author Phejin Konyak will chat with Ma Thida. Konyak’s novel, from which the session borrows its name, explores the link between headhunting and tattooing in Nagaland’s Konyak tribe.

11.15 am – 12.15 pm

Revolutionary Poets: On Hamlet, Haider and Shakespeare’s Ability to Speak Truth to Power

For those who have been fans of Vishal Bharadwaj’s films and his ability to translate Shakespeare on celluloid, the session could be rewarding. The director will be in conversation with Preti Taneja, author of We That Are Young – a subversive adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, King Lear.

Visible Work, Invisible Women

Journalist Kota Neelima and Namita Waikar, writer and translator with multi-media stories will be in conversation with journalist Namita Bhandare.

The Hit Man: Anurag Kashyap in Conversation

Director Anurag Kashyap will be in conversation with politician and actor, Vani Tripathi Tikoo.

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Dreamers: Looking at Young India

This year the festival witnesses some new faces. Featuring in this session, Snigdha Poonam will be in conversation with queer poet Akhil Katyal, student activist Gurmehar Kaur, author Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Prashant Jha and Prayaag Akbar, author of the dystopian novel Leila and Gaurav Solanki.

1.40 pm – 2.20 pm

Manto: The Man and the Legend

Nandita Das who is directing a biopic on author Sadat Hasan Manto will be at the festival. In this session, she along with the lead actor of the film Nawazuddin Siddiqui will speak to journalist Vinod Dua.

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm

The Great Survivor

In this session, William Dalrymple will speak to Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan from 2004-2014 and who still remains a prominent figure in Afghan politics.

3.45 pm – 4.45 pm

The Rosogolla Wars

Remember the great Rosogolla war, where a bitter fight between West Bengal and Odisha had played out in public regarding the origin of the sweet? To shed more light on this, author Ajoy Bose, Arunava Sinha, Sanjoy K Roy, author Sudeep Chakravarti and journalist and MP Swapan Dasgupta will be in conversation with author Sampurna Chattarji.

Nude: The Poet Within

Director Vishal Bhardwaj, who recently released his book of poems will be in conversation with poet Sukrita Paul Kumar in this session.

Language, Identity and Translation

In this session, Anna Cecilia Moulton, CEO of Magabala books — an indigenous publishing house — Annie Montaut, Professor Emeritus of Hindi Language and Literature at Institut National des langues et civilisations orientales (INALCO), Paris and who has translated several seminal books in French, Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, professor of Media and Creative Industries at Aberystwyth University, Han Yujoo, a South Korean writer, Mridula Nath Chakroborty, Deputy Director, Monash Asia Institute Monash University and Australian writer Tara June Winch will be in conversation with poet Sudeep Sen.

4.45 pm – 5.15 pm

A Tribute to Gauri Lankesh

Chandan Gowda, professor of Sociology at Azim Premji University will be in conversation with author and journalist Kota Neelima and Salil Tripathi in this session.

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm

Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech in India

Author Abhinav Chandrachud, poet Ashok Vajpeyi, lawyer Pinky Anand and actor and politician Vani Tripathi Tikoo will speak to Salil Tripathi in this session.

Third Day (January 27)

9.15 am – 9.50 am

The day will begin with the musical performance by Bindhumalini and Vadantha.

10.00 am – 11.00 am

The Joy Luck Club

In this session, that derives its name from Amy Tan’s first novel, the American writer will be in conversation with author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi.

11.15 am – 12.15 pm

Bridget Jones’ Diaries

This will be Helen Fielding’s first time in India and in this session she will talk to Meru Gokhale about her famous literary creation, Bridget Jones.

12.30 pm -1.30 pm

Armed and Dangerous: Of Words and Lovers

Author and journalist Amitava Kumar and journalist Manu Joseph, introduced by Anuja Chauhan will be in conversation in this session.

1.40 pm – 2.20 pm

Litro World Series: India: The Power of Fiction Across Borders and of Translation

Former diplomat Shashi Tharoor, Korean writer Suki Kim, poet Tishani Doshi and author Vivek Shanbhag will be in conversation with Eric Akoto, editor-in-chief and publisher of Litro Magazine.

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm

Adaptations

In this session, Tan along with Michael Ondaatje, Mira Nair, Nicholas Shakespeare and Tom Stoppard will be in conversation with Chiki Sarkar.

3.45 pm – 4.45 pm

When the Moon Shines By Day

The session, that borrows its name from Nayantara Sahgal’s latest book, will have the author in conversation with author Chandrahas Choudhury.

The Wodehouse Effect

In this session, Norman, Shashi Tharoor and Swapan Dasgupta will be in conversation with Amrita Tripathi and will talk about the ‘British author’s effect’.

4.45 pm – 5.15 pm

Book Launch: The Little Book Of Memories: Istanbul & Goa

In this session noted designer JJ Valaya will launch his book of photography and will be in conversation with William Dalrymple.

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm

Globe to Globe: Why Hamlet Works in Every Country of the World

In this session, English theatre director and writer, Dominic Dromgoole will chat with Tom Stoppard and analyse the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s famous play.

Remnants of a Separation

The session, that borrows its name from oral historian Aanchal Malhotra’s book, will have her along author Chand Sur with publisher Urvashi Butalia talking about Partition.

Fourth Day (January 28)

9.15 am – 9.50 am

The day will begin with the performance by Ambi Subramaniam and Bindu Subramaniam.

10.00 am – 11.00 am

Manhunt: Pakistan and the Search for Bin Laden

In this session journalists Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark, Peter Bergen along with former Indian High Commissioner to Singapore and Pakistan, TCA Raghavan will be in conversation with Suhasini Haidar.

11.15 am – 12.15 pm

The Art of the Novel: On Writing Fiction

In this session, that borrows its name from Milan Kundera’s novel, Tan, Helen Fielding, Michael Ondaatje and Nigerian-born author Chika Unigwe will be in conversation with Choudhury.

The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History and Civilisation

This session, that will focus on the power of the written world, literary critic and professor Martin Puchner will be in conversation with Bhabha.

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Vita and Virginia: The True Love Story Behind Orlando

Virginia Woolf’s controversial friendship with Victoria Sackville-West had resulted in the 1928 novel Orlando: A Biography (“Orlando”), a parodical historiography of Orlando the nobleman who becomes a woman spanning some three hundred years. In this session, cultural historian Alexandra Harris, author Juliet Nicolson will converse with author Adam Nicolson and delve into this unusual friendship.

1.40 pm -/ 2.20 pm

Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se: Celebrating Lyric Poetry

The session, that borrows its name from Sahir Ludhianvi’s famous line will have Tikoo and poet Yatindra Mishra in conversation with Saxena.

Andhakar Kaal: Colonialism and its After Effects
In this session, Tharoor and Saurabh Dwivedi, founding editor of The Lallantop will be in conversation with senior journalist Anant Vijay.

Book Launch
Pakistan Heritage Cuisine: A Food Story

This book by Sayeeda Leghari will be launched by Dipa Bagai. There will also be a session where Atul Bagai, Vinod Dua and Hussain Haroon,  Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations from September 2008 to December 2012 will be in conversation.

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm

Cleopatra: Queen, Lover, Legend

In this session, British historian and biographer Lucy Hughes-Hallett will talk about the enigmatic queen with Adam Nicolson.

The Perils of Celebrity

In this session, Soha Ali Khan, along with mother Sharmila Tagore will be in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy.

3.45 pm – 4.45 pm

Translating the Untranslatable

In this session, Akhil Katyal, Russian poet Galina Lazareva, Mini Krishnan, who sources and edits fictions from different Indian languages, and Radha Chakrabarty will be in conversation with Manasi Subramaniam, editor at Penguin Random House India.

4.45 pm – 5.15 pm

Book Launch Touch the Sky: The Inspiring Stories of Women from Across India Who Are Writing Their Own Destiny

Written by Rashmi Bansal, the book will be launched by Sonal Mansingh.

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm

The Feminine Gaze: Women Writing Memoir

In this session, author Abeer Y Hoque, American journalist and lawyer Alia Malek, Amy Tan and Juliet Nicolson will be in conversation with author Keggie Carew. Adapting the feminine gaze while looking at memoirs makes it a session to look out for.

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong

In this session,  English science journalist Angela Saini, enterpreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Lisa Randall, American theoretical physicist will talk with Namita Bhandare and investigate how science got women wrong.

Fifth Day (January 29)

9.15 am – 9.50 am

The final day will begin with the performance by Tritha & Martin.

10:00 am – 11.00 am

Narratives of Power, Songs of Resistance

In this session, Jovan Mays, Emeritus Poet Laureate of Aurora, Colorado, and author Sujatha Gidla will be in conversation with columnist Ajoy Bose.

The Book of Chocolate Saints

The session that derives its name from Jeet Thayil’s latest novel will have the author converse with Sampurna Chattarji.

11.15 am – 12.15 pm

History, Myth and the Spaces in Between

In this session, author Gurcharan Das, American Indologist Philip A Lutgendorf and author Samhita Arni will be in conversation with academician Malashri Lal.

Why Being Fair Matters, Especially When it Doesn’t

In this session, media activist Jyoti Gupta will be in conversation with  Puneeta Roy, managing trustee of The Yuva Ekta Foundation. There will be also be recitations by Jovan Mays and Melizarani T Selva.

12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

We That Are Young: Dreams and Dystopias

In this session, authors Prayaag Akbar and Preti Taneja will be in conversation with Mohini Gupta.

1.40 pm – 2.20 pm

Fashion and Modernity

In this session, Anja Aronowsky Cronej, the founder and editor-in-chief of the publication Vestoj, Malika Verma Kashyap, founder of Border&Fall, a digital publication and strategic agency and Paola Antonelli, a senior curator at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in the Department of Architecture & Design will be in conversation with Pramod Kumar KG, Managing Director of Eka Archiving Services.

2.30 pm – 3.30 pm

Women of the Revolutions

In this session, journalist Alia Malek, writer Nasera Sharma, Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian novelist, poet and political essayist will be in conversation with Egyptian writer Yasmine El Rashidi.

3.45 pm – 4.45 pm

The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World

Introduced by Martin Puchner, Maya Jasanoff, professor of History at Harvard University will speak on this session.

Anil’s Ghost

This session, that borrows its name from Michael Ondaatje’s novel, will have the author himself conversing with Chandrahas Choudhury.

4.45 pm – 5.15 pm

Supergirls: Young and Old

In this session, Atima Mankotiam will be in conversation with author Shabnam Minwalla.

5.15 pm – 6.15 pm

Closing Debate : #MeToo: Do Men Still Have It too Easy?

The closing debate will have Bee Rowlatt, John Freeman, Pinky Anand, Ruchira Gupta, Sandip Roy, John Freeman and Vinod Dua, and will be moderated by Namita Bhandare.

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