Jaipur Literature Fest
By Uditi Gupta, based on the Jaipur Literature Festival
The revered Jaipur Literature Festival is known to be Asia’s largest free literary event of its kind. What began as a part of Jaipur Heritage International Festival in 2006 has now become an annual standalone festival rendered by Sanjoy Roy of Teamwork Productions together with William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale, the festival directors and noted writers. Hosted in the Diggi Palace Hotel of Jaipur every year, the fest celebrated its 9th year as Zee Jaipur Literature Festival in 2016.
Acclaimed writers and scholars, honoured business minds, renowned sportsman and entertainers, creative practitioners, and prominent leaders of the world come together under one roof to celebrate this 5-days long festival spruced up in a Rajasthani heritage camouflage set in the Diggi Palace Hotel. The Jaipur Literature Festival lives up to every literature aficionado’s expectation by offering free and privileged access to noted thinkers from across the world. Interacting with some of the greatest faces and voices of the world or having a light conversation with one’s favorite speaker over a coffee on a cool breezy day is emblematic to JLF.
It’s not just the literary faces at the lookout, JLF boasts an impressive line-up of cultural events and musical concerts that one may look up to. There are plenty of Rajasthani snacks set on the front ground to satiate one’s food desires. With over 60,000 visitants from over 24 countries, JLF claims to attract the largest festival audience by 2011 in the Asia Pacific Region – featuring 224 speakers in 140 sessions and over 100 musicians in 20 concerts. The book reading sessions and the poetry recitation sessions set up a high-profile aura for those who have a knack for reading. One can also please oneself by browsing through the bookstore and purchasing a copy of one’s favorite speaker and getting it signed at the meet-and-greet sessions.
Year after year, JLF has set up a new benchmark in the list of literary events and this year’s fest was able to meet that benchmark in all glory. It started out with a morning saga sung by the celebrated classical singer Gayatri Kaundinya followed by a Keynote address by the Booker Prize winner and acclaimed writer Margaret Atwood. Veteran actor Anupam Kher, noted writer and photographer Abeer Y Hoque, debut writer Amish Tripathi, revered cricketer Anil Kumble, footballer Baichung Bhutia, writer and journalist Barkha Dutt, honorable poet and lyricist Gulzar were amongst the many important speakers to grace the event with their presence.
The overwhelming worldwide participation is one of the main reasons for JLF’s grand success. While some are left smitten by the event’s dynamism and make it a point to come back next year, others, who are regulars, come and dwell in the oomph of the literary circle that engulfs them and even have some friends tag along. The Jaipur Literature Festival portrays a classic art scene with a motive to kindle the intellect of the people with endless talks and discussions and various cultural performances.