The 17th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) got underway at Jaipur on February 1, 2024. Touted as “the greatest literary show on earth”, this year’s edition will see more than 550 writers and artists from different nationalities descend on the city for the five-day soiree. Among the authors will be the likes of Paul Lynch, who recently won the Booker Prize 2023, for his highly dystopian novel The Prophet Song, the 2023 Booker Prize winner Georgi Gospodinov, who wrote the dystopian fiction Time Shelter, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of Uncommon Love and Independence, Bonnie Garmus author of Lessons in Chemistry, Richard Osman, JCB 2023 Award winner Perumal Murugan author of Fire Bird and Shashi Tharoor.
The 5-day literary extravaganza is being held at Hotel Clarks Amer and focuses on the theme – ‘Stories Unite Us’.
Like in the past, this year too, the festival has focussed on celebrating linguistic diversity and features a broad spectrum of works from different languages and sessions that include discussions on literary works rendered in languages such as Assamese, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Odiya, Punjabi, Tamil and Urdu.
Other well-known personalities will include British classicist Mary Beard, English historian-broadcaster Tom Holland, Hollywood actor-writer Kal Penn, acclaimed Hindi novelist and writer Mridula Garg and award-winning author of three novels, Nilanjana S Roy, among others.
Among the sessions will also be a session on first novels that will include authors like Bonnie Garmus, who wrote the bestselling Lessons in Chemistry, Devika Rege who wrote the critically acclaimed Quarterlife. Another session that is likely to interest the audiences will be on screen adaptations of novels and will include, apart from Bonnie Garmus, Kai Bird, author of American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. The session will discuss the process behind transforming the written word for the screen and the nuances of the craft.
For those interested in learning how the marketing aspects of books works, there will be sessions that will discuss threadbare the logistics and lay bare the secrets of how to market novels. The second day of the event will see leading marketing and brand building experts such as Pragya Tiwari, Saksham Garg and Atika Gupta in conversation with Kunzum founder Ajay Jain discussing “Marketing in the Times of Social Media”.
For any author, just getting the book published isn’t enough. At the end of the day, it has to result in sales and for it to result in sales, there have to be bookstores. Bookstore wizards – Ajay Jain, Aakash Gupta, Aditi Maheshwari-Goyal, Pulkit Tiwari, Vishal Pinjani, Priya Kapoor will discuss “The Alchemy of Bookselling” on the third day of the festival.
For spy fiction lovers, a special session titled “The name is Fleming, Ian Fleming” will see award-winning biographer Nicholas Shakespeare discussing his recent work Ian Fleming: The Complete Man, which offers us a fresh portrait of the man behind James Bond and his enduring legacy.
That is not all. The festival will also look at the Indian publishing industry, especially, the Indian language publishing industry and will dwell upon where the industry is headed and its future and scope of growth.
The five-day festival will also see sessions discussing graphic novels, art and filmmaking with renowned artist Sarnath Banerjee. Apart from that Vivek Shanbhag, author of the recently released Sakina’s Kiss, will take us into the world of crime novels, and a deep dive into the world artificial intelligence not just in terms of generative text, but also its use in tackling climate and environmental challenges.
There will also be discussions on Palestine, the British Empire, Cholas at War, alongside discussions on topics such as environment, fossil fuels, etc.
A number of first editions will also be launched at the festival over the course of the five days. Also featuring on the first list of speakers are: Debra Diamond, curator of South Asian and Southeast Asian Art at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art; debut novelist of Quarterlife Devika Rege; Best-selling American author of The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death Jeff Goodell; prize-winning and bestselling broadcaster Jerry Brotton; acclaimed Hindi novelist and writer Mridula Garg and award-winning author of three novels Nilanjana S Roy.
The list continues with award-winning journalist-author Patrick Radden Keefe; journalist-novelist Raj Kamal Jha; British writer Ben Macintyre; recipient of 47 honorary doctorates RA Mashelkar and former Chief Justice of Orissa High Court S Muralidhar, among others.