Monday, March 31, 2014

Jaipur Literary Festival

Image copyrighted by the Jaipur Literary Festival Every January, the glittering literati from the world over gather in the fabled Indian city of Jaipur to exchange ideas, present their thoughts, engage in heated debates, and discuss everything under the sun from fiction to biography, from history to music, and much, much more. Music concerts, art displays, and a wide variety of food forms the esthetic nourishment for the literary discussions.

And best of all, the Jaipur Literary Festival is completely free to the general public. As you scroll through the 2014 program by venue or by date (January 17–21), you can watch videos of most of the sessions. The organizers and sponsors of the festival have really gone out of their way to support the idea that knowledge is meant to be shared widely and freely.

The main themes for 2014 were: Crime and Punishment, Democracy Dialogues, Women Uninterrupted, and Endangered Languages.

For a festival that is still in its infancy, started in 2006, it still featured over 240 authors, some of them very big names. Consider these: British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mauritian Francophone writer Ananda Devi, Indian historian Urvashi Butalia, Iranian-American religion scholar Reza Aslan, British historian William Dalrymple, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, British Roman scholar Mary Beard, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, British author Geoff Dyer, Harvard professor Homi Bhabha, American novelist Jonathan Franzen, Olympic gold medalist boxer Mary Kom, and on and on.

I have stars in my eyes just reading that program. What would it have been like to have been there. So listen to these talks amidst the splendor of the Diggi Palace, attending "The Greatest Literary Show on Earth!," according to Tina Brown.