Jaipur Literature Festival announces impressive second tranche of speakers

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13 November 2019, Pune- The annual Jaipur Literature Festival announced its second list of speakers for the much-awaited 13th edition, set to take place from23-27 January 2020 at its customary picturesque home: the Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur. As the just-released list shows, the Festival will once again be a grand marathon of ideas between idealists, realists, visionaries, intellectuals, the avant-garde and the iconoclasts, who will engage in informed discussion and be united by an abiding love for literature.

The second list of 25 speakers include recipient of the prestigious George Polk Award Anand Gopal, author of ‘No Good Men Among the Living: America’; activist Anuradha Bhagwati, award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed book ‘Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience’; noted Indianpoet Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, author of ‘Blue Is Like Blue’; bestselling author Åsne Seierstad, author of 5 books based on Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Chechnya and Norway; ex-Minister of European Affairs in Portugal Bruno Maçães who wrote the Financial Times Book of the Year ‘The Dawn of Eurasia’; New Delhi-based bookmaker Devangana Dash, author and illustrator of ‘The Jungle Radio: Bird Songs of India’ and veteran journalist Dexter Filkins, who received the Pulitzer for covering Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The list also includes a vastly diverse mix of journalists, activists, columnists, broadcastersand poets. The eminent names are National Book Award finalist Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of ‘Eat Pray Love’, which has sold over 15 million copies worldwide; columnist Fintan O’Toole, author of seven books, including the bestselling ‘A Traitor’s Kiss’; Delhi-born authorKeshava Guha,who writes regularly on politics, literature and sports for a host of publications; novelist and activist Leïla Slimani, winner of the prestigious French literature award Prix Goncourt for her second novel, ‘Chanson douce’; poet Lemn Sissay, who has read on stage throughout the world from the Library of Congress in the United States to the University of Addis Ababa.

The list consists of celebrated people like acclaimed actress and author of several cookbooks Madhur Jaffrey, recipient of an honorary CBE and winner of the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival; columnist Neelum Saran Gour, recipient of The Hindu Prize for Fiction 2018 for her latest novel, ‘Requiem in Raga Janki’; Editorial Director, Managing Director, President and Chairman of CondéNastand Chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum Nicholas Coleridge, author of 14 books, including his memoir ‘The Glossy Years’.

The list continues with Indian columnist Parvati Sharma, author of the historical biography titled ‘Jahangir: An Intimate Portrait of a Great Mughal’; and of‘The Silk Roads’,Peter Frankopan, who was named one of the World’s 50 Top Thinkers by Prospect Magazine; Paul Muldoon,a former BBC radio and television producer and author of 13 collections of poetry, including ‘Moy Sand and Gravel’ for which he was awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; National Book Award finalist Peter Hessler, recipient of the Kiriyama Prize for his book ‘River Town’; well-known TV anchor and journalist, Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awardee, recipient of the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award, author of ‘The Free Voice – On Democracy, Culture and The Nation’, Ravish Kumar, host of NDTV’s flagship shows: ‘Prime Time’, ‘Hum Log’ and ‘Ravish Ki Report’; author of nine books, including the bestselling ‘The Case’ R. Gopalakrishnan, who served as the Chairman of Unilever Arabia, MD of Brooke Bond Lipton, Vice Chairman of Hindustan Lever and as Director of Tata Sons.

The list also includes novelist Roshan Ali, author of ‘Ib’s Endless Search for Satisfaction’ which has been shortlisted for the 2019 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the 2019 JCB Prize for Literature; Indian academician Shekhar Pathak, recipient of the Padma Shri; UK Poet Laureate Simon Armitage, who published 12 full-length collections, most recently ‘Paper Aeroplane’ and ‘Selected Poems’; and Mughal historian Supriya Gandhi, author of ‘The Emperor Who Never Was: Dara Shukoh in Mughal India’.

Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “The second list we have announced for January 2020 has an intriguing mix of new and established, popular and unexpected speakers. Some of our favourite writers, including Ravish Kumar, Shekhar Pathak and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Leila Slimeni, and Peter Frankopan, return to Jaipur. I am excited about welcoming all these wonderful authors to the Festival, and listening in to Bruno Macaes, Anuradha Bhagwati, Roshan Ali, and of course the one and only MadhurJaffrey.”

William Dalrymple, writer, historian and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said “The names we are revealing this week include some of the great masters of contemporary literature: three of our greatest poets, Simon Armitage, the brilliant British poet laureate, Lemn Sissay and Arvind Krishna Malhotra; Leila Slimani returning with her explosive new novel; Peter Hessler of the New Yorker, with his highly acclaimed new book on Egypt; Dexter Filkins, one of the world’s most acclaimed war correspondents; Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame and the great Asne Seierstad, author of the Bookseller of Kabul. And that’s not including brilliant new talent like Supriya Gandhi with her book on Dara Shukoh. I can barely believe the talent we are bringing together this year.”

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “As we gear up for the 13th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, we reinforce our commitment to bringing the best literary experience for our audiences through discourse and debate. This year’s programme features the best writers and academics from across the world including Nobel Laureates, Booker, Commonwealth, Sahitya Akademi, JCB and Crossword prize winners, as well as a host of new voices who will disarm you with their perspective of our world.”

The Festival’s B2B arm, Jaipur BookMark (JBM), now in its 7th edition, is a platform for publishers, literary agents, translation agencies and writers wanting to talk business along with focussed sessions with major industry players from across the world. In an effort to engage with emerging writers who are looking for platforms to showcase their work, JBM launched the ‘First Book Club’ in January 2017, a mentorship programme for first-time writers, which was repositioned as the ‘iWrite’ mentorship initiative to include all aspiring authors with unpublished manuscripts sitting in their heads or on their computers. The last date for submitting entries for iWrite 2019 is December 10, 2019. The top 10 shortlisted candidates will be announced in the last week of December. The shortlisted candidates will get a platform to share their work and receive constructive guidance from both national and international publishers, literary agents, translators and other industry experts at a pitching session at Jaipur during JBM. Post the pitching session, some stand a chance to perhaps even sign a book deal!

The Festival has announced an exclusive early bird discount of 25% on its Delegate Experience, which offers a compelling cultural journey at the Festival, with delegate-only sessions, a chance to rest and recharge in the quiet of a well-stocked Delegate Lounge with refreshments and beverages on offer, a networking cocktail, lunches where one can mingle with authors, and passes to the Festival Heritage Event and the Jaipur Music Stage. The early bird discount is available at 25% for the Delegate Experience registrations (on using the code: EARLY25).