Four Nobel laureates headline Jaipur Literature Festival 2022
With no less than four Nobel Laureates among the speakers, the Jaipur Literature Festival 2022 will live up to its reputation as the largest literature festival in the world.
The 2019 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Abhijit Banerjee, will be the star attraction of this year’s hybrid extravaganza. The online sessions started on March 5, while the on-site festival will be held at Clarks Amer Hotel in Jaipur from March 10-14.
Other Nobel laureates to mark their presence at the festival are Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002; Abdulrazak Gurnah, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, 2021; and Giorgio Parisi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, 2021.
Although the festival features thinkers and writers from a variety of fields, the programming for this year’s edition’s literature component is a Who’s Who of contemporary literary luminaries.
“Every year we bring the world’s greatest writers of fiction and non-fiction to Jaipur, but we’ve never had such an amazing lineup like this,” said William Dalrymple, author and co-director of the festival. “2021 Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah will join 2021 Booker Prize Laureate Damon Galgut and 2021 Baillie Gifford Laureate Patrick Radden Keefe, as well as Dolman Laureate Taran Khan. Colm Toibin, Jonathan Franzen, Shehan Karunatilake (Commonwealth Book Prize 2012), Lisa Taddeo, Nadifa Mohammed, Tahmima Anam, Elif Shafak, DBC Pierre (Booker Prize 2003) and Monica Ali will round out our first XI of great global names in fiction.”
Listing other speakers in the literature segment, Dalrymple added, “It will be the most amazing few days and a vintage Jaipur Literature Festival that should not be missed.”
“India75”, celebrating 75 years of the country’s independence, is a highlight of the festival.
A session on the country’s electoral process, the keystone of India’s democracy, will feature former Chief Election Commissioner Navin B. Chawla, BJP spokesperson and author of Makers of Modern Dalit History Guru Prakash Paswan , and retired Supreme Court Justice, Justice Madan B .Lokur. There will be discussions on the evolution of modern India, the ideological involvement of youth and the disability rights movement in India.
Along with top literary sessions, there will be conversations and book launches on the themes of Indian art, culture and languages.
Film actor Neena Gupta, theater personality Dolly Thakore and singer Remo Fernandes will be among the talks.
No less than 15 Indian languages will be featured in various sessions of the festival, with Malayalam poet K. Satchidanandan and Malayalam author M. Mukundan (winner of the 2021 JCB Literature Prize for Delhi: The City and Its People) as the main ones attractions.
Now in its 15th year, the festival is a far cry from its relatively humble beginnings in 2006. Yet it always seemed ready for the spectacular spectacle it would become, in part because of the “must-be-seen-at”. event it has become for the wealthy. No wonder its genuinely electric vibe also appeals to people who aren’t particularly into books. Movie stars, music, and food add to the appeal.
Predictably, the festival’s music stage – a ticketed event – remains one of its most popular offerings. This year it will feature contemporary Indian classical ensemble Anirudh Varma Collective, leading Indian fusion band Advaita, Sufi folk singer Kutch Mooralala Marwada, Rajasthan folk ensemble Kutle Khan Project, Kashmiri singer Ali Saffuddin and the Hindi rock project Ankur & The Ghalat Family.
The writer is a New Delhi-based journalist, editor and arts consultant.