Jaipur Literature Festival

Jaipur Literature Festival
Photo: jaipurliteraturefestival.org
The Jaipur Literature Festival is the largest literary festival in India and one of the largest events of its kind in Asia. It is held annually at the Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur, Rajasthan. One of the festival’s main objectives is to contribute to increasing literacy rate in the country: with literacy rate about 75%, India currently has the largest illiterate population of all nations.

The Jaipur Literature Festival was founded in 2006 as a segment of the Jaipur Heritage International Festival designed to introduce the residents of Rajasthan to the best of contemporary Indian literature. The inaugural edition of the festival featured 18 writers including Namita Gokhale, Shobhaa De, William Dalrymple, and Hari Kunzru. Two years later, the festival became an independent event produced by Teamwork Arts.

Since the very first year of its existence the Jaipur Literature Festival has been 100% free. All events featured in its program are free and not ticketed. The organizers considerable it inexcusable to charge people for attending a literary event in the country that has the largest concentration of people living below the World Bank’s poverty line and the largest illiterate population.

The festival’s daily cultural program is built around readings of significant works written in the languages of India including Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and Malayalam. The program also features meetings with renowned authors and thinkers from across the world. Authors who have appeared at the Jaipur Literature Festival include Vikram Seth, Patrick French, Salman Rushdie, Irvine Welsh, Martin Amis, Wole Soyinka, John Coetzee, Adam Zagajewski, Junot Diaz, Orhan Pamuk, Kiran Desai, Richard Ford, Candace Bushnell, and others. Morning and evening music concerts are among the festival’s main highlights.

The festival is also known for its Jaipur BookMark initiative. It’s a B2B event held parallel to the main festival. It provides a platform for authors, literary agents, publishers and translation agencies to meet, negotiate business deals, attend industry-related events and perhaps even sign the occasional contract. Jaipur BookMark attracts attendees from India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, France, Israel, and other countries. The event’s prime focus is translation as it strives to introduce Indian literature to a wider audience.

In 2021, the event was held partially online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jaipur Literature Festival

Photo by Azad Essa




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