WITH AROUND 30 languages represented from India and across the globe, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) 2017 is bound to be more multi-vocal than ever.
At an event that marked the countdown to the literary festival, organisers spoke about how history, biographies, cinema, screenwriting and translations will be key themes of JLF 2017, which will be held in Jaipur from January 19-23. Additionally, as part of a new partnership with the British Library, a facsimile of the 1215 Magna Carta will be brought to India and put on display as part of a programme that looks at the legacy of the important famous treaty. Speaking to FE, Sanjoy K Roy, director, Teamwork Arts, which produces the festival, said, “Next year is India’s 70th anniversary, so our focus has been on world history in general. But the key theme is ‘freedom to dream’. We are 70 years old, we want people to dream… in relationship to that is a discussion series on the Constitution. The Magna Carta coming to India for the first time is also a big thing. We have Babu Basu doing a quiz programme around literature. So there are a host of programmes.”
The festival will feature authors writing in Indian regional languages, including Volga in Telugu; SL Bhyrappa and Vivek Shanbhag in Kannada; Kaajal Oza Vaidya in Gujarati; CP Deval and Hari Ram Meena in Rajasthani; Kanak Dixit and Binod Chaudhary in Nepali; Dhrubajyoti Bora in Assamese; Gulzar and Javed Akhtar in Urdu; Jatindra K Nayak in Oriya; Naseem Shafaie and Neerja Mattoo in Kashmiri; Arunava Sinha and Radha Chakravarty in Bengali, among others. Writers in Hindi include Ajay Navaria, Anu Singh Choudhary, Manav Kaul, Mrinal Pande, Narendra Kohli and Yatindra Mishra.
Joining these names will be international writers like Alan Hollinghurst and Richard Flanagan;
NoViolet Bulawayo, the first black African woman to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013; two-time Academy Award nominee Sir David Hare; internationally acclaimed poet Anne Waldman; 2016 Emerging Voices Award-winner Eka Kurniawan; writer, journalist and broadcaster Simon Winchester and Italian writer and publisher Roberto Calasso; among others.
More than 100 literary fests have started since the JLF kicked off 10 years ago, says Roy, but it’s important to have a sense of what people want to listen to. “Copycat festivals will have problems surviving.
You have to find a USP… But we must allow thousand festivals to bloom across the subcontinent because, in today’s divisive times, platforms of empathy and equality, and discussions on varied issues are vital,” he adds.