As Dalrymple changes his mind on Rajiv Malhotra, JLF attendees must take on Dinanath Batra and the threat to books in India, says Hartosh Singh Bal

william_dalrympleThe Jaipur Literature Festival, or to give it its rightful name this year, the ZEE-Jaipur Literature Festival, has, like every other year, attracted a number of well-known authors. But this year in India is not like any other year. We have a new government in place, and the change from one dispensation to another is reflected in the festival as Tarun Tejpal gives way to Tarun Vijay.

Of course it is not incumbent upon the festival to reflect on this change; politics need not be the stuff of literature. But over the past year, a man named Dinanath Batra—who has the full endorsement of the current dispensation—has had considerable success in ensuring that publishers think more than twice about publishing anything that may annoy the Sangh Parivar, which is but a name for the vast amorphous machinery of Hindutva ideologues that drives the BJP. So even if politics does not concern the festival, its impact on literature should.  

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling novel “Eat, Pray, Love” has pulled out of appearing at the Jaipur Literature Festival days before it opens on Jan. 21 in India’s pink city.

Ms. Gilbert, who was set to speak about her most recent novel “The Signature of All Things,” cited medical conditions preventing her from traveling to India to attend the festival, according to organizers.

Organizers of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival have unveiled the final lineup of speakers at the 2015 festival, which is scheduled take place in Jaipur from Jan. 21 to 25.

On deck for South Asia’s best-known literary jamboree: Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul, author of “A House for Mr. Biswas” and other novels; travel writers Paul Theroux and Elizabeth Gilbert, the latter of “Eat Pray Love” fame; British screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi; Indian author Chetan Bhagat; Vijay Seshadri, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton; statistician and risk scholar Nicholas Nassim Taleb; Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya; and more than 200 others.

For the first time, a day long event of the popular Jaipur Literature Festival will be organised in London as part of an annual festival of South Asian culture in the United Kingdom. 

The organisers of JLF have partnered with renowned South Bank Centre for their festival of South Asian culture ‘Alchemy’ and will hold a day-long event on the lines of the annual literary festival held in Jaipur. 

william_dalrympleIn 2004, ten days after I moved my family to a new life in India, I gave a reading at a small palace on the edge of the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur. Fourteen people turned up, of whom ten were Japanese tourists who had got lost. The next year, I helped organise a modest literary programme of 18 authors. Two failed to arrive, but with the aid of my co-director, Namita Gokhale, we gathered a respectable audience of nearly 100. Eight years later, however, by some strange yogic sleight of hand, the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival has shape-shifted into the largest free litfest in the world and the largest literary event in the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Fiction, Nonfiction and the Space in Between: WSJ on JLF’s Day Two

JhumpaThe first session on the Jaipur Literature Festival’s Front Lawns on Saturday was entitled “The Global Novel,” and for an hour, the six international panelists circled their subject warily, never quite agreeing upon what they should debating. But the slippery topic did yield some firm insights.

Moderator and author Chandrahas Choudhury began by proposing that the novel has been global for as long as it has existed. But he asked whether was something different today, now that, thanks to technology and globalization, authors can have a larger and farther-flung audience than previously imaginable.

American novelist Jonathan Franzen feared that his upbringing made his viewpoint necessarily circumscribed. “I was born in the center of the great colonial power of my era,” Mr. Franzen said. “Certain questions of identity and concern about the rest of the world didn’t necessarily apply in the Midwest of the U.S. in 1959.”