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3 Indian writers to attend Lahore fest

By Simran Sodhi

While the India-Pakistan deadlock continues over hardcore political issues, visible signs of detente have begun to emerge in areas of cultural and soft diplomacy.

Diplomatic sources confirmed to The Tribune that three Indian authors will be attending the Lahore literary festival starting February 24. The three-day event will see the participation of a number of celebrated writers and thinkers from all over South Asia.

British journalist Anita Anand and historian William Dalrymple will also be in attendance to discuss their new book Kohinoor. Interestingly, the International Advisory Committee for the Lahore Fest 2017 comprises Maina Bhagat of the Apeejay Kolkata Literature Fest and Namita Gokhale of the Jaipur Literature Festival, among others. This comes close on the heels of the previous ice breaker in the relationship with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations sponsoring four Indian authors to the Karachi literary festival held from February 10-12; known Indian author Urvashi Butalia was among those present. Read more

Source: Tribune India

 


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India: Two upcoming festivals in Mumbai to focus on India’s regional literature

By Kaushani Banerjee

While there has been a rapid growth in the sheer number of literary festivals around the country, most of them tend to focus on English literature. International authors are often the star attractions at these events and there is often little or almost no spotlight for regional authors, who are left confined to school textbooks. But two homegrown festivals in the city are slowly working their way towards shifting focus to regional literature. Lit O Fest and Gateway LitFest, both in their third year, have a burgeoning line-up of authors who will engage in talks, panel discussions and book launches.

The Multicultural aspect

Lit O Fest is a not just a literature festival, it’s a multi-cultural event that will be held over two days. The usual panel discussions will be interspersed with dance and music performances. “It is a showcase of Indian culture focusing on arts, music and dance. This year, the festival has adopted a village in Maharashtra called Dahigaon and started a school in it as well. We plan to adopt other villages as well and make them self-sufficient. So it’s not just literature, it’s also literacy in rural India,” says festival director Smita Parikh.

Popular authors such as Anand Neelakantan, Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrymple, Ashwin Sanghi and Shatrujeet Nath will be in attendance. Renowned Hindi authors Kedarnath Singh and Uday Prakash will be felicitated this year at the festival. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Delhi gears up for its homegrown lit fest

By Srija Naskar

Delhi’s very own literature festival is being organised from 10-12 February, 2017,  at one of the most prominent and centrally-located venues here — the Dilli Haat, opposite INA Market. Organised with the objective of promoting arts and literature, and to provide a platform to young authors and publishers, the first chapter of the Delhi Literature Festival (DLF)was inaugurated in 2013 by the then Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit. Since then, the last four editions have seen active participation from high-profile politicians, as well as award-winning authors, diplomats, publishers, artists, journalists, bloggers, and last but not least the thousands of book lovers of this city.

DLF 2017 will witness talks and discussions by eminent authors, poets and bureaucrats — including Ashok Vajpayee, Munawwar Rana, Dr. Alexander Evans, Navtej Sarna, Vikas Swaroop, Baldeo Bhai Sharma, Christopher Doyle, Ashok Chakradhar, Sanjaya Baru, Kumar Vishwas, William Dalrymple, Omair Ahmad, Saba Naqvi, Avirook Sen, Taslima Nasreen and many others from within India and abroad. The itinerary involves three days of panel discussions, book launches, poetry recitations, book readings and interactions with eminent authors, writers and bloggers. Read more

Source: Sunday Guardian Live


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Jaipur blows out candles on decade of promoting Asian writing

By Victoria Burrows

Without the storytelling traditions of his native Indonesia, writer Eka Kurniawan says he’d “just be a boring writer who literally followed what was being said by language teachers at school.” Instead, last year he became the first Indonesian writer to be nominated for a Man Booker International Prize.

Kurniawan will be on stage speaking about his work at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival (jaipurliteraturefestival.org), which runs from January 19 to 23 in Rajasthan, India, and is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival hosted 18 writers and drew a crowd of about 100 attendees, including some who “appeared to be tourists who had simply got lost,” according to the author William Dalrymple, who is the event’s co-director. Read more

Source: Asia Times


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Who’s who to attend 10th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival from Jan 19

The stage is set for the annual show for booklovers. The Jaipur Literature Festival, to be held between January 19 and 23, is expected to be a veritable feast this year with over 250 acclaimed authors, including Anne Waldman, Swanand Kirkire, Vikram Chandra and Tahmima Anam, to attend the event at the Jaipur’s Diggi Palace Hotel.

Having hosted 1,300 speakers and nearly 1.2 million book lovers over the last decade, the event has grown into the country’s biggest literature festival.

Organisers of the festival, in a press communiqué, said over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians, journalists and popular culture icons were expected to attend the event this year.

American poet, Anne Waldman, who has penned over 40 poetry books, will make her maiden visit to the literature festival this year. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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History revisited: Author William Darlymple questions the static nature of history

By Sukant Deepak

William Dalrymple will speak to us on one condition. “Order tea for me, and make me talk.” When boys in their teenage were chasing girls, he was in the darkroom, experimenting with black and white. “Of course! I never chased girls. I don’t chase girls. I will never chase girls!” he says and hugs the delicate Olivia Fraser, his wife.

The location is perfect. Almost. No one disturbs us at the outdoor café ‘Stop ‘N Stare’ in Chandigarh. While Fraser, wearing a permanent smile on her lips ignores us completely and buries herself into a book, Dalrymple, known best for books like The City of Djinns and The White Mughals, between sips of kadak chai, talks about his recent book of black and white photographs The Writer’s Eye, a collection of 60 photographs shot over two years during his travels across different landscapes in India and around the world, says that none of the photographs were taken with a view to exhibit.”All of them are dark and grainy-the kinds I loved taking when I was a teenager,” says the 51-year-old writer. It is believed that the author did this book to take a break from his mega project on the East India Company. The author agrees, and adds that the book Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, which he co-authored with Anita Anand and published by Juggernaut, also falls in that category. “Read it to know that whatever you knew about the diamond was wrong. There is way too much fiction and myth making around this diamond. By the way, the Mughals didn’t regard it as a great asset,” he says. Read more

Source: India Today


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Artistic License Or Blood Money: Writers Call For Boycott of Jaipur Literary Fest Supported By Vedanta, Zee

By Gurpreet Kaur

Protests have cast a shadow of controversy over the Jaipur Literary Festival that has become an annual event attracting the literary elite from Delhi and other parts of the country. A 100 writers, academics and others have called upon all writers to pull out of the event that is being sponsored by Vedanta, infamous for ruthlessly expanding its mining projects by displacing local people and destroying their ecological environment.
The Jaipur Literary Festival, directed by writers Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple is billed as the largest free literary festival in the world in the world.

Vedanta’s activities have according to rights groups have ruined the livelihood of thousands of people in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Karnataka, and Rajasthan for Bauxite and iron ore mining. Anti Vedanta activists disrupted a JLF event at Southbank, London with placards and speeches as they felt that the event would give credibility to a company reportedly guilty for what they said was the death of thousands.

Activists and writers questioned Vedanta’s claim of promoting Indian literature and culture when it doesn’t even respect the environment, and the basic human rights of Adivasis. They are of the view that there is no way any self respecting writer, intellectual or critic should participate in a festival infected by Vedanta’s amoral actions. Read more

Source: The Citizen 


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The largest free literary festival in the world, Jaipur Literature Festival releases its ninth list of speakers

By Craig Cranenburgh

The Jaipur Literature Festival is celebrating its 10th year anniversary this time around and is expected to be bigger and better. The festival has gone from a gem of an idea to the world’s largest free literary festival, hosting upto 1300 speakers over the past decade.

To celebrate this, the festival has announced 10 speakers’ names every week, for 10 weeks leading up to the festival – which is returning to its home at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur – between January 19-23. Here is the ninth list of speakers expected at the festival:

Author of novels such as The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key, Ashwin Sanghi is one of India’s bestselling thriller/conspiracy fiction writers who retells Indian mythology and history in a contemporary context. His latest novel, The Sialkot Saga, was released in April of 2016. Read more

Source: Mybigplunge.com


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Teamwork Arts hosts curtain raiser for Zee Jaipur Literature Fest at Delhi

The event at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi was packed with publishers, authors and supporters of the festival, media and the literati.

Co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple shared their insights into the themes and authors participating at the annual carnival of the mind to be held from January 19th -23rd, 2017.

Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We live in times where the cycles of change are puzzling, often disruptive. Books are the answers to these puzzles, literature is the force that links and binds human stories, and contemplates the human situation. In an increasingly parochial and polarised world, literature helps us scale the walls. And translation is the tool that helps us access cultures and knowledge systems.

This year’s festival is more multi vocal than ever before, with about thirty languages represented there. Translation is a key focus and a variety of strands and themes including the constitution, the Magna Carta, Sanskrit, the movements from the margins to the centre, examine the ideals, the ideologies, the realpolitik, of our world, as well as the freedom of the dreaming imagination.”

William Dalrymple, writer and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “It’s been an extraordinary journey from 16 attendees ten years ago to a third a million today. On the way we have brought many of the world’s greatest writers to India and showcased Indian writing to the world. We have ignited a million minds to the wonders of literature. This year will be our most irresistible spread of literary genius yet. Roll on the 19th of January!”

The programme for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 will touch upon a multitude of ideas and themes including a look at the nation, Freedom to Dream – India at 70 which explores India today in the context of its history as well as its future, Translations and World Literature, Women and Marginalised Voices, Sanskrit, and Colonialism and the Legacy of the Raj. Read more

Source: Everything Experiential 


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New Release: Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond

By Nirupama Dutt

kohinoor-book

Instead of becoming a jewel in the crown, the diamond of destiny — Kohinoor — could well have been adorning the idol of Lord Jagannath at the Puri temple. It is said that it was the dying wish of mighty Maharaja Ranjit Singh that all his jewels, including the famous or now labelled the ‘most infamous diamond of history’, to the Puri temple. However, his wish conveyed by his head Brahmin, Bhai Gobind Ram, when the Maharaja was on his deathbed was opposed by his chief treasurer Misr Beli Ram and the diamond moved to the crown.

This episode is described at length in ‘Kohinoor: The story of the world’s most infamous diamond’, the will book authored by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand, which was launched here on Thursday. Speaking to HT, Dalrymple said: “Many myths and legends surrounded Kohinoor, but this last wish of the Maharaja is sourced from the Maharaja’s court journal ‘Umtad-ul-Tawarikh’.”

 The less-told story of Maharaja’s last wish finds prominent place in the fifth chapter ‘Ranjit Singh: The Kohinoor in Lahore’. It is said that when the Maharaja of the Punjab was nearing his end and suffered a major stroke in June 1839, he started giving away his most valuable possessions. During his last pilgrimage to the holy city of Amritsar, he donated much of his wealth before he assembled his officers and made them take the oath of allegiance to his eldest son Kharak Singh. Read more