Jaipur Literature Festival is known for world-class writers like Vikram Seth, Kiran Desai, Orhan Pamuk and J M Coetzee. See who’s in the Pink City in 2018.
Now in its sixth year, the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) has drawn a considerably bigger crowd of authors, readers and spectators every year since its inception in 2006.
Jaipur Literature Festival Schedule and Venue
What started as an intimate gathering of 18 authors and a few dozen visitors is now not only India’s but Asia’s largest literary event, drawing tens of thousands of visitors and presenting hundreds of authors. Acclaimed writers William Dalrymple (City of Djinns, White Mughals) and Namita Gokhale (Paro: Dream of Passion, The Play of Memory) are the directors of the Jaipur Literature Festival, which is produced by Sanjoy Roy, Sheuli Sethi and Teamwork Productions.
The five-day festival will be held from January 20-24 in 2018 at multiple venues centered on the festival hub, the historical Diggi Palace, now a hotel. At the time of this writing, the festival schedule had not been announced but those planning to visit should check the official Jaipur Literature Festival website for updates.
Authors Attending Jaipur Literature Festival 2018
An enthralling mix of acclaimed Indian and international authors is the backbone of the festival. For JLF 2018, 135 authors have confirmed their attendance but one can expect more than a few additions over the next few weeks. After attending in 2009, Michael Ondaatje will be back in 2018, probably reading excerpts from his new book The Cat’s Table. Acclaimed Caribbean novelist and 2018 attendee Jamaica Kincaid will also be back in 2018.
Visitors to JLF 2018 can also look forward to world-renowned authors Anuradha Roy (An Atlas of Impossible Longing), Vinod Mehta (Mr Editor, How Close Are You to the PM?), Tabish Khair (The Thing About Thugs), Kunal Basu (The Japanese Wife), Deepak Chopra (The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary), Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother) and even Salman Rushdie (Luka and the Fire of Life) and Oprah.
What Distinguishes JLF from Other Literary Events
Appreciated by many visitors is the fact that the Jaipur Literature Festival is indeed a celebration; a colourful carnival with tents to lounge in and performing artists and other entertainment and music performances in the evening, so aptly described by the Australian newspaper The Age: ‘It is like a buzzing, vibrant campus with people walking into lectures in colourful tents, sitting around in the open-air cafe, chatting and sipping hot, spiced apple cider as celebrities come and go on the lawns of Diggi Palace.’
Apart from the fact that the Jaipur Litarature Festival is free and non-ticketed, the event is appreciated by many – authors and visitors alike – for its informality. Instead of long security lines, steep ticket prices and anonymity, visitors literally get a chance to rub shoulders with their favorite authors. Acclaimed author Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) remembers his visit: ‘Authors and readers mix freely and anybody can go up to an author and start a conversation about books. That is a great delight, and I cannot recall just how many engaging conversations I had in the course of the four days of Jaipur.’
At the end of a long day of literary debates, attendees can relax over a good meal and world-class music, or dive into the many attractions that Rajasthan’s ‘Pink City’ has to offer: witness a traditional Indian wedding maybe, get a Henna tattoo or shake a leg to some Bollywood tunes. As the festival grows, one can only hope that the organizers will manage to keep the original idea alive while managing the crowds that will surely throng to the largest free literary festival on Earth.