Hailed as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the 14th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2021, will open on Friday on its brand new virtual platform. The festival, this year features over 300 speakers and performers representing around 25 Indian and 18 international languages and over 23 nationalities as well as major literary awards ranging from the Nobel, the Man Booker, the Pulitzer, the Sahitya Akademi, DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, JCB Prize for Literature.
The inaugural keynote address will be by author Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group and Dr Tilly Blyth, Head of Collections and Principal Curator, Science Museum, London.
Prominent speakers at JLF this year include American business magnate and co-founder of Microsoft Corporation Bill Gates; American economist, public policy analyst and Nobel aureate Joseph Stiglitz; Pakistani activist for female education and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai; Man Booker Prize-winning author Douglas Stuart; journalist and Pulitzer awardee Jeffrey Gettleman.
National Award-winning actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas will be in conversation with author and columnist Shobhaa De to talk about her book ‘Unfinished’ that follows her journey through life and cinema.
There will also be a session on the interrelated schools of Indian music, which will discuss the constant creative interplay between classical and folk music as well as that of hybrid and popular genres in our online digital age.
Poet and lyricist Prasoon Joshi and musician Vidya Shah will speak of their understanding and appreciation of musical traditions and their evolution.
During the virtual press conference held on Thursday, author and Jaipur Literature Festival Co-Director Namita Gokhale said, “The virtual edition of Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 is an absorbing immersive experience where we encounter an outstanding roster of great writers from around the world. The challenges and disruptions of 2020 have transformed into the triumphs of 2021.”
Author and Festival Co-Director William Dalrymple added, “Thanks to the digital avatar this time, we have been able to get several authors who could not be part of the festival all these years. While this year’s Jaipur will be a quieter affair than usual, our commitment to literary excellence continues undimmed as we present one of our most extraordinary lists to date.”
Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts, the producer of Jaipur Literature Festival said that digital is here to stay, even when the physical festival takes place next year. “The challenge in digital was how to capture the essence. To overcome that, we shot several sessions in Jaipur and Delhi to give a sense of the place. This time, we have a stellar list and it is possibly one of our best festival line-ups ever with Nobel laureates – Joseph Stiglitz and Malala Yousafzai, an exclusive session with Bill Gates and Priyanka Chopra and an array of visually exciting sessions on music, dance, theatre, food, sustainability, innovation and much more.”
Preeta Singh, President, Teamwork Arts, said, “Our immersive virtual format will delight our existing as well yet untapped audiences far and wide.”
An important session during the festival is ‘The Connections and Disconnections Between India and China’, where William Dalrymple will be in conversation with Director of the Center for Global Asia and Professor of History, NYU Shanghai, Tansen Sen.
Patrick Radden Keefe, an award-winning staff writer for The New Yorker, will give us a glimpse into his writing process and the source of his inspirations, in conversation with author and literary editor Finton O’Toole.
‘We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast’ by award-winning author Jonathan Safran Foer takes a hard-hitting look at the day-to-day human contribution to the unfolding environmental catastrophe. In conversation with journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Gettleman, Foer will dwell on the changes that each one of us can make to mitigate the imminent and unfolding crisis.
Vikram Chandra, film directors and screenwriters Sudhir Mishra, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vice President, Content, at Netflix India Monika Shergill, in conversation with Vani Tripathi Tikoo, will exchange ideas on the process of adapting dynamic scripts to the screen, reimagining the text for the visual medium and broadening the possibilities of immersive, authentic storytelling.
In another session, director and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi will take the audience on an extravagant journey through the life, mind, method and madness of perhaps one of the greatest filmmakers Bollywood has seen today.
The Morning Music sessions will witness singers including Ali Safuddin, Harpreet; HimaliMou, Shubhendra Rao Supriya Nagarajan and Ujwal Nagar.
The Jaipur Music Stage will showcase a variety of artistes from the national and international spectrum.