World’s largest free literary festival
Reports record number of visitors
Zee Jaipur Literature Festival reported a 40 present increase in footfall, with average age of visitor being 15-25 years old. The festival is now set to take a taste of this magical event to London, UK and Boulder, USA later this year. The ninth edition of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literary festival, ended on a high as the festival announced a 40 precent increase in recorded footfalls over the five days from January 21-25, 2016 – a record number for the Festival, which is free and open to all.
The Festival proved once again the perfect getaway in January, refreshing minds and inspiring thousands of people for the year ahead with words of wisdom and power from authors as wide ranging as Ruskin Bond to Shatrughan Sinha, and Stephen Fry to Amitabh Kant.
Sanjoy Roy, Namita Gokhale, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and William DalrympleThe Festival has seen a doubling of international visitors from 33 different countries, 25 precent of the audience is made up of students attending the festival held at Diggi Palace. This year the Festival welcomed over 360 authors and over 100 musicians. They participated in around 200 sessions across 10 venues, including a return to the stunning Amber Fort and the Albert Hall. The Festival furthered its mission of making literature accessible to all by taking authors to schools in Jaipur, with 65 sessions with authors including Urvashi Butalia, Mala Kumar, Rishi Mathur and Cornelia Funke taking place over two weeks in partnership with Pratham Books.
The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is India’s most diverse literary festival brought together around 100 international authors with hundreds of South Asian authors, showcasing literature in 24 languages.
Notable moments at the Festival included Margaret Atwood making her debut at the Festival, Ruskin Bond delighting audiences of all ages, Ashwin Sanghi in conversation with Kajol and Sudha Sadhanand, Stephen Fry taking selfies from the stage, Karan Johar’s candid discussion of his life, the searing story of Bant Singh, Steve McCurry’s insights into his photography and his new book India, Gulzar reciting poetry, Javed Akhtar, Uday Prakash and Booker Winner Marlon James. The appearance of Anil Kumble and Baichung Bhutia roused the sports fans among the crowd, and the world’s top war reporters David Grossman, Christina Lamb, Don McCullin and Samanth Subramanian gathered in a moving discussion based around their experiences.
Other highlights over the five days included strong debates on major contemporary issues; sessions on Indo/Pak which drew large crowds to hear from speakers including Ayesha Jalal, Shahzia Sikander and Reema Abassi; Eyeless in Gaza which drew strong stories from Omar Barghouti, Molly Crabapple and Laleh Khalili.
This year the Festival awarded three prizes, the second edition of the Ojas Art Award which was presented to Santosh Kumar Das and Mahalaxmi and Shantanu Das, as well as the first editions of the Dwarka Prasad Aharwal Award which was awarded to upcoming Hindi writer Prabhat Ranjan and the Kanhaiya Lal Sethia Poetry Prize which was won by Rituraj.
The second year of Jaipur BookMark, the Festival’s sister publishing industry event concluded with the award of the first ever Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize, won by designer Bena Sareen for the book, ‘Talking of Justice’ by author Leila Seth, published by Aleph.
Far from being the end of the Festival in 2016 – there is set to be two further editions of JLF across the world at the Southbank Centre in London this May, and then the second edition of the JLF festival in Boulder, Colorado, US in the autumn.
Next year the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival will run from January 19-23, 2016. The Festival has already announced a handful of writers lined up for next year including Ashutosh Varshney, Marina Warner, Alain de Bottom, Ha-Joon Chang, Stacy Schiff, Rodaan al-Galidi and Helen Oyeyemi.
On a concluding note…
Namita Gokhale, author and co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival said, “I hope that the universes continue to conspire to bless Jaipur and the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival.”
While, William dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “This year has been a phenomenal year: our best ever at Jaipur. Next year we already have Marina Warner, Alain de Bottom, Ha-Joon Chang, Stacy Schiff, Rodaan al-Galidi and Helen Oyeyemi confirmed for next year – so book your travel and make your plans now for our tenth festival in 2017!”
Sanjoy Roy, managing director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Festival, said, “This year’s festival has been a celebration of the freedom of creative expression. We have seen a record footfall across the five days and are thankful to all our partners who have made the 2016 ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival such a success. We look forward to seeing all our festival fans next January here at Diggi House.”