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6 Sessions to Look Out for at JLF ’17

It’s that time of the year!
10 years since the first JLF, the Festival has grown into the world’s largest free event of its kind. Having hosted 1300 speakers and welcomed nearly 1.2 million book lovers, its success has been astonishing and heartwarming.
Some of the biggest Penguin authors have rocked the stage at JLF and this year promises to be even better. From commercial superstars to critical bigwigs, this year we are getting the crème de la crème from our author roster.
Here are a few of the sessions you’ll not want to miss at the Festival.
Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in conversation
People usually run out of superlatives when talking about the evergreen Gulzar. One of the greatest artists to ever grace the JLF, Gulzar Sahib’s session, along with Pavan K. Varma, will be on his latest work – Suspected Poems. You’ll not want to miss his musings on poetry, literature and the state of the world.
Tabish Khair
Manju Kapur and Tabish Khair in conversation with Ashok Ferrey
Currently teaching English at Aarhus University in Denmark, Tabish Khair was born and educated in Bihar. At the session, the former journalist will be talking to Ashok Ferrey about the context and inspiration for his works. He will also talk about his book Jihadi Jane, a powerful novel about two Muslim girls who decide to join ISIS.
You can also catch him at the Festival along with Saeed Naqvi, Qaisra Shahraz, Sadia Dehlvi and Ornit Shani as they talk of the conflicts and polarities of being an Indian Muslim in an increasingly divided world.
Ashok Ferrey
Ashok Ferrey, Kyoko Yoshida and Marina Perezagua in conversation with Sunil Sethi
Ashok Ferrey will be in conversation with Sunil Sethi on the pursuit of fiction that involves a leap of faith between material and literary reality. He will be joined by other notable contemporary writers as they also discuss how writers enter and access fictional journey. The bestselling Sri Lankan author will also explore the devil within as he discusses his latest book The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons.
From talking about the thin red line between a person’s beliefs and politics with Tabish Khair to joining Ashwin Sanghi on his talk about the art of writing thrillers, Ashok Ferrey will also be at various other sessions with other authors.
Ravinder Singh
Ira Trivedi and Ravinder Singh in conversation with Lucy Beresford
Romantic fiction reaches out across time and history to every successive generation with tales of love. The King of Romance, Ravinder Singh’s session is about love in contemporary India. The author who is known for writing from the heart, about the heart will speak about the psychology and the changing mores of love in our times.
Devdutt Pattanaik
Devdutt Pattanaik introduced by Amrita Tripathi
Ancient Greece and India have both bequeathed a lasting body of myth to the world. In his latest work Olympus, Devdutt Pattanaik attempts to understand how an Indian reader raised on a steady diet of local myths and legends might respond to classical Greek mythology. By reversing the gaze, he explores the fascinating connections between these stories and sagas. At the Festival, Pattanaik will talk about both the mythologies and their lasting legacy.
Devdutt Pattanaik will have two more sessions at JLF – on the history and legacy of the Vedas and on his book The Girl Who Chose.
Arshia Sattar
Arshia Sattar and Volga in conversation with Vayu Naidu
A symbol of chastity and loyalty, the goddess Sita has evolved into a feminist icon for her silent strength and endurance. In her session, Arshia Sattar will talk about her highly acclaimed translation of the ‘Uttara Kanda’. She will talk about the sacrifice, choice and the complex moral universe of the Ramayana.
Arshia Sattar will also be in various other sessions at the Festival discussing atheism in the ancient world to understanding the brilliant A.K. Ramanujan.


The themes of equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins bringing humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers together on stage. Access to these renowned thinkers along with some of the finest writers in the world provides a potentially life-changing opportunity to visitors.
We hope to see you at Jaipur!


Flashback 2016: 5 Kickass Moments from JLF ’16

One of the most iconic literary festivals in the country kicked off today with a mesmerising keynote address by Gulzar. There are fascinating sessions lined up at the event, and the atmosphere is filled with energy as readers and writers from across regions gather to celebrate love for and of books.
As we gear up for the talks and discussions that are in the offing, we look back at last year’s edition, and we bring to you five bright moments that will make you want to attend the festival this year!
When Margaret Atwood talked about ‘The Global Novel’
Chiki Sarkar started the session by asking the authors – Colm Toibin, Aleksander Hemon, David Grossman, Sulaiman Addonia, Sunjeev Sahota, and of course Atwood – when and how did the novel form become the popular form of literature?
Gulzar’s talk broke records – literally!
Looking back fondly in a self-confessed nostalgia towards the world around him, the great poet moved the audience with prose after prose. The audience was so involved that neither the chatter of young children nor the constant trickle of people at the outskirts of the arena could distract a soul.
“What makes South Asians laugh?”
In a roller-coaster ride full of laughter and comic relief, Sidin Vadukut, Meera Syal and Suhel Seth took us back to an innocent age – an age where the word ‘tension’ was not part of our vocabulary, an age where we could just enjoy wit without worrying about its ramifications.
Eating Books – A Cosmopolitan Cuisine: Anjum Hasan and Nilanjana Roy in conversation with Jerry Pinto
The talk revolved around what it means to write about literature and who are writers and what they are writing about today.
On the British Empire: Tristram Hunt and Shashi Tharoor, moderated by Swapan Dasgupta
The session started off with a definition of imperialism and moved on to its growth with differing opinions on it. Shashi Tharoor was at his delightful best!
Incarnations, Reincarnations: Sunil Khilnani in conversation with William Dalrymple
The session, headed by Sunil Khilnani and William Dalrymple, was about Khilnani’s book ‘Incarnations: India in 50 Lives’. The landmark book puts together the stories of some of the most iconic Indians who made a difference.
We hope these stories from JLF ’16 motivated you to head out and attend JLF ’17. See you there!

Meet The Random House Authors At JLF 2014


We’re extremely thrilled as this Jaipur Literature Festival is going to see many authors of Random House! Here is a brief author introduction for you to know more about the Random House authors who will be gracing the event:
Jhumpa Lahiri – A British Indian novelist, she is the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship. This Pulitzer Winner confesses to writing her recent book, ‘The Lowland’ in a brownstone in Brooklyn. She was also nominated for the Man Booker and the US National Book Award.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jack Turner – Apart from being the author of the book, ‘Spice: The History of a Temptation’, Jack Turner is also the host of a television documentary show!

Jack Turner

Jim Al-Khalili – Jim Al-Khalili is a professor of Physics at the University of Surrey and president of the British Humanist Association. He is also the author of ‘Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics’.

Jim Al-Khalili

K. Anis Ahmed – Apart from being an internationally renowned writer, Anis Ahmed is also the co-founder of ‘Bengal Lights’, Bangladesh’s most prominent new online English Literature journal.

K. Anis Ahmed

Maaza MengisteAn American-Ethiopian, Maaza Mengiste’s debut novel was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books. Most of the novel, ‘Beneath the Lion’s Gaze’ is based on the author’s own memories of the wartime in Ethiopia.

Maaza Mengiste

Nicholas Shakespeare – A British journalist and biographer, Nicholas Shakespeare has been the recipient of many awards. His recent novel, ‘Secrets of the Sea’, was a best-seller in Germany. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Nicholas Shakespeare

Otto de Kat – Otto de Kat is the pseudonym of Dutch journalist, poet, translator, editor and novelist, Jan Geurt Gaarland. His debut novel, Man in de verte (The Figure in the Distance) was published in 1998, followed in 2004 by De inscheper (Man on the Move) and in 2008 by Julia.

Otto De Kat

Raj Kundra – The businessman turned author’s journey to Nepal was a life changing experience for him as he discovered Pashmina Shawls there, which he imported to London! His excellent entrepreneurship skills led him to write the book, ‘How Not to Make Money’!

raj kundra

Ray Monk – A professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton, Ray Monk writes biographies. He is the recipient of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and for ‘Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius’. His most recent work is based on Robert Oppenhiemer’s life.

Ray Monk

Reza Aslan – An Iranian-American writer and scholar of religions, Dr. Reza Aslan is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. He also put the argument about Jesus being White to rest by making a very interesting distinction between ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’.

Reza Aslan

Shereen El Feki – Shereen El Feki is a British journalist and author, who believes in studying society through sex, because what happens in intimate life is shaped by forces on a bigger stage…” She is the author of ‘Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World’.

Shereen El feki

Vali Reza Nasr – Author of ‘The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat’, Vali Nasr is the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. He is an American academic and an author specializing in the Middle East and the Islamic world.

Vali Nasr

Xiaolu Guo – A Chinese British writer, Xiaolu Guo is also a film maker. In 2013 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.

Xiaolu Guo

A.N. Wilson – An English writer and newspaper columnist, A.N. Wilson’s books have won many awards. His book on Leo Tolstoy won the Whitbread Award for best biography of 1988.

A.N. Wilson

Ananda Devi – Brought up in Mauritius, Ananda Devi has become one of the most prominent French writers of Mauritius and the Indian Ocean. She was made a ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Government in 2010.

Ananda Devi

Carsten Jensen – This Danish author and political columnist’s most recent work is ‘We, the Drowned’. He is also the recipient of the Olof Palme Prize, among other prestigious awards.

Carsten Jensen

David Cannadine – Sir David Nicholas Cannadine is a British Historian, who is best known for his book, ‘The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy’. He has been knighted to honour his contribution to education.

David Cannadine

Geoff Dyer – An English writer and Journalist, Geoff Dyer, has published several award winning novels. His book, ‘But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz’ brought him fame and won him the 1992 Somerset Maugham Prize.

Geoff Dyer

Nadeem Aslam – At 13, Nadeem Aslam published his first short story in Urdu in a Pakistani newspaper. His debut novel, Season of the Rainbirds (1993), set in rural Pakistan, won the Betty Trask and the Author’s Club First Novel Award. He has also been shortlisted for the DSC Lit Award which will be announced on January 18 at the JLF.

Nadeem Aslam


This Literature festival will appeal to everyone’s palette! Writers from different walks of life and different genres are coming together in this magical literature festival to share their knowledge, to make something more of the world and for the world. So, do not miss out this exciting opportunity to meet your favourite authors and to get inspired!
Go random at JLF!


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