We’ve come to that time of the year when an unparalleled melting pot of amazing thoughts, great thinkers and minds, the Jaipur Literature Festival kicks off, and is back again in its 10th edition with a fabulous set of speakers.
Oh well well !! the platform of talking sessions with over 100 speakers, ranging from Booker winners to Nobel laureates to debut authors and local language writers, you may feel a little intimidated if you don’t know where to start from. Here’s presenting our handpick of the top 13 speakers, and Jaipur Beat recommends that you should not miss their oratory performances at the JLF 2017 !
1. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Writer
Best known for her books that often tell stories of Indians creating a life in America, she is an award-winning author and writing teacher. Her work has been translated into 29 languages, while The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart have been made into movies. She also made it to the list of ‘Twenty Most Influential Global Indian Women’ by The Economic Times.
Gulzar is a poet, filmmaker, lyricist and writer. Born in Pakistan, he spent his school days in Delhi and then came to Bombay, to a celebrated career in films. The poet in him flourished simultaneously; he was closely associated with the Progressive Writers Movement. Many collections of poems, short stories and scripts have flowed from his pen. His creative repertoire also includes plays, ballets, music albums, serials as well as books for children.
3. Guillermo Rodriguez, Writer & Cultural Activist
Founding director of Casa de la India, a cultural centre in Spain that promotes Indo-Spanish cultural relations, Guillermo is also a pro traveler who lived in India in the 1990s and obtained a PhD in English from the University of Kerala and the University of Valladolid. The author of When Mirrors Are Windows: A View of AK Ramanujan’s Poetics, Rodriguez has also received the Friendship Award from the Government of India for all his work to foster Indo-Spanish cultural relations.
4. Emma Sky, Writer
The lively Author who wrote ‘The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq’, Sky also served in Iraq as an Officer of the British Empire. Currently she teaches Middle East politics at Yale University’s Jackson Institute.
5. Javed Akhtar
Javed Akhtar is a scriptwriter, lyricist and poet, whose lineage can be traced back to seven generations of renowned Urdu writers, poets and freedom fighters. A respected social commentator, Padma Bhushan Jawed Akhtar’s first poetry collection Tarskash has been translated into English, French and a range of Indian regional languages. It is the most sold book of verses in the last 60 years in India. His other books Talking Films and Talking Songs are hailed as some of the most definitive works on Indian cinema.
6. Hyeonseo Lee, Writer & Human Rights Activist
Lee is a North Korean defector who currently lives in Seoul, South Korea, and writes extensively for the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Her memoir, ‘The Girl with Seven Names – A North Korean Defector’s Story’ is about her escape to China and her struggle for freedom – a topic that she has talked about at TED Talks, which has got over 8 million views alone. Lee is writing her second book with other North Korean women in south Korea and working towards starting an NGO called ‘North Star NK’ to help North Korean refugees improve their lives.
7. Kunga Tenzin Dorji, Broadcaster, Journalist and Musician
He is a freelance journalist who received the Jigme Singye Wangchuck Prestigious Journalism Award in 2016, Dorji is also a narrator, script writer, talk show host, actor and one of Bhutan’s top notch rock musician. It would be fun witnessing him unplugged on the stage as well!
8. Ishion Hutchinson, Poet
The award-winning author of two poetry collections, ‘Far District’ and ‘House of Lords and Commons’, he is the contributing editor of literary journals; and, an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University.
9. Mark Tully, Writer, Journalist & Broadcaster
A former BBC bureau chief, Tully is popular for his many books about India – No Full Stops in India, Amritsar: Mrs Gandhi’s Last Battle, India in Slow Motion, India’s Unending Journey, Non-Stop India and Heart of India. He is currently presenting ‘Something Understood’, a popular BBc Radio 4 programme, and is soon to publish his second book for short stories.
10. Manju Kapur, Writer
Manju Kapur’s first book, ‘Difficult Daughters’ won her the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel, while her other books including ‘A Married Woman’ were shortlisted for various literary awards. Her recent novel is ‘Brothers’, and ‘Shaping the World: Women Writers on Themselves’ is an anthology that she has edited.
11. Rachel Dwyer, Film Historian & Writer
A Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema by profession at SOAS at University of London, Dwyer has written extensively about the various nuances of Indian cinema after her research. From locations to film sets and stars to their costumes and film families to how the emotions are presented in quirky ways in Bollywood cinema. A beautiful essence of Indian cinema has been brought out in her essays, articles and books.
12. SL Bhyrappa
Bhyrappa is one of modern India’s most important novelists; the Kannada writer was awarded Padma Shri in 2016. His best known novels are Grihabhanga, Vamshavriksha, Parva, Tantu, Saakshi, Saartha, Mandra and Aavarana. He has also written four volumes of literary criticism as well as books on social issues, aesthetics and culture.
13. Neelima Adhar Dalmia, Writer
The First book of this writer ‘Father Dearest: The Life and Times of RK Dalmia’, which was published in the year 2003 made her popular as the ‘daredevil family chronicler’ because of the fiercely guarded family secrets she’d shared in her book. Her second book was ‘Merchants of Death’, while ‘The Secret Diary of Karsturba’ is her third. All super successful and wonderfully received!
With this tiny sneak-peak at the gigantic list of eminent speakers in the 2017 Jaipur Literature Festival , get set to go to an event in the Pink City that people from across the globe are flocking to each year.
Image credits: Images except Gulzar and Javed Akhtar sourced from Jaipur Literature Festival official Website