Thursday, December 18, 2014

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival Curtain Raiser at Taj Mahal Hotel, Delhi

The annual countdown to the world’s largest free literary festival officially began on 16th Dec as the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival brought its infectious energy and unrivalled magic to the nation’s capital.

At a highly-anticipated event packed with publishers, authors, media and the literati at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, co-Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale revealed the final line-up of authors, themes and sponsors that will participate in the annual carnival of the mind between 21-25 January 2015.
Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the ZEE JLF, announces themes and author line-ups for the upcoming edition at a Curtain Raiser held at the Taj Mahal Hotel
William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE JLF, announces themes and author line-ups for upcoming edition at a Curtain Raiser held at the Taj Mahal Hotel
Jung Chang, whose memoir of growing up in Mao’s China, Wild Swans, which has sold over 15 million copies worldwide is confirmed to attend as well as British biographer and winner of last year’s Samuel Johnson Prize, Lucy-Hughes Hallett, who will discuss her book The Pike. Former President of India and distinguished scientist, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will also travel to Jaipur to share his vision for India, discussing the crucial issues the country faces with Festival audiences.
Sanjoy K. Roy, Producer of the ZEE JLF sharing the mounting success of the festival over the years and expectations for 2015
Shashi Tharoor debated the future of non-fiction writing in India as a member of the panel
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah will bring a flavor of Bollywood to the Festival as he discusses his delightfully frank autobiography And Then One Day with actor and playwright Girish Karnad who will talk about his highly acclaimed play Boiled Beans on Toast. Vishal Bhardwaj will speak about the Shakespearean deconstructions in Indian reality present in his celebrated film Haider. Bhardwaj will discuss the anguish of Hamlet’s dilemma with scriptwriter Basharat Peer and renowned theatre director Tim Supple. The enduringly beautiful and incredibly gifted actor Waheeda Rehman, will look back at her extraordinary life and career with her biographer and film historian Nasreen Munni Kabir, whilst Prasoon Joshi will speak to poet and mythologist Yatindra Mishra about the Indian traditions of popular music and poetry. 

The speakers announced tonight join Nobel laureate V.S.Naipaul, Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, renowned contemporary travel writer Paul Theroux, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, acclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi and 228 other celebrated authors to complete the line up for next month’s festival. The festival will also celebrate and honour 50 years since the publication of "A House for Mr Biswas", perhaps one of the best loved English novels ever. The sheer range and diversity of the programme is unprecedented with session on Lawrence of Arabia, tigers, Buddhism, detectives, pirates, aesthetics, science, bumble bees, statistics and the Simpsons all scheduled.

Sanjoy K. Roy moderates debating panel featuring Shashi Tharoor, Anuja Chauhan, Navtej Sarna and Urvashi Butalia at the Curtain Raiser of the ZEE JLF2015, held at the Taj Mahal Hotel

Fittingly, the curtain raiser, hosted by the producers of the festival, Teamwork Arts, featured a debate on the motion, ‘This house proposes the centre of literary action is moving from the novel to non-fiction’. Panelists including Shashi Tharoor, Navtej Sarna, Anuja Chauhan and Urvashi Butalia debated the recent trends in publishing across South Asia, and argued why readers are increasingly consuming more and more non-fiction. The debate brought the audience in Delhi a little taste of Jaipur, with the event featuring the magical Rajasthani drumbeats from Chugge Khan and Nathoo Solanki.
Nagada performance adding to the festival flavor at the Curtain Raiser of the ZEE JLF 2015 held at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi
Given the international demographic of both the Festival’s visitors and speakers, it is fitting that ZEE Entertainment have once again committed to supporting the Festival as title sponsor, fitting well with their vision, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The World is My Family).

Other sponsors for 2015 include returning partners Google and The Glenlivet who will sponsor the Mughal Tent and Author’s Lounge respectively. This will be the fourth year of sponsorship for both partners, demonstrating their commitment to literature as well as the strong value brought by being associated with the world-leading Festival.  The Mahindra Humanities Centre also returns for a second year to support the sessions at the Durbar Hall. will be the Festival’s official book partner and the Festival’s official ticketing partner will once again be KyaZoonga. The sponsors are crucial in maintaining the Festival’s much lauded status as the world’s largest free literary festival.

Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director, said, “The ZEE Jaipur Literature festival in its many avatars has been described variously as a literary Woodstock, a Sahityik Kumbh Mela, and a spreading Banyan tree, a Bargad Ka Ped with both aerial and earth roots. The last metaphor is particularly apt, keeping in mind the perhaps seventy book festivals that have taken root across South Asia, celebrating regional languages and writing, connecting with international writers, being both local and global, rooted and cosmopolitan. I am proud and delighted to bring all these writers together for our annual celebration of books and ideas, and look forward to welcoming our guests from across the globe.”

William Dalrymple, author and co-Director said, “We have two missions at Jaipur: to showcase Indian writing to the world and to bring the greatest writers in the world to India.  This year’s programme will achieve this better than ever and it looks like a particularly vintage year. We have sessions on writing criticism, art history, historical novels and memoir; we’ll take a fresh look at Homer and Marie Antoinette, detectives and spooks, aesthetics and erotics and everything in between. It’s going to be an utterly amazing few days.”

Sanjoy K. Roy, producer of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Once again, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has set the standard for world-class programming, reinforcing our position as the world’s largest free literary festival. We are grateful to all our partners, new and returning, who support the Festival and share our vision of giving a global platform to the best writing from India and the world. Without them we wouldn’t be able to make the Festival free and open to all.”

This year 234 speakers will participate in the Festival, and a further 117 musicians, speakers and artists, will take the number of Festival participants to 351.

Roland Landers, Head Corporate Brand ZEE said, “Corporate Brand ZEE’s integration with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival further signifies its identity as a global media conglomerate. Since its inception, ZEE has been the cultural ambassador of our nation to the rest of the world, and with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival we further reinforce this key message of the brand. Corporate Brand ZEE has always been associated with knowledge based global intellectual properties, and our support to one of the world’s most prestigious literature festival for the second consecutive year, reinstates the same. This year, ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival promises to offer some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across the World. Acclaimed as the largest free literary festival on earth, we at ZEE are all set to bring it to an all new level!”

Satyajeet Krishnan, General Manager The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi said, “We are privileged to present an exclusive glimpse of the world-famous ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 in the capital city. It has been our constant endeavor at Taj Mahal, New Delhi to create meaningful experiences to our patrons. As purveyors of art, culture and heritage we are delighted to partner with Teamwork Arts, to offer a taste of the country’s most eagerly awaited literary festival.  With some of the finest literary minds coming together for this curtain raiser at The Taj Mahal Hotel, we are sure it will be a memorable evening with thought-provoking conversation and discussions.”

Registration for the Festival is FREE, open to all. All visitors must pre-register on the Festival’s website at

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