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Zee Jaipur Lit Fest Dates and Speakers Announced!

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The annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival announced today the first list of speakers for its 12th edition, which will take place from 24-28 January 2019 at its beautiful home of the historic Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur. 

The first list of 30 speakers released today include Alexander McCall Smith, best known for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series ; art curator Amin Jaffer, whose prolific career includes his present role as Senior Curator of the Al Thani Collection, an encyclopaedic holding of more than 6,000 works of art, and positions including Senior Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and International Director of Asian Art at Christie’s; André Aciman, a memoirist, essayist and New York Times bestselling novelist whose 2017 novel Call Me by Your Namewas adapted into a widely acclaimed film; Andrew Sean Greer, New York Times bestselling author of six works of fiction, including the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning novel Less; Anish Kapoor, one of the most influential sculptors working today with major permanent commissions to his credit including Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Orbit in Queen Elizabeth Park in London; Anuradha Roy, author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, The Folded Earth and Sleeping on Jupiter, which won the DSC Prize for Fiction 2016 and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015; Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, award-winning and bestselling novelist, poet, activist and teacher of writing at the University of Houston. 

Moreover, Pulitzer winner on the list includes Colson Whitehead, author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Underground Railroad, a number one New York Times bestseller and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The Festival will also welcome Silicon Valley-based Classicist Donna Zuckerberg, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Eidolon, a prize-winning online Classics magazine, and author of Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age as well as Germaine Greer, writer, academic and critic widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of our time. 

Gradually, The list continues with widely acclaimed British novelist and journalist Hari Kunzru, author of five novels, including The Impressionist andWhite Tears, a 2008 Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2015 Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin and since 2014, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature; Jeremy Paxman, one of Britain’s best-known journalists and author of nine books, previously anchorman of Newsnight, the BBC’s nightly news analysis programme and now presenter of the University Challenge.   

They are joined by author and journalist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, Life and The Nation Jon Lee Anderson, acclaimed for his portraits of the politicians Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet; Juergen Boos, President and CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair since 2005; one of India’s leading film actors, Manisha Koirala, who after her break from fighting ovarian cancer, recently returned to the screen with the coming-of-age drama Dear Maya, Netflix’s Lust Stories and Sanju; leading contemporary visual artiste Marc Quinn, whose works explore the relationships between art and science, man and nature, the human body and the perception of beauty; Markus Zusak, author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief, which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into more than 40 languages; and artist and writer Molly Crabapple, recipient of a Yale Poynter Fellowship, a Front Page Award and a Gold Rush Award whose, reportage has been published in The New York Times, New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, Guardian, VICE and elsewhere and her art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the United States Library of Congress and the New York Historical Society. 

There’s also Malayalam fiction-writer and columnist N.S. Madhavan whose writing includes short stories, plays, literary essays and the novel LathanbatheriyileLuthiniyakal (English translation Litanies of Dutch Battery) which won the 2010 Vodafone Crossword Indian Language Translation Book Award; novelist, short story writer, playwright and satirist Narendra Kohli, a leading figure in Hindi writing; Stegner Fellow at Stanford University NoViolet Bulawayo, the first black African woman and first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for her debut novel, We Need New Names; Tamil author, scholar and literary chronicler Perumal Murugan whose works include six novels, four collections of short stories and four anthologies of poetry; and astrophysicist and Professor at Yale, Priyamvada Natarajan, a recipient of many awards and honours and author of the critically acclaimed Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas that Reveal the Cosmos. 

The list rounds up with Indian herpetologist and wildlife conservationist Rom Whitaker, founder of the Madras Snake Park, The Andaman and Nicobar Environment Trust (ANET), and the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust; English actor, writer and director Rupert Everett, best known for his Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated role inMy Best Friend’s Wedding and his directorial debut The Happy Prince; bestselling and prize-winning British author and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Catherine the Great & Potemkin, Stalin: The Court of the Red, Young Stalin,Jerusalem: The Biography; The Romanovs and the Moscow Trilogy series; Tawfiq E. Chowdhury, one of the main organizers of the Proclamation of Independence and swearing-in ceremony of the Government of Bangladesh, adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and author ofChariot of Life; Uday Prakash, one of the few Indian language writers who has been widely translated into vernacular and major foreign languages; former civil servant and author of six novels Upamanyu Chatterjee; and Vikram Chandra, author of Geek Sublime, Sacred Games, which was adapted into Netflix’s first original Indian production, Love and Longing in Bombay and Red Earth and Pouring Rain.

The Festival will open as usual with its B2B arm, Jaipur BookMark (JBM), now in its sixth edition, with a full day of programming on 23 January at Diggi Palace followed by sessions at a dedicated JBM venue at the Festival Hub from the 24-26 January. JBM continues to provide a platform for publishers, literary agents, translation agencies and writers to meet, talk business deals and listen to major industry players from across the world. 

Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival continues to be one of the most important and transformative forums anywhere to showcase books, writers and ideas. It has been a year of many upheavals and changes in the struggle for gender equity, and our programming will reflect these issues and concerns. We also have a special emphasis on science, the scientific temper, speculative fiction, as well as artificial intelligence and what the future might hold for our planet.Looking forward to Jaipur in January as the 2019 edition returns with its own special brand of magic, whimsy and intellectual rigour.” 

William Dalrymple, writer, historian and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “In 2019 we’ll be fielding the strongest Jaipur line up ever, an unrivalled literary First Eleven of remarkable poets and acclaimed novelists, historians and biographers, thinkers and dreamers, travellers and critics, actors and screenwriters, genii and major league prize winners. it’s an astonishing line up and I can’t wait for the 24th of January to see it all become a reality.” 

Furthermore, Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts who produce the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “As we wait to celebrate another milestone year of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, we look forward to the infectious energy of intellectual debate and the dynamism that charges the Festival’s atmosphere and comes from a mingling of celebrated minds, diverse perspectives, and heightened cultural experiences. What is heartening is that this incredible global phenomenon that the Festival has evolved into is still deeply rooted in its core identity as a completely accessible and democratic platform.”

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival sets literary conversations, debates and dialogue against the backdrop of built and cultural heritage including curated art installations, cultural evenings at heritage venues like the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal and the Jaipur Music Stage, which runs parallel to the Festival, every evening. 

Moreover, while entry to the Festival is free and open to all, attendees can choose to purchase Delegate Packages, which offer a special experience of the Festival and will take them on a compelling cultural journey. 

Later, as a former Festival Delegate said, “A wonderful experience. As a delegate, I had the opportunity to meet people from all parts of the world and share our love of literature and writing. The concerts were amazing – the venue, music, food and people combined to create an unforgettable experience.” 

In addition to enjoying the Festival programme, delegates get access to the Delegate Lounge, dedicated sessions, free entry to the Music Stage, invites to the special cultural evenings, official Festival merchandise, lunches and dinners with authors and fellow delegates, a cocktail evening and much more. 

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