Published On: Thu, Jan 5th, 2017

ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival; Award winning writers take centre stage in a celebration of fiction and non-fiction writing

jlfJaipur: Attracted by the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival’s international reputation and the beauty of Rajasthan in January, writers come from across the world to take part in the 5 day celebration of literature.

This year sees a host of Man Booker winners and nominees including the current and first and only American to have been awarded the prestigious prize, Paul Beatty.

Hip-hop poet and novelist Paul Beatty was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2016 for his caustic satire on racial politics, The Sellout, in which he ‘plunges into the heart of contemporary American society with savage wit’. The panel of judges compared the 54 year old Los Angeles born writer to Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift, with chair Amanda Foreman called it a “novel for our times”, particularly in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In conversation with Meru Gokhale, Paul Beatty will be discussing comedy and controversy, racism and history, poetry and fiction.

A second Man Booker awardee Alan Hollinghurst, author of five novels, including The Swimming-Pool Library and The Line of Beauty, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2004 joins us in Jaipur. With a new novel due to be published in the summer of 2017 this bestselling Booker-winning English novelist, poet, short story writer and translator will be talking about his life and work with Chandrahas Choudhury.

Indonesian writer Eka Kurniawan has been bracketed by critics with great storytellers like Rushdie and Márquez. Originally written in Bahasa Indonesian, his novel, the International Man Booker Prize-nominated Man Tiger and Beauty Is a Wound, have been translated into Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Malay. In conversation with noted translator Deborah Smith, he will discuss his literary universe and sources of inspiration.

Richard Flanagan is considered by many to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation. Each of his novels has attracted major praise and received numerous awards and honours. His six novels are published in 42 countries and he was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2014 for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He joins Manu Joseph to discuss his life and work as well as joining other writers in a panel which looks at whether printed fiction can compete with movies and television with David Hare, Alan Hollinghurst, Neil Jordan and Ritesh Batra.

Mei Fong is believed to be the first Malaysian to win a Pulitzer. Formerly a Wall Street Journal China correspondent, she is an award-winning writer whose commentaries on China are world leading. She makes her debut at ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival to discuss China in the 21st Century and whether through the scale of its growth it is an unstable entity waiting to explode or owner of this era globally. Fong’s book on China’s one-child policy debuted with ‘impeccable timing’ (Los Angeles Review of Books), exploring the unintended consequences of the policy through a narrative-rich story that is ‘evocatively rendered and peppered with quirky characters’ (Wall Street Journal). Suhasini Haidar will introduce a session in which Fong will talk about the true cost of the controversial one-child policy drawing on eight years spent documenting its repercussions.

Australian Sebastian Smee won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2011 for his “vivid and exuberant writing about art, often bringing great works to life with love and appreciation”. He is the author of The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art which explores the fascinating story of four pairs of artists – Manet and Degas, Picasso and Matisse, Pollock and de Kooning, Freud and Bacon. Currently art critic for the Boston Globe, he has written for Atlantic, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, Prospect, Spectator, The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald. He teaches non-fiction writing at Wellesley College.

Famed Rajasthani writer Hari Ram Meena has written eight books in Hindi, including collections of poems, travelogues and the novel Dhuni Tape Teer. He has also edited a collection of tribal poetry and forefronts the narratives and histories of the marginalised tribal communities. He is the recipient of the Rajasthan Sahitya Akademi’s highest Meera Award, the Mahapandit Rahul Sankratyayan Award by Kendriya Hindi Sansthan, the 2012 Bihari Award by the KK Birla Foundation and the 2015 World Hindi Conference Award. He joins one of the foremost Hindi writers of his generation, Ajay Navaria to discuss literature and the redeeming narratives of assertion and transformation.

Naseem Shafaie was born and brought up in Kashmir and began writing Kashmiri poetry in 1988. She is the author of Open Window and Neither Shadow Nor Reflection, which won the Tagore Award for Excellence in Literature and the Sahitya Akademi Award. She is the first Kashmiri female writer to receive both awards. At ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017, she joins Dhrubajvoti Bora and Ornit Shani to discuss the voices of women in war zones around the world, and Neerja Mattoo and Neelesh Misra to read from their work and share their experiences of violence, strife and discord.

The prolific and popular writer S.L. Bhyrappa has been the bestselling novelist in Kannada for the past 50 years, in Marathi translation for the last two decades and one of the top five bestselling authors in Hindi translation. Bhyrappa has written 24 novels, most of which have been translated into nearly all the Indian languages as well as English. His best known novels are Vamshavriksha, Grihabhanga, Parva, Saakshi, Tantu, Saartha, Madra and Aavarana. He has also written four volumes of literary criticism as well as well as books on aesthetics, social issues and culture. Bhyrappa is the recipient of five honorary doctorates by universities in Karnataka, a Sahitya Akademi Award, the Sarawati Samman and various other national awards. He joins Vivek Shanbhag to discuss his extraordinary life as a railway porter, a religious monk and a professor of literature, and his literary career.

Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, says “As the festival approaches, we are beyond delighted by the illustrious writers who will be joining us soon in Jaipur. From the latest winner of the Man Booker Prize, Paul Beatty, joined by past holders Alan Hollinghurst and Richard Flannagan, to veteran Kannada writer SL Bhyrappa and the courageous and charismatic Kashmiri poet Naseem Shafaie, audiences will once again witness a range of literary greats on the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival stage.”

Sanjoy K Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, Producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival said, “It’s a fantastic coup to have Paul Beatty fresh from his win of the Man Booker Prize. We’re delighted he’ll join us alongside so many other winners and nominees of prestigious literary awards and look forward to the debate and discussion of their life and works. We can’t wait to welcome book lovers from around the world to Jaipur later this month”

These award winning writers join a host of others for this year’s ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the largest free literary Festival in the world.

About the Author