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Bibliophiles ahoy! The Jaipur Literature Festival is back.

For those of you who don’t know ( can you not?) the Jaipur Literature Festival is a 5-day literature extravaganza that welcomes authors, thinkers, poets, sportspersons, journalists and politicians to take the stage and exchange ideas. This is combined with some striking musical performances, scores of yummy food stalls, several boutiques selling handmade trinkets and our favourite – a giant book store. The festival happens in January in the gorgeous Diggi Palace, right in the middle of the Pink City. This year, the festival is going to be held from the 23rd of January to the 27th of January.

If you have never been before, this year is the perfect opportunity to do so. Don’t worry – it may sound a little boring to some people. But the beauty of Diggi Palace combined with the Rajasthani vibes of Jaipur along with the ripe and insightful conversations make it more than worth it.

You know we are always looking out to help our travellers. Which is why we thought it best to tell you guys about 10 speakers that you should be keeping an eye out for this year at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Keep reading 🙂

Elizabeth Gilbert

The queen of memoirs, Elizabeth Gilbert burst on the scene with her iconic memoir Eat, Pray, Love in 2006. That book has sold over 15 million copies and remained on the New York Bestseller’s List for over 199 weeks. Insane isn’t it? Eat, Pray, Love has also been developed into a film starring the gorgeous Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in late 2010. One of our favourite films on travel, we must say. 

Since then, she has gone on to write a couple of memoirs, several noteworthy articles and 2 novels; which have all received praise.

What to Read: Eat, Pray, Love (2006)

What to Attend: From Eat, Pray Love to City of Girls at Front Lawn on 23rd January 2020

Anand Girdharadas

Source: Business Insider

We’ll be honest, even we didn’t know who Anand was till Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Why Billionaires Won’t Save Us’ episode of The Patriot Act came out. If you have not watched it yet, you should go ahead and do that right now. Anand is a prolific journalist and writer, who has constantly written about and discussed radical social issues that are prevalent and important. 

His most recent book, Winners Take All discusses the cruel fate of the world at the hands of billionaires who on the surface seem to be donating to the causes of the world but are inherently playing a big part in causing such devastation in the first place. A definite not to miss during the Jaipur Literature Festival.

What to Read: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (2018)

What to Attend: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World at Char Bagh on 24th January 2020

Anupama Chopra

Source: Super Stars Bio

Founder and editor of the massive digital platform Film Companion, Anupama Chopra has been in and around the giant of the entertainment business for a long time now. She is a brilliant author, journalist and film critic who has written several books about Indian cinema and has even hosted her own film review show on the Star Network. 

Her first book ‘Sholay’ won her terrific praise and even bagged the 2000 National Film Award for the Best Book on Cinema. Needless to say, her session is definitely going to be one of the more interesting and spicy ones.

What To Read: 100 Films To See Before You Die (2013)

What To Attend: That’s Entertainment at Mughal Tent on 26th January 2020

David Wallace-Wells

Source: Youtube

David’s 2017 article about the climate crisis starts with the stark sentence “if your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible.”An expert on all things climate, he uses his voice and platform to constantly make people aware of the terrible dangers that lie ahead for our future generations if we continue to ruin the planet at this rate. 

His 2017 essay ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ was such a smash hit that he had to rewrite it into a whole book. Did we mention that he is the deputy editor of the New York Magazine? Dayumm! If you have any plans of going to Diggi Palace, then definitely sit for his session.

What To Read: The Uninhabitable Earth (2019)

What To Attend:

  1. Client Earth at Char Bagh on 24th January 2020
  2. Uninhabitable Earth at Baithak on 26th January 2020

Jeet Thayil

Source: Business Line

Undoubtedly a multi-talented person; Jeet is a reputable author, journalist, poet and musician. His first novel titled Narcopolis won him the DSC Prize for South Asian literature and got shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Not many people are that talented. His poetry collections are equally enticing and bring out more of his offbeat and slightly eccentric language. 

On top of all of this, his contribution to the music community is also interesting, with contributions ranging from noise quintets to British Opera. The Jaipur Literature Festival gets a whole lot more intriguing just because of this one guy. Even his signature is as quirky as his literature, How do we know? We have a signed copy of Narcopolis *wink wink*

What To Read: Narcopolis (2012)

What To Attend:

  1. Low at Char Bagh on 25th January 2020
  2. Poetry Darbar at Durbar Hall on 25th January 2020

Nicholas Coleridge

Source: The Beaumont Hotel

One of the most well-loved and respected members of the publishing industry, Nicholas Coleridge has spent 30 years in Conde Nast. He has also been the president of Conde Nast International, an entity that publishes the likes of Vogue, Bazaar, Vanity Fair, GQ, Brides, Tatler and many more big names. Currently, he is the chairman of the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

An incredibly gifted author, he has published a total of 14 books. He is the only person ever to be awarded all four of the publishing industry’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. And for the pop culture hungry folks out there, he is Cara Delevingne’s godfather.

What To Read: The Fashion Conspiracy: A Remarkable Journey Through the Empires of Fashion (1988)

What To Attend: Performance Poetry: The word and the voice at Front Lawn on 26th January 2020

Manal Younus

Source: adelaiderreview(dot)com(dot)au

One of the most inspirational young voices of our time, Manal is an Australian storyteller of Eritrean descent. Constantly defying societal norms, she speaks out loud about female empowerment, education, faith, religion, interculturalism, displacement, racism and immigration. In 2015, she published her first poetry book ‘Reap’ which she followed up with a national tour, reading her poems in various parts of the country. 

She is also the proud founder of Soul Lounge, a monthly open mic night that focuses on the oneness and struggles of people of colour. If you are a fan of Malala Yousafzai, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Rupi Kaur – then Diggi Palace hosts another one of your idols during the Jaipur Literature Festival.

What To Read: Reap (2015)

What To Attend: Performance Poetry: The word and the voice at Front Lawn on 26th January 2020

Manish Malhotra

I am sure this dude needs no description. Adored by fashion fans and celebrities worldwide, Manish Malhotra is a name that is synonymous with creativity and craftsmanship. He often talks about being inspired by traditional Indian handwork and is a promoter of regional handiwork and rural textile arts with his collaboration with the Mijwan Welfare Society. 

Not only has he worked with almost all Indian celebrities, but he has also dressed the likes of Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Reese Witherspoon, Jermaine Jackson etc. We think his session is going to be fabulous and filled with tidbits about the billion-dollar industry of fashion and technology. Last year, he announced that he had teamed up with Rupa Publications to release a memoir-style book about his life and journey in the Indian fashion scene. So exciting!

What To Read: Unnamed memoir (2019)

What To Attend:

  1. Manish Malhotra: Unplugged at Front Lawn on 27th January 2020
  2. Textile Heritage: Stories of Change and Shared Futures at Mughal Tent on 27th January 2020

Robert Svoboda

Source: Buddha at the gas pump

Dr. Robert Svoboda is one of those few people on the planet who have and continue to live a life that is driven by richness of culture and knowledge. He has achieved some truly brilliant things in his lifetime. He is the first white member to be ritually initiated into the Pokot tribe of northern Kenya. 

After that, he moved to India and got mentored by Aghori Vimalananda who taught him the ways of Yoga, Ayurveda, Tantra, Jyotish and many other forms of Indian lore. He is also the first Westerner to ever graduate from a college of Ayurveda and have a licence to practise Ayurveda in India. Dr. Robert has authored over a dozen books, all widely received by critics and the public alike.

What To Read: Prakriti – Your Ayurvedic Constitution (1998)

What To Attend: Back to the Future at Baithak on 23rd January 2020

William Dalrymple

Source: The National

One of the founders of the Jaipur Literature Festival in Diggi Palace, William is a man of many accolades. Highly acclaimed for his travel writings, he has won the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the Hemingway, the Kapuściński and the Wolfson Prizes. That’s quite a lot! 

Dalrymple is a staunch admirer of India and has spent most of his life since 1989 living in India. His books reflect this love. We can say without a doubt that his sessions are going to be some of the most insightful ones. We should know, we met him last year 🙂

What To Read: Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (2009)

What To Attend:

  1. Inaugural Session: Each Other’s Stories, at Front Lawn, on 23rd January 2020
  2. Akbar and Dara, at Baithak, on 23rd January 2020
  3. The Anarchy, at Char Bagh, on 25th January 2020
  4. The Travel Session, at Front Lawn, on 26th January 2020
  5. Al-Andulas: On Islamic Pain, at Durbar Hall, on 27th January 2020
  6. Journey of the Soul, at Mughal Tent, on 27th January 2020
  7. The Great Mysore Bhagavata, at Durbar Hall, on 27th January 2020

Well, now you know everything there is to about the 10 speakers to look out for during the Jaipur Literature Festival. We have to say this – there are about 100 speakers speaking at this event and this in no way is an exhaustive list. You can find the complete list on the JLF website. Look through, see who interests you.

If you are a fan of the event and wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world, then a good idea for you would be to book a backpacker hostel for your stay during the Jaipur Literature Festival in Diggi Palace. This way, you can save a lot on your lodging and spend it all on books books books! 

See you there.

What Should I Do Now?
  1. To check out The Hosteller Jaipur, click here.
  2. To know more about our trips, click here.
  3. To see the whole speaker list, click here.

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