2017 marks ten years of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival and its meteoric rise from a small gem of an idea to the world’s largest free literary festival, having hosted more than 1300 speakers over the past decade. Frequently described as ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 will take place between 19 and 23 January 2017 in its beautiful home at the historic Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur.
The Festival expects to welcome over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians, journalists, and popular culture icons to Jaipur this coming January. Equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins, placing some of the world’s greatest wordsmiths and intellects from all walks of life together on stage.
Managing Editor of The Thumb Print, Teresa Rehman is one of the speakers at the Festival this year. She will be part of a panel called “Engaging with India: The ‘Margins’ and the ‘Mainland’: Dhrubajyoti Bora, Sanjoy Hazarika and Teresa Rehman in conversation with Urvashi Butalia. Rehman’s debut book “The Mothers of Manipur” is forthcoming from Zubaan Books. On 15 July 2004, in Manipur, 12 women protested the rape and murder of a woman by soldiers of the Indian Army. Standing in front of the headquarters of the Assam Rifles, they stripped themselves and held banners aloft that read “Indian Army Rape Us” and “Take Our Flesh.” In this book, the journalist Teresa Rehman profiles the 12 women: how they decided to stage the protest, how they carried it out, and how their lives changed after. Through these stories, Rehman explores the larger history of state violence in Manipur under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
The past decade has seen the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival grow into the world’s largest free event of its kind. Having hosted 1300 speakers and welcoming nearly 1.2 million book lovers, the success of ZEE JLF has been astonishing and heartwarming.
Celebrating writers from across the globe, the Festival has hosted some of the best regarded and loved names, ranging from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners to debut writers such as Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Eleanor Catton, Hanif Kureishi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan, JM Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Mohammed Hanif, Oprah Winfrey, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Salman Rushdie, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, Vikram Seth and Wole Soyinka, as well as renowned Indian language writers such as Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, MT Vasudevan Nair, Uday Prakash as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and UR Ananthamurthy. Writers and Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple invite authors from across the globe to take part in the five-day programme set against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur.
Equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins, placing some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers from all walks of life together on stage. All events are completely free and there are no reserved spaces; this egalitarian access is a powerful statement in a country where access to such individuals remains the privilege of a few. On top of all this, people are guaranteed to have fun!
As Time Out said: “It’s settled. The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is officially the Woodstock, Live 8 and Ibiza of world literature, with an ambience that can best be described as James Joyce meets Monsoon Wedding.” The Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally, and is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy.
In 2014, ZEE JLF spread its wings beyond the borders of India with an annual event in May at London’s Southbank Centre. In 2015, ZEE JLF headed across the pond to Boulder, Colorado where it hosts a similar event every September.