Get ready for JLF, the ‘Kumbh Mela’ of literature

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File picture of Jaipur Literary Festival. Shutterstock
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Touted as one of the greatest literary festivals in the world, the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) held in the Pink City of Jaipur in Rajasthan witnesses convergence of masters and connoisseurs of letters from across the globe every year. JLF in 2020 has been scheduled from January 23 to 27.

It is going to be just as magnificent as it was in the previous years with a strong line up of speakers, organizers claim. The festival would be dealing with diverse topics from climate change to miscellaneous subjects like food, music, artificial intelligence and dark matter. William Dalrymple, historian, author and co-director of JLF describes the festival as a ‘super-university' pitching its tents for all visitors’.

Over the years, this five-day event has not only been a platform to showcase the diversity of India but also a great way for acquainting India with the great literary wealth in other parts of the world. The audience is huge and the energy is contagious. With a predominantly young audience every year, JLF caters to the young India's appetite for knowledge.

What makes JLF different from other major literary festivals is that it’s free. You can walk in and enjoy five days of interdisciplinary exposure for free. Even though JLF is free, there is a paid delegate experience available. Becoming a delegate will give you more access to the speakers, complimentary food, priority seating during special sessions and a more guided experience on the whole.

JLF and Jaipur

JLF also brings out the culture and artistic ingenuity of Jaipur by showcasing its literature and art. The Festival Bazaar, the Pool Bazaar, and the Night Market are all examples of stalls that await the people coming to Jaipur for the literary fest. These stalls not only empower weavers, craftsmen, and artisans but also provide a chance for you to get closer to crafts from all over India.

JLF is also a great place to know Jaipur’s food culture. During JLF, you get to experience Jaipur within and beyond the literary fest. JLF has definitely drawn from and given back to the Pink City. Those visiting get to be a part of this process and that makes it all the more special.

Who’s coming this year?

There are a lot of people to look out for in JLF 2020. The list of speakers include Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Greenblatt (The Swerve: How The World Became Modern), Man-Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question), K.R. Meera, whose book Araachaar won her the Kendra Sahitya Akademy and Kerala Sahitya Akademy awards, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Love, Pray), renowned author Suketu Mehta, film director and composer, Vishal Bhardwaj, Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, David Wallace-Wells (Uninhabitable Earth), and Dexter Filkins, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and many more.

JLF has always given importance to poetry. With poets like Simon Armitage and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra speaking, JLF 2020 is definitely going to delight lovers of poem as well. The festival this year also promises music events, cultural programmes and a lot of food.

There are also a lot of eminent people attending JLF. There will be many chances to interact with these esteemed guests. The former minister for European affairs of Portugal, Bruno Macaes, who also authored 'The Dawn Of Eurasia', columnist Fintan O’Toole, Shashi Tharoor, and Magsaysay Award-winning journalist Ravish Kumar, are among the list of attendees for JLF 2020.

With these incredible speakers, JLF 2020 will help you delve deep into Economics, Climate Change, History and Technology.

Competitions

JLF has a great impact on everyone who connects with it. Hundreds of literary festivals have been inspired by it. Through competitions and programmes, it brings out new writers. Every year, JLF makes it a point to give to the world new writers.

The Blogging Contest this year calls for literature related to Economy, Environment, Politics, and Gender & Equal Rights. The deadline for the submission was December the 15th. But even if you have missed the opportunity to participate, the results are definitely something to look forward to.

The IWrite is another competition that gives budding writers a chance to publish their works. It is also a great chance to get mentored by successful writers.

This January, thousands of people from across the world will come to Jaipur to witness a great gathering. For those who have tasted the sweetness of the experience this festival offers, there is no better way to spend the month of January than by being surrounded by the warmth of books, art and people with remarkable perspectives.

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