JLF enroute to Malvides in 2022

JLF's luxury lit event at Sovena Fushi in May

(L-R) Sanjoy Roy and Shobha De at the press launch of JLF Soneva Fushi. Photo JLF

The 15th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) has moved to the Clarks Amer in Jaipur from 5 to 14 March 2022. In a press conference on 12 March, the third day of the on-ground event, festival directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale, accompanied by author and socialite Shobhaa De, and Teamwork Arts managing director Sanjoy Roy along with Donna Campbell communications director from the luxury retreat Sovena Fushi in the Maldives announced the JLF Sovena Fushi from 13 – 22 May 2022.

The opulent Sovena Fushi resort where villas go from US$ 3000 a night for two, is located on the pristine shores of the Maldives and offers a shoe-less adventure to visitors. The award-winning resort is located within the Baa Atoll Unesco Biosphere Reserve. It will be the 9th international outing of the literary jamboree after Belfast, London, New York, Houston, Adelaide, Colorado, Toronto, and Doha. The event will once again showcase the multilingual literary heritage of India and South Asia to the international literary community. 

Soneva Fushi in the Maldives Photo cropped from panoramio Ameer
Soneva Fushi in the Maldives
Photo cropped from panoramio Ameer Dawood

The announcement comes as a breath of fresh air to readers and litfest fans across the world. JLF discovered a gap in this niche during the Covid-19 pandemic and has tried to bridge it with the JLF Sovena Fushi. The environmentally aware and active resort recycles everything including automobile parts, converting them to aesthetic furniture centerpieces.

Dalrymple announced the list of elite authors for the niche literary recycling event. These include the author and politician Shashi Tharoor, widely-read Turkish-British novelist Elif Shafak, Indian-American filmmaker Mira Nair, non-fiction author of Empire of Pain Patrick Radden Keefe, former Indian diplomat and writer Vikas Swarup, André Aciman, acclaimed author of Call Me By Your Name, 2022 Sahitya Academy award winner and JLF co-director Namita Gokhale, among others.

Roy said, “We are delighted to have our first bespoke JLF experience. We do believe that there is a space for it and that is the reason that we have accepted to do this wonderful festival. All of us at JLF are looking forward to the experience of literary luxury at JLF Soneva Fushi.”

Campbell said on behalf of Soneva Fushi CEO and co-founder Sonu Shivdasani, “We have an essential lineup where you get to experience the beautiful surroundings of Soneva Fushi. This intimate experience has been limited to 200 guests so we have bespoke literary interactions as well as enjoying the rare experience of Soneva Fushi has to offer.” We will have poetry sessions on rooftops, live music sessions, dinner parties on white sandy beaches, art experiences, private lunches and intimate interactions with authors, glass-blowing, Bollywood dancing, and adventure sports such as scuba diving, she added.

Shobhaa De, who is also on the speakers list, has already experienced the luxurious surroundings of Sovena Fushi. “As someone who has visited Sovena Fushi several times, the first thing that struck me on my first visit was the sustainability and the complete commitment that Sonu had on every single tiny detail at the resort which is eco-friendly and aesthetic and created in a manner that makes the entire experience so very unique. 

“When Sonu first approached the subject of having a litfest at Sovena Fushi, I thought it was a marvelous idea because it makes it so unique to be able to interact intimately with your favorite writers, to listen to poetry under the stars, to have music playing as you go on these wonderful boats or to even be on a beach with maashalls (torches). Poetry and interactions with writers, poets, and musicians would certainly make this the most unique literary event, perhaps, on the earth under a canopy of stars,” she said.

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