Stage set for Jaipur Literature Festival 2023

19 to 2 January at Hotel Clarks Amer, Jaipur

Jaipur Literature Festival
(L to R) Sanjoy K. Roy, Namita Gokhale, and William Dalrymple at the Curtain Raiser in Delhi. Photo JLF

The annual iconic Jaipur Literature Festival is all set to run from 19 to  2 January at Hotel Clarks Amer in Jaipur, where a powerhouse of writers, speakers, thinkers, and humanitarians from all walks of life are converging to exchange ideas and thoughts. Marking its sixteenth year, the literary extravaganza will see a spectacular range of language diversity in the program, displaying 20 Indian and 14 International languages. 

The full preview of the 2023 edition was unveiled at a curtain raiser function in Delhi on 13 December at The Leela Palace, where the Barmer Boys welcomed the audience with their Rajasthani folk and Sufi music.

The festival will host over 250 speakers from across a vast array of nationalities, as well as recipients of major awards such as the Nobel, the Booker, International Booker, the Pulitzer, the Sahitya Akademi, Baillie Gifford, PEN America Literary Awards, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, the JCB Prize for Literature and many more, it was announced.

The themes include the climate justice debate under the urgency of borrowed time theme; the great women writers and artists focusing on the female voice and identity, crime fiction, memoir, translation, poetry, economics, tech morality, and Artificial Intelligence, the global crisis in agriculture, Russia-Ukraine conflict, the violence of the British Empire, cutting-edge science, India at 75, remembering partition, geopolitics, art and photography, health and medicine, among others.

The list has some of the world’s greatest minds including Nobel awardee and celebrated writer Abdulrazak Gurnah in conversation with British publishing legend Alexandra Pringle for a panel discussion titled ‘The Essential Abdulrazak Gurnah’.

Private diplomat, journalist and author Michael Vatikiotis will be in conversation with historian and festival co-director William Dalrymple, to take the audience through the history of his forebears as an ode to the once-tolerant and harmonious Middle East.

Booker Prize winner Bernardine Evaristo will be in conversation with journalist and writer, Nandini Nair where she will present her reimagined memoir, Manifesto: On Never Giving Up.  Nair will also be in conversation with Booker Prize-winning author Shehan Karunatilaka for a panel discussion on Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. At another session, the winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize 2022, Katherine Rundell will be in conversation with academic and writer Nandini Das, where Rundell will speak of her biography of John Donne.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Caroline Elkins for a panel discussion where Elkins will take the audience through her illuminating and authoritative book Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire. The Festival will feature acclaimed art historian Katy Hessel for a panel discussion with Xavier Bray on a session named ‘The Story of Art without Men’. 

Bibek Debroy, an eminent scholar and translator, will be in conversation with Sahitya Akademi awardee and festival co-director Namita Gokhale, talking about the intricate layers of wisdom and learning contained in the Puranas. 

Three experts in agrarian studies, scholar and writer Maryam Aslany and academic Surinder S Jodhka will be in conversation with Mukulika Banerjee, delving deeper into the causes and consequences of the situation and the complex and acute tragedy of farmer suicides.

Journalist and author Manoj Joshi will be in conversation with former foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and former Ambassador to China, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Nepal & former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, discussing the rising tensions at the unresolved LAC, and what that means for the region, along with journalist and foreign policy expert Suhasini Haidar. 

This year, the Festival will celebrate the diversity of language and literature like never before by conducting a panel discussion featuring International Booker Prize winner Geetanjali Shree in conversation with translator Daisy Rockwell and Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar recipient Tanuj Solanki for a session on Ret Samadhi: Tomb of Sand

Speaking at the preview, Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher, and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “2022 has been an important landmark in the world recognition of Indian and South Asian literature. International Booker prize winner Geetanjali Shree, and her English translator Daisy Rockwell will join us, as will Sri Lankan author & Booker winner Shehan Karunatilaka. We are deeply honored to have Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah and so many other international and Sahitya Akademi awardees.”

William Dalrymple said,  “We have brought together the world’s greatest novelists & poets, historians and biographers, scientists & economists, artists & art historians: a free-flowing gathering of great literary minds. It’s going to be extraordinary and should not be missed!”

Jaipur BookMark returns

South Asia’s biggest publishing conclave, the Jaipur BookMark, returns to the annual Jaipur Literature Festival with its ninth edition, bringing together publishers, editors, literary agents, writers, translators, and booksellers from across the world. This year, the focus would be on translations and the world of children’s publishing. 

There are sessions on podcasts, queer writing, formats such as eBooks and audiobooks, books focusing on the mind, body, and spirit, book awards, and much more. While the audience will get to hear from experts deeply immersed in translations and children’s literature, they will also get a chance to be inspired by industry leaders telling them why they believe in books. The eclectic mix of sessions and speakers promises to present a host of ideas that will be of interest to the publishing fraternity as well as anybody who is interested in books and publishing. 

This year, the conclave will feature an exemplary line-up of writers, literary agents, speakers, and publishing luminaries, including Daisy Rockwell, Arunava Sinha, Mini Krishnan, Urvashi Butalia, Charlie Redmayne, K. Srinivas Rao, Kanishka Gupta, Ravi DC, Gaurav Srinagesh, Radhika Menon, Neeraj Jain, and Mridula Koshy.

The JLF curtain raiser crackled with the infectious energy of the festival itself. It was infused with the spirit of generosity and celebration of books and ideas that are the hallmark of the JLF,” said Manisha Chaudhary, the organizer of the Jaipur Book Mark.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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