The full programme for the ZEE JLF @The British Library has been unveiled as the ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ prepares to transform the iconic spaces of the British Library for the first time on May 20th & 21st. Over 70 eminent authors and thinkers from across the globe will explore the ‘Ideas of India’ in a richly diverse programme that will showcase South Asia’s unique multilingual literary heritage and the Festival’s global appeal.
Festival co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple have programmed ZEE JLF@The British Library to provide UK audiences with a taste of the world renowned mother festival in Jaipur which recently awarded ‘Best Festival’ at the Outlook Traveller Awards, in celebration of 70 years of UK-India relations.
The full ZEE JLF@The British Library announcement has unveiled new sessions and a host of global cultural influencers including; Freedom to Dream: Inaugural Address from Festival co-directors Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts and producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Sanjoy K. Roy, Neeraj Dhingra, CEO – Europe for ZEE Network and Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning, British Library. Director, Producer & Screenwriter Karan Johar discusses his frank and riveting memoir, An Unsuitable Boy, scientist and storyteller Sharad Paul Skin MD will reveal the fascinating history of skin and the genetic chains that bind races and species together in the Genetics of Skin. Prominent writers and thinkers Arundhathi Subramaniam, Mihir S. Sharma, Namita Gokhale, Prajwal Parajuly and Meghnad Desai discuss their individual perceptions of the idea of India and what it means to them in Ideas of India, writer and historian Roy Moxham and Indian MP Shashi Tharoor debate colonialism’s claims of benefit and development in The Theft of the Raj: The British Empire in India. Sunny Singh, co-founder of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour will be in conversation with Laura Susijn, and Wei Ming Kam to discuss the challenges of a dominant monocultural literary landscape in Jhalak: Glimpses of Diversity.
Previously announced programme highlights include Oscar-winning British director Stephen Frears, who will be in conversation with journalist and writer Shrabani Basu, to discuss Basu’s book Victoria and Abdul which is soon to be released as a major motion picture directed by Frears and starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, You’ve Got Magic from illusionist and new-age mentalist Neel Madhav whose tricks include criminal psychology and neuro-linguistic programming. The Beatles in India: The Rishikesh Trip which will see writer, playwright & music historian Philip Norman in conversation with leading Indian journalist Ajoy Bose in a fascinating session that explores the magic and mystery of the Beatles in India nearly 50 years since their trip to Rishikesh and an evening of vibrant musical celebration with Kabir Café. Festival co-director, writer and publisher Namita Gokhale will be in conversation with panellists; Tahmima Anam, Sarvat Hasin, Amit Chaudhuri and Kunal Basu as they share their insights on the art of the novel in The Reading Room: Shaping the Novel. Literary exiles and migrants Amit Chaudhuri, Meera Syal, Prajwal Parajuly and Lila Azam Zanganeh compare notes on whether emigration positively affects the writing of an author in Migrant Words. Panellists including Indian MPs Swapan Dasgupta and Shashi Tharoor discuss the enduring mystery of India’s fascination with P.G. Wodehouse one of the most popular English language writers in India and broadcaster Anita Anand and festival co-director William Dalrymple will discuss their book Kohinoor which explores the many mysteries which shroud the world’s most famous diamond alongside many more events which make up a packed programme of literary debate and social dialogue.
ZEE JLF@The British Library is the first of five cultural strands which form part of the Year of UK-India of Culture in 2017, celebrating the deep cultural ties and exchange in what is a year of great significance for the world’s largest democracy as India marks 70 years as an independent democratic republic. The year-long programme also includes India@Edinburgh in August, The Independence Gala@Southbank Centre in October, a season of Dance & Theatre and the UK Premiere of the Bharat Symphony by Dr L. Subramaniam and the London Symphony Orchestra in November.
ZEE JLF@The British Library is part of a wider partnership between Teamwork Arts and The British Library which included the presentation of a facsimile of the 1215 Magna Carta at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur this January, and will include the presentation of the Indian Constitution at the British Library during the two day event in May. To mark the UK-India Year of Culture, The British Library is also digitising 1 million pages of its South Asian Archives. Two Centuries of Indian print is a major programme to digitise the vast wealth of Indian printed books held by the Library dating from 1713 to 1914.
2017 marks the fourth London edition of the Festival, which is rooted in the Pink City of Jaipur, India. Held every January, this year commemorated the 10th anniversary of the flagship event.
Namita Gokhale, author and ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Co-Director said, "Delighted that the fourth edition of JLF in London will be hosted by the British Library. London is a uniquely cosmopolitan and literary city, and we look forward to celebrating diversity through a series of vibrant sessions that reflect the special spirit of Jaipur. "
William Dalrymple, author and ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Co-Director said, “In only a decade the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has grown from 14 lost tourists to third of a million people and it’s now the biggest festival of literature in the world. We can’t wait to bring its energy and colour to the British Library: our Jaipur-on-Thames."
Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts and producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Our collaboration with the British Library is reflective of the shared history between the sub-continent and UK. The Festival will continue to be a platform for diverse voices and will celebrate 70 years of India’s independence.”
Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library said, “The British Library is delighted to be hosting the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival this year as we celebrate the UK-India Year of Culture. The exciting programme reflects the richness of this new cultural partnership.”