Jaipur Literature Festival 2023 Begins 16th Literary Marathon With Inspiring Writers And Thinkers

The inaugural session of the 16th edition of the JLF began with speeches from acclaimed personalities, including author William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale and Sanjoy K. Roy


The first morning of the Festival commenced with a soul-stirring performance featuring the brilliant and award-winning Carnatic vocalist Sushma Soma. Soma’s rich and melodious voice transformed the energy at the Front Lawn and was the perfect build-up to the inaugural session of the Festival. Soma said about her recent album, "My album…Home…is about my reflection on sustainability, environment and nature and through that I realised as I started researching within the form and looking for repertoire …all the songs that I was actually I was looking at, relooking at,  spoke to me differently; they actually started speaking to me from point of environment and sustainability" 

The inaugural session of the 16th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival began with speeches from acclaimed personalities, including author William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale and Sanjoy K. Roy. During the ceremony Roy shared how — with over 80 per cent of attendees under the age of 25 in 2020—the Festival has found a niche among India’s youth. The Festival has tried to take into account the future of this young demographic by attempting to go carbon neutral, he said. Roy also mentioned their commitment to increasing the reach of the Festival to students from economically challenged sections and noted that events from three venues will be livestreamed this time. Further, through their partnership with Pratham Books, they will be setting up libraries in across 50 schools for the economically-weak. Gokhale spoke at length about the diverse languages that the Festival has come to represent — in this edition, there will be speakers from over 21 Indian languages and 14 international languages, making this an event that represents the diversity of its attendees. Giving a brief of the vast kind of talks, Dalrymple said that this edition will include winners of the most coveted literary awards from around the world, including the Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, the Man Booker prize winners Geetanjali Shree and Daisy Rockwell, among many others. 

Namita Gokhale, writer, Founder & Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Over the last 16 years, this annual literary pilgrimage, this Mahakumbh of readers and writers, this Katha Sarit-sagar, this sea of stories—has been transformative for so, so many people. Our programming focus, quite naturally, gravitated to translations and to forefronting new and unheard voices...Every January, the world visits Jaipur and Jaipur visits the world. From geopolitics to planetary consciousness, history, religions, spirituality, prose-poetry, argumentative discourse, we bring you multiple perspectives from the greatest Literary show on Earth.”

William Dalrymple, author, historian and Founder & Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “…this year we have every single major book award winner in the world present, the Nobel, the Booker, the International Booker, the JCB…the Women’s Prize and so on…It’s going to be cerebral heaven and an utterly magnificent feast of the mind. The kind of superb university people with fellows of all toes…with great minds from St. Stephens, from Harvard, from Yale—all available for free alongside these Nobel Prize winners, and it is an utterly magnificent feast of the mind sustaining inspiration.”

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts, producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Our whole aim and focus from the very beginning has been - can we create a platform where young people come to engage with writers? We believe that this is the generation that will bring about change in the world.” While addressing climate issues, Roy said, “Today, the climate crisis continues to be one of the biggest issues that we are facing. Yesterday with Shombi Sharp, the resident coordinator of the United Nations and Radhika Kaul Batra, we signed an MoU to ensure that all our festivals, conventions and programmes …will go green.”

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