Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 to be held virtually


The 14th edition of the literary festival, spread over 10 days in February, dons a virtual avatar because of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) returns this year, donning a virtual avatar, spread over 10 days for its 14th edition. The programme with a stellar line-up offers a kaleidoscopic view into the themes of technology and AI, politics and history, environment and climate change, mental health, economics, translations, poetry and music, food and literature, geopolitics, science and medicine, democracy and constitutions, water and sustainability, historical fiction and travel.

Some highlights from the programme include a session with Glasgow-born Douglas Stuart, the author of 2020 Booker Prize-winning début novel Shuggie Bain. Following the bond between a son and his mother, fractured by alcoholism, poverty, aspiration and human misery, the novel graphs an intimate, devastating yet ultimately hopeful journey through their lives. In conversation with writer and playwright Paul McVeigh, Stuart will unravel the thought and process behind bringing this heartbreaking story out.

Celebrated American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic and political activist Noam Chomsky’s latest book, Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power, sharply questions the utopian idea of neoliberalism and the consequences of markets dictating all aspects of society. Evaluating the ten principles that have fuelled this idea, he will unravel its roots and troubling impact on American society, culture and politics, in conversation with journalist Sreenivasan Jain.

Covering the ongoing pandemic, doctors and co-authors Randeep Guleria, Chandrakant Lahariya and Gagandeep Kang will discuss their exciting new project in conversation with award-winning journalist Maya Mirchandani.

The focus of the session will revolve around whether India is winning the fight against COVID-19 .

In a special session, director and writer Devashish Makhija’s latest book, Oonga will be launched followed by a conversation exploring the book. The book is a powerful novel based on his film of the same name.

In his new book, The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? renowned philosopher Michael Sandel shows how the polarised politics of our time reflects the deep divide between winners and losers. In conversation with celebrated author and Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, Sandel will offer an ethic of dignity and solidarity that points the way to a new politics of common good.

Author and co-director of the festival Namita Gokhale said, “It’s been a joyous challenge to work on the programming for Jaipur Literature Festival 2021. We look at our transformative times and try to understand the future through the lens of the present and the past. Our hybrid digital outreach has opened up a new universe of possibilities. I’m excited at having Italian astrophysicist and writer Carlo Rovelli in conversation with Professor Priyamvada Natarajan, on Nagarjuna, Sunyata, and Stardust. Winner of the 2020 Booker prize, Douglas Stuart, speaks of his award-winning debut novel. We rediscover Emperor Ashoka’s ancient edicts through music with T.M. Krishna.”

The full programme will be available to view at jaipurliteraturefestival.org from February 19 to 28.

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