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The Road to Jaipur Begins as ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival Launches in the Nation’s Capital

Dec 17, 2014   17:33 IST 
New Delhi, Delhi, India

- Final line up of 234 speakers and 117 musicians revealed at exclusive curtain-raiser at Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi

- Jung Chang, A.P.J Abdul Kalam and Naseeruddin Shah announced as speakers

- Guest including Shashi Tharoor, Navtej Sarna, Anuja Chauhan and Urvashi Butalia debated the future of non-fiction writing in India


The annual countdown to the world’s largest free literary festival officially began tonight as the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival brought its infectious energy and unrivalled magic to the nation’s capital.


At a highly-anticipated event packed with publishers, authors, media and the literati at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, co-Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale revealed the final line-up of authors, themes and sponsors that will participate in the annual carnival of the mind between 21-25 January 2015.


Jung Chang, whose memoir of growing up in Mao’s China, Wild Swans, which has sold over 15 million copies worldwide is confirmed to attend as well as British biographer and winner of last year’s Samuel Johnson Prize, Lucy-Hughes Hallett, who will discuss her book The Pike. Former President of India and distinguished scientist, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will also travel to Jaipur to share his vision for India, discussing the crucial issues the country faces with Festival audiences.


Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah will bring a flavor of Bollywood to the Festival as he discusses his delightfully frank autobiography And Then One Day with actor and playwright Girish Karnad who will talk about his highly acclaimed play Boiled Beans on ToastVishal Bhardwaj will speak about the Shakespearean deconstructions in Indian reality present in his celebrated film Haider. Bhardwaj will discuss the anguish of Hamlet’s dilemma with scriptwriter Basharat Peer and renowned theatre director Tim Supple. The enduringly beautiful and incredibly gifted actor Waheeda Rehman, will look back at her extraordinary life and career with her biographer and film historian Nasreen Munni Kabir, whilst Prasoon Joshi will speak to poet and mythologist Yatindra Mishra about the Indian traditions of popular music and poetry. 


The speakers announced tonight join Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul, Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, renowned contemporary travel writer Paul Theroux, Pulitzer Prize winning poet Vijay Seshadri, acclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi and 228 other celebrated authors to complete the line up for next month’s festival. The festival will also celebrate and honour 50 years since the publication of "A House for Mr Biswas", perhaps one of the best loved English novels ever. The sheer range and diversity of the programme is unprecedented with session on Lawrence of Arabia, tigers, Buddhism, detectives, pirates, aesthetics, science, bumble bees, statistics and the Simpsons all scheduled.


Fittingly, the curtain raiser, hosted by the producers of the festival, Teamwork Arts, featured a debate on the motion, ‘This house proposes the centre of literary action is moving from the novel to non-fiction’. Panelists including Shashi TharoorNavtejSarnaAnuja Chauhan and Urvashi Butalia debated the recent trends in publishing across South Asia, and argued why readers are increasingly consuming more and more non-fiction. The debate brought the audience in Delhi a little taste of Jaipur, with the event featuring the magical Rajasthani drumbeats from Chugge Khan and Nathoo Solanki.


Given the international demographic of both the Festival’s visitors and speakers, it is fitting that ZEE Entertainment have once again committed to supporting the Festival as title sponsor, fitting well with their vision, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The World is My Family).


Other sponsors for 2015 include returning partners Google and The Glenlivet who will sponsor the Mughal Tent and Author’s Lounge respectively. This will be the fourth year of sponsorship for both partners, demonstrating their commitment to literature as well as the strong value brought by being associated with the world-leading Festival.  The Mahindra Humanities Centre also returns for a second year to support the sessions at the Durbar Hall. will be the Festival’s official book partner and the Festival’s official ticketing partner will once again be Kya Zoonga. The sponsors are crucial in maintaining the Festival’s much lauded status as the world’s largest free literary festival.


Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director, said, “The ZEE Jaipur Literature festival in its many avatars has been described variously as a literary Woodstock, a Sahityik Kumbh Mela, and a spreading Banyan tree, a Bargad Ka Ped with both aerial and earth roots. The last metaphor is particularly apt, keeping in mind the perhaps seventy book festivals that have taken root across South Asia, celebrating regional languages and writing, connecting with international writers, being both local and global, rooted and cosmopolitan. I am proud and delighted to bring all these writers together for our annual celebration of books and ideas, and look forward to welcoming our guests from across the globe.


William Dalrymple, author and co-Director said, “We have two missions at Jaipur: to showcase Indian writing to the world and to bring the greatest writers in the world to India.  This year’s programme will achieve this better than ever and it looks like a particularly vintage year. We have sessions on writing criticism, art history, historical novels and memoir; we’ll take a fresh look at Homer and Marie Antoinette, detectives and spooks, aesthetics and erotics and everything in between. It’s going to be an utterly amazing few days.


Sanjoy K. Roy, producer of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Once again, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has set the standard for world-class programming, reinforcing our position as the world’s largest free literary festival. We are grateful to all our partners, new and returning, who support the Festival and share our vision of giving a global platform to the best writing from India and the world. Without them we wouldn’t be able to make the Festival free and open to all.


This year 234 speakers will participate in the Festival, and a further 117 musicians, speakers and artists, will take the number of Festival participants to 351.


Roland Landers, Head Corporate Brand ZEE said, “Corporate Brand ZEE’s integration with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival further signifies its identity as a global media conglomerate. Since its inception, ZEE has been the cultural ambassador of our nation to the rest of the world, and with ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival we further reinforce this key message of the brand. Corporate Brand ZEE has always been associated with knowledge based global intellectual properties, and our support to one of the world’s most prestigious literature festival for the second consecutive year, reinstates the same. This year, ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival promises to offer some of the greatest thinkers and writers from across the World. Acclaimed as the largest free literary festival on earth, we at ZEE are all set to bring it to an all new level!”


Satyajeet Krishnan, General Manager The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi said, “We are privileged to present an exclusive glimpse of the world-famous ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 in the capital city. It has been our constant endeavor at Taj Mahal, New Delhi to create meaningful experiences to our patrons. As purveyors of art, culture and heritage we are delighted to partner with Teamwork Arts, to offer a taste of the country’s most eagerly awaited literary festival.  With some of the finest literary minds coming together for this curtain raiser at The Taj Mahal Hotel, we are sure it will be a memorable evening with thought-provoking conversation and discussions.


Registration for the Festival is FREE, open to all. All visitors must pre-register on the Festival’s website at



1.           Aakar Patel

2.           Abhay K

3.           Adam Johnson

4.           Adam LeBor

5.           Ahmed Rashid

6.           Aidan Singh Bhati

7.           AkashKapur

8.           Akhil Sharma

9.           Alberto Manguel

10.         Alexander Kozlov

11.         Alexis Wright

12.         Ali CobbyEckerman

13.         Alka Pande

14.         marinder Singh

15.         Ambika Dutt

16.         Amish Tripathi

17.         Amit Chaudhuri

18.         mrita Tripathi

19.         AnanditaGhose

20.         AnatolLieven

21.         Anchee Min

22.         Anita Anand

23.         Anshu Harsh

24.         Anu Singh Choudhary

25.         Anupama Chopra

26.         AnuradhaSenGupta

27.         APJ Abdul Kalam

28.         Arjun DeoCharan

29.         ArshiaSattar

30.         AruniKashyap

31.         Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

32.         Arvind Panagariya

33.         Ashok Ferrey

34.         Ashok Malik

35.         Ashok Vajpayei

36.         AshwinSanghi

37.         AvantikaSujan

38.         Barry Flood

39.         Basharat Peer

40.         Bettany Hughes

41.         Bhakti Mathur

42.         BibekDebroy

43.         Bilal Tanweer

44.         BN Goswamy

45.         Brigid Keenan

46.         BurakAckapar

47.         C. Mrunalini

48.         CarylFerey

49.         Cat Weatherill

50.         Chandrahas Choudhury

51.         Charles Glass

52.         ChetanBhagat

53.         Chiki Sarkar

54.         Christina Lamb

55.         Christos Tsiolkas

56.         CP Deval

57.         CP Surendran

58.         Cyprian Broodbank

59.         Damon Galgut

60.         Daud Ali

61.         Dave Goulson

62.         Debra Diamond

63.         Deepti Kapoor

64.         DevduttPattanaik

65.         Eimear McBride

66.         Eleanor Catton

67.         Elizabeth Gilbert

68.         Ella Berthoud

69.         Esther David

70.         FadyJoudah

71.         FarrukhDhondy

72.         Florence Noiville

73.         Gary Bass

74.         Gideon Levy

75.         Gilbert King

76.         Girish Karnad

77.         Gopal Prasad Mudgal

78.         Hakan Nesser

79.         Hanif Kureishi

80.         Hansda Sowvendar         Shekhar

81.         Hardeep Singh Puri

82.         Harish Bhat

83.         Helon Habila

84.         Hisham Matar

85.         HomiK.Bhabha

86.         Ibukun Olatunji

87.         IndrajitHazra

88.         James Astill

89.         JaspreetKalra

90.         Javed Akhtar

91.         Jenny Uglow

92.         Jerry Brotton

93.         Jessie Childs

94.         Joanna Rakoff

95.         John Elliot

96.         John Napier

97.         Jonathan Beckman

98.         Jonathan Gil Harris

99.         Jonathan Shainin

100.      Jung Chang

101.      Jyotika Kumari Diggi

102.      Kai Bird

103.      Kalyan Ray

104.      Kamila Shamsie

105.      Kate Summerscale

106.      Kavita Singh

107.      Kedarnath Singh

108.      Keki Daruwallah

109.      Kevin Powers

110.      Kwasi Kwarteng

111.      L. Somi Roy

112.      Lata Sharma

113.      Lauren Child

114.      Llewelyn Morgan

115.      Lucy Hughes Hallet

116.      Ma Jian

117.      MadhuTrehan

118.      MahuaMaji

119.      MaithreeWickramsinghe

120.      MakarandParanjape

121.      Malashri Lal

122.      Malchand Tiwari

123.      Malvika Singh

124.      MamtaDalalMangaldas

125.      ManasiSubramaniam

126.      Mandy Ord

127.      Maria Chaudhuri

128.      Mark Gevisser

129.      MeenaKandasamy

130.      MeruGokhale

131.      Mihir Sharma

132.      Mira Jacob

133.      Molly Emma Aitken

134.      Monisha Rajesh

135.      MridulaBehari

136.      Mukul Deva

137.      Namita Gokhale

138.      Nand Bhardwaj

139.      Narayan Murthy

140.      NareshFernandes

141.      Naseeruddin Shah

142.      NasreenMunniKabir

143.      Nassim Nicholas Taleb

144.      NavinaHaidar

145.      NavtejSarna

146.      Neel Mukherjee

147.      Neil Rennie

148.      Nicholson Baker

149.      Nils Nordberg

150.      Oleg Borushko

151.      Om Thanvi

152.      PallavaBagla

153.      Paranjoy GuhaThakurta

154.      ParulSehgal

155.      Paul Theroux

156.      Payal Kapadia

157.      Peter Frankopan

158.      Pradyot Bikram Manikya             Deb Burman

159.      Pramod Kapoor

160.      Prashant Jha

161.      Prasoon Joshi

162.      Pushpesh Pant

163.      Raghu Karnad

164.      Rahul Jacob

165.      Raj Kamal Jha

166.      RajdeepSardesai

167.      Rajendra Singh Bharhath

168.      Rajiv Malhotra

169.      RakhshandaJalil

170.      Ram Kumar Singh

171.      RamitaNavai

172.      Ravish Kumar

173.      Razia Iqbal

174.      Rima Hooja

175.      Rohan Murthy

176.      Ruth Padel

177.      S. S. Nirupam

178.      S.R Faruqi

179.      SadafSaaz Siddiqi

180.      SaharDelijani

181.      SakerMistri

182.      SaktiBurman

183.      Salil Tripathi

184.      Salima Hashmi

185.      Sam Miller

186.      Samanth Subramanian

187.      SamitBasu

188.      Sandip Roy

189.      SangeetaBandopadhyay

190.      Sarah Waters

191.      SaryuDoshi

192.      Satti Khanna

193.      Satya VratShastry

194.      Scott Anderson

195.      ShabanaAzmi

196.      Shanti Raman

197.      ShashiTharoor

198.      Sheldon Pollock

199.      ShobhaVishwanath

200.      Simon Armitage

201.      Simon Singh

202.      Soumya Bhattacharya

203.      Subhadra Menon

204.      SubhashGoel

205.      Sudha Murthy

206.      SuhasiniHaider

207.      Suhel Seth

208.      Sukrita Paul Kumar

209.      Sushma Deshpande

210.      SushmaSinghvi

211.      Swapan Dasgupta

212.      Tanuja Desai Hidier

213.      Tarun Khanna

214.      Tim Supple

215.      TishaniDoshi

216.      Tom Holland

217.      TsheringTashi

218.      Udayan Sharma

219.      Urmila Pawar

220.      UrvashiButalia

221.      V S Naipaul

222.      Valmik Thapar

223.      Vedica Kant

224.      Vijay Seshadri

225.      Vinod Kumar Shukla

226.      Vishal Bhardwaj

227.      VishvjitPrithvijit Singh

228.      WaheedaRehman

229.      Will Self

230.      William Dalrymple

231.      William Pinch

232.      WipasSrithong

233.      Yatindra Mishra

234.      Zia Haider Rahman


About The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival:

The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is the world’s largest free literary festival, celebrating national and international writers, and encompassing a range of interests including film, music and theatre. The festival has already hosted some of the best-known national and international writers including Orhan Pamuk, J.M. Coetzee, John Berendt, Kiran Desai, Christopher Hampton, Ian McEwan, Vikram Seth, Wole Soyinka, Salman Rushdie, Pico Iyer, Simon Schama, Thomas Keneally, Hanif Kureishi, Vikram Chandra, Anoushka Shankar, Michael Frayn, Stephen Frears, Alexander McCall Smith, Donna Tartt, Tina Brown, Shashi Tharoor, Mohammed Hanif, Paul Zacharia, among many others. The Directors of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival are William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale and the festival is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy and Sheuli Sethi of Teamwork Arts. The Festival’s Title Sponsor is ZEE Entertainment.



About co-Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple:

Writer, publisher Namita Gokhale is the author of six novels and several works of non-fiction. Her books include Paro, Dreams of Passion, Gods Graves and Grandmothers, The Book of Shadows, Shakuntala, The Book of Shiva, In Search of Sita : Revisiting Mythology and ‘The Mahabharata’ retold for young readers. ‘Priya’a sequel to her first novel ‘Paro’ was published in 2011 followed by a collection of short stories, ‘The Habit of Love’ in 2012.


William Dalrymple is the author of nine books about India and the Islamic world, including City of Djinns (Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Prize), White Mughals (Wolfson Prize for History and SAC Scottish Book of the Year Prize), The Last Mughal (Duff Cooper Prize and Crossword/ Vodafone Award for Non-Fiction) and Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India (Asia House Literary Award). His latest book, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42 was published to acclaim in December 2012.


About Teamwork Arts:

For over 24 years, Teamwork has presented the finest of Indian performers, writers and visual artists to the world and our own nation.


Every year, we produce 21 performing and visual arts and literary festivals in 11 countries, including Australia, Canada, Egypt, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Israel, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and USA.


Teamwork produces one of the world’s largest literary gatherings, the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Our musical extravaganza, Bollywood Love Story - A Musical, continues to tour the world and has had sold out shows in Austria, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and Switzerland. Our International festivals in India have included the bi annual Bonjour India, festival of France with more than 200 events across 18 cities in India and featuring over 250 artists, designers, researchers & entrepreneurs, and OZ fest- a festival of Australia in India.


About The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi:

The Taj Mahal Hotel on Number One Mansingh Road, New Delhi is one of the most distinguished addresses in the national capital. Its proximity to the seat of government, the city’s diplomatic corps and business district has furthered The Taj Mahal Hotel’s reputation as the epicenter of the Delhi. The graceful architecture blends aesthetically with modern facilities at The Taj Mahal Hotel. Indeed, it is a tribute to hospitality and service, complimenting the broad boulevards and leafy splendor of Delhi’s chief architect, Edwin Lutyens.


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ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival
ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival
Road to Jaipur Sanjoy K. Roy, Producer of the ZEE JLF
Road to Jaipur Sanjoy K. Roy, Producer of the ZEE JLF
Road to Jaipur William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE JLF

Road to Jaipur William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the ZEE JLF
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