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Heading to JLF 2017? Writers and poets pick sessions you must attend

Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 Updated: Jan 17, 2017 14:48 IST
Jaipur Literature Festival

A discussion at the 2015 edition of Jaipur Literature Festival. (Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times)

Five days of literature. The most read authors and poets. The most fascinating discussions. Indian literature’s mammoth mela, the Jaipur Literature Festival, is never short of excitement. The festival, which will run from January 19 to January 23 this year, creates a problem of plenty for its eager visitors: there is too much to do, too many authors to hear, too many discussions to attend.

So before you make your must-attend-at-JLF lists, take a look at what authors, poets and other participants are looking forward to the most this year.

Namita Gokhale, Writer and Founder-Director, Jaipur Literature Festival

Namita Gokhale

Namita Gokhale is one of the forces that has kept the Jaipur Literature Festival running smoothly over the years. As a writer and publisher, who is also one of the founder directors of JLF, she has some fond memories of the festival over the years.

“So many memories, layered and imprinted in my mind and heart. The keynote addresses from some of the greatest Indian writers, including Mahasweta Devi, UR Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, Nayantara Sahgal and so many others. The years when it rained and poured and the festival just continued calmly despite the mud and sludge. Gloria Steinem drinking chai in a kulhad, listening in to the front lawn sessions. Margaret Atwood and her sparkling mind,” she remembers.

So, what is she particularly looking forward to this year? “The inaugural session, where Gulzar Saheb and Anne Waldman will read their poetry. As a fan of the Shillong Choir, it’s exciting that they will be performing at the opening as well. And to the closing debate, which has such an atmosphere of elation and exhilaration and decompression , and a sort of sadness that’s it’s over for the year. And almost every minute in between, except for the inevitable stresses in an event of this size and magnitude,” she says.

On the opening day, visitors to the JLF would be able to catch Gokhale when she introduces the graphic novelist, Amruta Patil, the woman behind ‘Sauptik: Blood and Flowers.’ It is the second part of the Mahabharata duology.

Tishani Doshi, poet

Tishani Doshi

It is always the poetry at any festival that I’m most interested in, and this year at Jaipur I’m looking forward to hearing Kate Tempest perform “Let Them Eat Chaos,” Roy Foster talk about the life of WB Yeats, Vikram Chandra on chitra kavya. I also look forward to welcoming poet friends Ishion Hutchinson, Valzhyna Mort and Vladimir Lucien to continue discussions we’ve begun in other places. I want to hear Anne Waldman talk about Ginsberg, Guillermo Rodríguez talk about A.K Ramanujan. Basically, I want to inundate my veins with poetry.

For more coverage of books, authors and sessions from this year’s festival, visit our Jaipur Literature Festival page. Follow @htTweets for full coverage and tweet to us which authors you would like us to interview.