Jaipur Literature Festival 2016 will see a host of best-known international writers speak and interact at the fest. From Stephen Fry to Booker Prize-winning Margaret Atwood, here’s a look at some of the prominent names attending this year’s festival.
Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, and grew up in northern Ontario and Quebec, and in Toronto. Atwood is the author of more than 40 volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction, but is best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1969), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Her latest work is a book of short stories called Stone Mattress: Nine Tales (2014). Her work has been published in more than 40 languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic and Estonian. Margaret Atwood will deliver the keynote address at the JLF 2016 on January 21.
Born in Ireland in 1955, Colm Tóibín is the author of eight novels, including Brooklyn, which won the 2009 Costa novel award, and is being made into a film. His new novel ‘Nora Webster’ dramatises the life of a woman and her family in a small town in Ireland in the late 1960s.
Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty languages and become bestsellers through the world.
Recognised internationally and locally, Paro Anand has headed the National Centre for Children’s Literature and now works with children and schools through her Literature in Action programme. Her book No Guns at My Son’s Funeral was on the IBBY Honour List and has been translated into German and Spanish. The Little Bird Who Held the Sky Up with His Feet was listed as one of the 1001 Books to Read Before You Grow Up, an international gold standard of the world’s best children’s literature.
Sebastian Mallaby is Paul A Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An experienced journalist and public speaker, Mallaby has served as a contributing editor for the Financial Times and as a columnist and editorial board member at the Washington Post. His interests cover a wide variety of domestic and international issues, including financial markets, the implications of the rise of newly emerging powers, and the intersection of economics and international relations. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Atlantic Monthly. Mallaby is currently writing a biography of the former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan.
Jamaican author Marlon James recently won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings. Set across three decades, the novel draws on the true story of the assassination attempt on reggae star Bob Marley’s life to explore several decades of Jamaican history, gang warfare and politics through multiple narrators.
Kanishk Tharoor ’s pieces on politics and culture have appeared in publications around the world, including the Guardian, The Independent, The National, The Hindu, The Times of India, The Telegraph (Calcutta), the Caravan, newyorker.com, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sports Illustrated, Al Jazeera America, Roads & Kingdoms, Foreign Policy, Cairo Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, Kill Screen, openDemocracy, and YaleGlobal Online. His appearances on radio and TV include BBC’s Today programme, BBC News, BBC Radio Scotland and the Colbert Report. His debut collection, Swimmer Among the Stars: Stories, was released this month.
Kunal Basu is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels including The Opium Clerk, The Miniaturist, Racists and The Yellow Emperor’s Cure. His work has been translated into several languages and nominated for prestigious awards. The lead story of his collection of stories, The Japanese Wife, was made into an award-winning Bengali film of the same title in 2010. His latest novel is Kalkatta.
Thomas Piketty is a French economist who works on wealth and income inequality. He is a professor at the Paris School of Economics and centennial professor at the London School of Economics’ new International Inequalities Institute. He is the author of the bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which emphasises the themes of his work on wealth concentrations and distribution over the past 250 years. He has also written articles for the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the American Economic Review and the Review of Economic Studies, along with a dozen books.
Tristram Hunt is a Labour Member of Parliament (UK) and Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London. Since entering Parliament in 2010, Hunt has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education and as a member of the Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs. He is the author of four internationally acclaimed books on the history of the English Civil War, the Victorian City, the life of Friedrich Engels and most recently, Ten Cities That Made an Empire.
Stephen Fry is an English writer, actor and comedian. Whilst at university, Fry became involved with the Cambridge Footlights, where he met his long-time collaborator and friend Hugh Laurie. The pair went on to work together on A Bit of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. Fry’s other acting roles include Melchett in the BBC comedy series Blackadder, a recurring guest role on the crime series Bones as well as roles in films such as Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and the Hobbit trilogy. As a writer, he has contributed columns and articles for numerous newspapers and magazines and is the author of four novels and three volumes of autobiography.
Helen Macdonald is a writer, illustrator, historian, naturalist and an affiliated research scholar at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, where she teaches to graduate level. Over the years, she’s also worked as a professional falconer, assisted with the management of raptor research and conservation projects across Eurasia and bred hunting falcons for Arab royalty. In 2014, she published her first trade book, H is for Hawk, which went on to win the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize and the 2015 Costa Book of the Year award.