This is one date which is etched firmly in your January calendar (that is if you are culturally and intellectually inclined, or at least want the rest of the world to think so). The baap of all litfests (forgive our colloquialism) Jaipur Literature Fest (JLF) is just a few days away and people are already finalising their date diaries to ensure they are in the Pink City from January 17 to 21.
This year, Amartya Sen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Amish, Reza Aslan, Mary Beard, Harold Varmus, Rana Mitter, Antony Beevor, Gloria Steinem and Jim Crace will be among 139 speakers at Diggi Palace. In case you are the kind who believes books are for shelf improvement rather than self improvement, there will also be enough star power to keep you dazzled.
English actor Rupert Everett, dancer Astad Deboo, sarpanch Chhavi Rajawat, actor Irrfan Khan, lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar, politician Manavendra Singh, sportsperson Mary Kom and lyricist Prasoon Joshi will be there among others. There will be a discussion with Ekta Kapoor as well but if you want to keep your lit credentials - avoid!
So, which events to attend and which to junk? Here's your guide to get the most out of the lit fest.
Every time he speaks, Amartya Sen has something measured yet provocative to say. He will be giving the keynote address. He will also be a part of panel also including Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Xiaolu Guo and Rana Mitter which will discuss Who Will Rule the World?
The Pulitzer Award winner Jhumpa Lahiri will be a part of 'Women Uninterrupted' session. Another key speaker here will be British author Samantha Shannon.
The grand dame of women's lib, Gloria Steinem will discuss what makes for The Essential Gloria Steinem.
Award winning actor Irrfan Khan will be speaking with screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan of Monsoon Wedding fame on scripts.
Called the first literary popstar of India, Amish Tripathi brings a lot to the table. Expect an information-driven and interesting session.
Olympian Mary Kom will be talking about her autobiography.
With multiple awards in his kitty and his books having sold more than four million copies, the eminent historian Antony Beevor will visit the festival.
He will discuss the Second World War from a global perspective.
Rana Mitter will recount the effects of China's devastating eight-year war of resistance against Japan which later lead China to become an ally of the West in the Second World War. His talk is also expected to offer insights into modern day China.
After authoring ground-breaking books on Jesus of Nazareth, Reza Aslan is expected to share his findings on the man who went on to become Jesus Christ. An entirely fresh look on the person who is the leader of one of the world's biggest religions.
What happened at the Taj on that dark night of 26/11? Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott Clark will recount the stories of the guests, staff, police and the National Security Guard involved in the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai.
British historian Mary Beard will tell the audience about the lost city of Pompeii which was destroyed by Vesuvius in 79 CE. Based on the ruins, she will give a glimpse into the life of people living there.
A computer programmer before he became a novelist, Vikram Chandra will look at the connections between art and technology. He will talk about his latest book Mirrored Mind which is part literary theory, part tech story and part memoir.
Want your very own time machine? Theoretical physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili lays science fiction to rest as he opens up Einstein's Universe.
From sounds which are all Rajasthan to world music, JLF is meant for the music buffs.
On the opening day, Jaipur Kawa Brass Band and Rajasthani folk expression The Kutle Khan Project will perform. Next on the agenda are dancers Colleena Shakti and Queen Harish -- said to be the whirling queen of the desert.
Asian Underground, Karsh Kale, Midival Punditz and God's Robots will also be performing. The show will conclude with nomadic band Tinariwen.