Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Block Your Dates- ZEEJLF'17 Arriveth!


The Insider got a glitzy and glamorous sneak peek at what’s in store at the  Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 in its Delhi curtain raiser. Amina M Azad gets you the dirt!


William Dalrymple, Namita Gokhale Co-Directors of Zee JLF'17 with Sanjoy K Roy
There’s a reason why December is my favorite month of the year. The air is nippy, Delhi is draped in a muslin fog, and the evenings are simply divine. For book lovers and literature junkies it is especially exciting because the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival is just round the corner and December is a heartbeat away from the festivities to begin. As a hard core lover of the written word imagine my delight when my inbox brought me an invitation to the curtain raiser for the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2017. With head spinning in excitement I got ready to meet with some of the best literary minds in the country and co-directors of the Festival, authors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple. I landed up for the event at the majestic Taj Mahal Hotel and was quite aptly led to the Diwan-i-Aam which served as the host to literature royalty. 
Namita Gokhale, author of acclaimed books Paro: Dreams of Passion and Things We Leave Behind, is the co-director and the curator of Indian authors, poets, artists and performers for the event. In our little tete–a-tete she revealed that this year’s line-up of Indian literature especially in the regional languages is something to watch out for. 
From Volga in Telugu, S.L. Bhyrappa and Vivek Shanbhag in Kannada, Kaajal Oza Vaidya in Gujarati, C.P. Deval and Hari Ram Meena in Rajasthani, Kanak Dixit and Binod Chaudhary in Nepali, Dhrubajyoti Bora in Assamese, Gulzar and Javed Akhtar in Urdu, Jatindra K. Nayak in Oriya, Naseem Shafaie and Neerja Mattoo in Kashmiri, Arunava Sinha and Radha Chakravarty in Bengali and Arshia Sattar, A.N.D. Haksar, and Roberto Calasso in Sanskrit to writers in Hindi  that include Ajay Navaria, Anu Singh Choudhary, Manav Kaul, Mrinal Pande, Narendra Kohli and Yatindra Mish- this edition of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival is the most inclusive and multi lingual than ever before. Translation being one of the key focuses running through the event this year, Namita believes that this would open a whole new dimension to bridging gaps and understanding the perspective of the vernacular.
Celebrated writer William Dalrymple, affectionately referred to as Willy D, is as much a treat to read as he is to watch on stage. Animated, excited, and with an infectious energy he gave up the names of some of the legends of modern literature who will be present at the Festival this year. The jaw dropping list of speakers include winners of the Man Booker Prize Alan Hollinghurst and Richard FlanaganNoViolet Bulawayo who was the first black African woman to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013; Laurence Olivier award winner and two-time Academy Award nominee Sir David Hare, who makes his first visit to the Festival; internationally acclaimed poet Anne Waldman; bestselling author, poet, activist and teacher Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni; 2016 Emerging Voices Award winner Eka Kurniawan; Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who predicted the 2008 global financial crisis; writer, journalist and broadcaster Simon Winchester, OBE; the ‘literary institution of one’, Italian writer and published Roberto Calasso; Neil MacGregor, past director of the National Gallery London and the British Museum and author of A History of the World in 100 Objects; American Journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning Dexter Filkins; Alex Ross, the music critic for The New Yorker and the author of the books The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century and Listen to This; Ha-Joon Chang whose books, including 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism and Economics: The User’s Guide will have been translated into 40 languages and published in 43 countries; and Linda Colley, award-winning historian, academic, author and broadcaster who specialises in post-1700 British history and author of Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 and Acts of Union and Disunion
An Animated Announcement!
William believes it is the fact that the curators bring in voices that may not necessarily be famous but are intriguing. Giving a platform to those who haven’t gone round and round in circles and burned their literary fires at many a festival, are most sought after. Diversity, different points of view, and more importantly minds that ignite ideas are what he looks for when sending out his invitations.
Slice of Good Luck?
Apart from the dazzling array of literature geniuses at our disposal he announced that the Festival also partners with the British Library which brings a facsimile of the Magna Carta to the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival as part of a programme highlighting Magna Carta: The Spirit of Justice that looks at the legacy of the important famous treaty. Another partnership with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) brings in a discussion on Citizens and Borders: Migration and Displacement based on a series of discrete projects across The Museum of Modern Art in New York, related to works in the collection offering a critical perspective on histories of migration and displacement. 
Sanjoy K. Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, Producers of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival came on stage to remark what an extraordinary journey this has been for the team over the last ten years and how the festival has grown from strength to strength. What started out as a home grown festival is now travelling to different countries and this year The Australian High Commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu used the platform of the Delhi Curtain Raiser to announce JLF Melbourne, a pop up edition of the Festival in February.
Charting a Decade-  JLF's Journey 
The evening began on a charming note and ended on a feverish pitch with the eclectic Bhakti: Resilience, Resistance and Resonance that was a series of stunning musical performances with powerful dramatic readings and translated renditions was performed by Arundhati Subramanian, Harpreet Singh, H.S. Shivprakash and Parvathy Baul. 
Harpreet's Dazzling notes!
After the show the party really picked up and I, along with my glass of Shiraz, mingled with Delhi’s glitterati, political figures, and socialites over cocktails at the gorgeous Taj Mahal Hotel making plans for attending the greatest free literary show on Earth! 
Namita Gokhale and moi! 
My bags are packed, see you at Diggi Palace 19-23rd January 2017!