Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Big names, high thrill at Jaipur Literature Fest 2014- crime writing in focus



Jaipur Jan 2014

The pink city of Jaipur is rolling out the red carpet to nearly 300 reputed writers for its annual literature blitz - The Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 - at a the heritage retreat of the Diggi Palace in the heart of the Jaipur town Jan 71 -21 The festival like its previous years is expecting to draw more  than 300,000 visitors over five days to participate in literary discourses involving a glittering roster of Nobel Prize winning, Pulitizer prize winning and Man Booker prize winning writers and thinkers.  A snapshot shows that visitors can look forward to sessions such as "Story of a Death Foretold" with Oscar Guardiola-Riviera,"Serendip" with Sri Lankan diaspora writers, "Mahasamar" with Narendra Kohli and Vartika Nanda and an insightful session on feminism titled "The Essential Gloria Steinem" featuring the gender activist.             Fresh from the outcome of the Delhi Assembly elections, the literature festival will host a session on "Why India Votes" with Manvendra Singh and Mukulika Banerjee while young writers Indrajit Hazara, Shovon Chowdhury and Bachi Karkaria will speak  on the "The Language of Laughter". Visitors can also attend the Launch of the Crime Writer’s Association of South Asia.

 An exciting addition to the illustrious roster of participants is the “Great American Novelist” Jonathan Franzen (as titled by TIME magazine), who will soeak about works. The critically acclaimed novelist and essayist has received amongst numerous other accolades, the National Book Award and was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is known for his candour on a variety of topics, particularly outcomes of the digital age such as Twitter and e-books, and political occurrences in Europe and America. Franzen writes for popular magazine The New York. The literary segment includes two Nobel Prize winners, Amartya Sen and Harold Varmus, as well as Man Booker, Pulitzer, Crossword, Samuel Johnson, Commonwealth, Hawthornden, Orange, Neustadt, Sahitya Akademi, Padmashree, Costa and DSC Prize longlisted, shortlisted and winning authors. Four of this year’s Man Booker Prize winning authors at the festival  includeJhumpa Lahiri, Tash Aw, Alison Macleod and Jim Crace,   along with six shortlisted authors for the 2014 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature,the winner of which will be announced at the Festival on 18 Jaipur.

Crime and Punishment 

One of the highlights of the festival is a special segment on crime writing - that will coincide with the informal launch a crime writers' axis in India.
The Harvard University-based Mahindra Humanities Center, which has partnered with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival as venue sponsor for the Durbar Hall, will be bringing some of the leading global academics and crime writers together at the festival.
The Mahindra Humanities Center is a crossroad for interdisciplinary discussions among Harvard faculty and encourages a wider public discourse about the humanities in contemporary life. It will bring to the event including leading Harvard academic Prof. Homi K. Bhabha, Director of the Center.
During the Festival, the Mahindra Humanities Center will host a series of sessions on Crime and Punishment, beginning with The Bangla Whodunnit, a celebration of Bangla crime writing featuring Gautam Chakrabarti in conversation with Rupleena Bose introduced by Homi K. Bhabha.
Other Crime and Punishment sessions includeHow Not To Make Money: The Price you Pay featuring two debut crime novelists, Raj Kundra and Somnath Batabyal, who will look at the art of crime writing with writer Kishwar Desai.
Kishwar Desai will be in conversation with one of Norway’s leading detective fiction writers,Jørn Lier Horst, a former senior Investigating officer, whose debut novel, "Key Witness", is based on a true murder.
Also taking place at the Festival will be the launch of the Crime Writers’ Association, featuring Kishwar Desai, Jørn Lier Horst andSamantha Weinburg. The trio will join other crime writers to celebrate the beginning of a collaborative body for crime and detective fiction writers.
In a powerful session titled "Prisons of the Mind", four writers, Rani Shankar Dass, Preeta Bhargava, Vartika Nanda, Margaret Mascarenhas, will discuss the therapeutic role of creativity within the flawed Indian penal system and the nature of retributive justice with special reference to women prisoners.
Finally, providing inspiration for the series,Homi K. Bhabha will discuss Dostoevsky’s classic text, Crime and Punishment, and the nature of accountability, culpability and morality, with a dramatic rendering/enactment byMahesh Dattani.
-Madhusree Chatterjee 

Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at

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