Unique blend of literature, art at Jaipur literary fest (Lead)

January 20th, 2009 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Jan 20 (IANS) The Jaipur Literature Festival, whose third edition will begin here Wednesday, will host 116 authors and 30 artistes, including Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, in a unique blend of performing arts and literature. The festival will celebrate the great diversity of writing and writers as well as music and musicians from the US, Britain, Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Mali, Sierre Leone, Algeria, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, said a communiqué issue Monday by the Jaipur Virasat Foundation, which is organising the event.

India will be represented by writers from West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Punjab and Rajasthan. The Indian diaspora will also occupy a pride of place.

The festival, said the release, will focus on the great classical literatures of India, the legacy of Sanskrit, issues of equity in translation, the need to understand issues of dominance and bias, and to mediate sometimes angry divides across languages.

The festival, for the first time, has provided 50 bursaries to help students come to Jaipur to savour the flavour and richness of world literature.

The festival, according to the release, has a number of special themes this year. The focus will be on Rajasthan.

The festival will centre on the spoken word and on oral traditions from different parts of the world, especially the great Rajasthani tradition of the “Papuji ki Phad” - which will be performed by one of the most renowned practitioners of the art, Mohan Bhopa.

The highlight will be a question and answer session with writer Vikas Swarup, whose novel “Q&A” inspired the film “Slumdog Millionaire”, which bagged four Golden Globes this year.

Mumbai-based art auction house Osian’s will formally present the Big B’s biography called “Bachchanalia: The Films and Memorabilia of Amitabh Bachchan”, in the presence of the superstar.

The festival will also fete eminent travel writers like Colin Thubron, Pico Iyer, Charles Nichol and Michael Wood as well as the new star of the genre Alice Albinia, author of “Empires of The Indus”.

Kannada literary heavyweight U.R. Ananthamurthy will deliver the keynote address while Kolkata-based Sunil Gangopadhyay shall discuss his works with Aruna Chakraverty.

The festival will also be graced by distinguished Hindi writers like Alka Saraogi and Geetanjali Shree as well as new Bhasha (vernacular) voices such as Viky Arya and Arupa Patangia Kalita from Assam.

First-timers to the festival include Thomas Keneally, Simon Schama, Coleman Barks, Vikram Seth, Tina Brown and Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Diaspora author Hari Kunzru, who attended the carnival in 2006, will return to the festival this year.

This year’s programme of the Jaipur Literature Festival, whose main sponsor is the infrastructure development company DSC, has been put together by Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple.

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