'More Booker, Pulitzer winners to attend 2020 Lit Fest'
The countdown for the much-awaited annual Jaipur Literature Festival has begun, with a curtain-raiser event held here providing a snapshot of the proceedings set to regale literary lovers during the five-day event starting next month.
Touted as the "greatest literary show on Earth", the 13th edition of the festival, commencing from January 23, will have a special focus on climate crisis and host about 250 Indian and international writers at the iconic Diggi Palace in Jaipur.
Festival producer Sanjoy Roy said the literary carnival continued to build upon its core values of engaging young people and creating a democratic platform that offered a free-and-fair access to everyone.
"About 250 speakers will attend the festival, of whom 114 are award-winning authors. Climate emergency is going to be one of the main themes of the festival, besides artificial intelligence, history and economy, which is the need of the hour, and the reason we will have Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee attending the event," Roy told PTI on the sidelines of the event on Monday.
This year's stellar line-up includes 2010 Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson, Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Stephen Greenblatt, Dexter Filkins and Paul Muldoon, and noted American writer Elizabeth Gilbert.
Among the Indian writers, Javed Akhtar, Shashi Tharoor and Magsaysay Award-winning journalist Ravish Kumar will attend the showpiece event.
Historian and co-director of the festival William Dalrymple said the upcoming event will be an "extraordinary feast" for the lovers of literature.
"In this age, when more and more of our life is spent online or looking at screens, the premium for live literature or seeing authors in the flesh has never been greater and we have seen that in the extraordinary attendance figures that we have each year in Jaipur," he said.
"We have more Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners this year than ever before and our central theme is climate change, the biggest issue facing our planet today," Dalrymple added.
Speaking on the occasion, author and festival co-director Namita Gokhale said this year, the event will have a special focus on women writers from the northeast and poetry from across the world.
"Our vision for Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 is one of inclusiveness, bringing together literary excellence and interdisciplinary conversations from around the planet.
"We are plural, diverse and multi-lingual, representing over 35 languages including 14 from India. We are each other's stories and Jaipur, in January, will once again share the joy of narratives, of music and poetry, dialogue and debate," she said.
Every year, the festival brings together a diverse mix of the world's greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sportspersons and entertainers on one stage, who engage in thoughtful debates and dialogue.