Jaipur Literature Festival 2022: What to look forward to

representative image for jaipur literature festival 2022 with a collage of images from past sessions
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After what seems like a lifetime, on-ground literature festivals are making a slow and cautious comeback. The Jaipir Literature Festival 2022, produced by Teamwork Arts, which was initially scheduled for January, was rescheduled amidst a third wave of the covid-19 pandemic, but it’s here now in a hybrid format and we could not be more excited. 

Every year, the Jaipur Literature Festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue. 

Purple Pencil Project and Editor Prakruti Maniar will be there on-ground on all days, hopping across sessions centered around India and South Asia, and talking to all the wonderful readers and writers that will congregate there. You can follow us on our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for live updates.

The lineup this year looks very promising, and as usual, spans across a breadth of literary and cultural interests, from poetry, non-fiction, music, fiction, craft of writing, and more. Here is a quick summary of the speakers and performers expected this year. For a more curated list of which sessions you should attend at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2022, follow us and keep an eye on our social communities.


Music sessions at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2022

Scheduled from 10th-12th March 2022, the Jaipur Music Stage will be held parallel to the 15th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival. The lineup of performers will feature a diverse group of artistes from all over the Indian subcontinent. Artists and groups include Anirudh Varma Collective, a contemporary Indian classical ensemble led by New Delhi-based pianist, composer and producer Anirudh Varma; Advaita, a leading Indian fusion band that has completed 14 years of musical journey with its 8 members; Mooralala Marwada, a Sufi folk singer hailing from Janana village of Kutch District in GujaratIndiaKutle Khan Project, a collective of Rajasthani folk musicians highlighting Kutle Khan, a multi-talented folk artiste who has performed on various stages across the world; Ali Saffudin, a singer-songwriter from Srinagar, Kashmir; and Ankur & The Ghalat Family, a Hindi rock project led by frontman and singer-songwriter Ankur Tewari, along with Gaurav GuptaSidd Coutto and Johan Pais

The audience can book their tickets by visiting the Festival website.

A single day pass costs INR 499, and a combined pass for all three days of the Festival is available for INR 1300. 

Sign up on the official website: https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/. If you are attending, come say hello. Till then, enjoy a few pictures from we attended the festival in 2019.

Poetry Sessions at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2022

Poetry is our oldest, truest form of literature, holding in its few words the power to move hearts, minds, and entire worlds. No litfest can be complete without it. JLF 2022 has chosen to go contemporary with its many sessions dedicated to rhyme and verse..

Writer, poet, translator and activist, Meena Kandasamy will take the audience on a journey navigating the dimensions of self, politics and gender. She has authored critically acclaimed works of poetry, prose and translation such as the Gypsy GoddessThis Poem Will Provoke YouWhen I Hit YouExquisite CadaversThe Orders were to Rape You and WomenDreaming. Kandasamy and Executive Editor, Penguin Random House India, Manasi Subramaniam, will speak of the weight of words, beliefs, ideologies and the space in-between. 

The epic poem, The Light of Asia, by Sir Edwin Arnold first took the world by storm in 1879. Sir Arnold’s rendering of the Bhagavad Gita was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s undisputed favourites. Author and Rajya Sabha member, Jairam Ramesh’s book, The Light of Asia: The Poem that Defined the Buddha, attempts to contextualise and comprehend this important narrative poem that has now become a milestone in Buddhist historiography. Weaving together literary, cultural, political and social history, the book not only helps us understand the Buddha but also explores the life of the multifaceted poet who himself was steeped in Sanskrit literature. In conversation with author and academic Malashri Lal, Ramesh will inspect the form and style of this iconic poem and its everlasting impact on world history. 

At another session concentrated on the political and poetic articulation of the right to belong, Kandasamy and poet Akhil Katyal will be in conversation with eminent journalist Mandira Nayar. They will discuss the voice, strength and cadence of diversity and difference. 

Award-winning poet, author, and critic Arundhathi Subramaniam has contributed greatly to contemporary spiritual writing and exploration. At a session titled ‘Women Who Wear Only Themselves: Yoga, Poetry and Culture’, she will be in conversation with the Managing Trustee of Yuva Ekta Foundation Puneeta Roy, to discuss the confluence of literature, culture and yoga, the ultimate practice and meeting-place for individual consciousness and the universe.  

The Festival will also present a ‘Poetry Hour’ – a series of multivocal poetry readings where different languages, rhythms and styles converge in a joyous celebration of imaginative possibility.

Separated in four sessions ‘Poetry Hour’ will feature eminent Rajasthani writer Chandra Prakash Deval; poet and editor Sudeep Sen; award-winning poet and writer Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih who writes in Khasi and English; Rajasthani and Hindi writer and translator Jitendra Kumar Soni; author of over 40 books Anita Agnihotri who writes in Bangla; well-known Rajasthani and Hindi writer Nand Bhardwaj; writer and translator Akhil Katyal; poet, critic, cultural theorist, independent curator and recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award Ranjit Hoskote; writer, poet, translator and activist Meena Kandasamy; publisher and editor of Rajasthan’s first bilingual monthly lifestyle magazine, Simply JaipurAnshu Harsh; poet and fiction writer Anukrti Upadhyay; writer and an influential voice in Odia Literature Paramita Satpathy; photographer and writer Devendra Bisaria; Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, editor and anthologist Kala Ramesh; multi-award-winning translator, writer, and literary historian Rakhshanda Jalil

On art and culture at large

One of the USPs of JLF, away from the pomp and hype, is that it has the scale to move beyond books to tell the stories. Several kinds of arts are able to co-exist in one spaces, which otherwise exist in industry silos. This year, though fewer, some interesting sessions have been lined up.

Performing arts legend Sohini Roychowdhury, an exponent of Bharatanatyam, and Sharon Lowen, a renowned dancer of Indian classical dance forms – Odissi, Manipuri, Mayurbhanj & Seraikella Chhau – will join Manjari Sinha, acclaimed music and dance critic, for a fascinating conversation on Sringara, exploring the evocative and evolutionary form. The session will examine the vast history and many interpretations of Sringara, an aesthetic peak, often considered the mother of all nine rasas in Indian dance.  

Theatre personality Dolly Thakore, which speak about her no-holds-barred recently released autobiography. Co-written with Arghya Lahiri, who carries twenty years of theatre experience, Regrets, None is humorous, witty and candid as it discusses the glitz and glamour of Dolly’s eventful life. Feminist, publisher and author Ritu Menon’s biography of the remarkable actor and dancer Zohra Sehgal, is uniquely structured in theatrical style. Menon puts into context how the creativity of dancer Uday Shankar and actor Prithviraj Kapoor impacted Sehgal. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Thakore, Menon and Lahiri will discuss the essence of theatre, its genius, its magic, and its pervading misogyny. Roy will also be in conversation with singer and musician Remo Fernandes at a session exploring his pursuit of his greatest loves: music, art, writing and his homeland, Goa.  

B.N. Goswamy, one of the most eminent art historians of our times, opens a window to a wide range of subjects: all on or around the arts, which have immense potential to form aesthetic sensibility. From Ananda Coomaraswamy to the Art of Calligraphy, The Meaning of Silence to Farid-ud-din Attar’s great Sufi parable of the Conference of the Birds, among others, Goswamy invites readers to enter into the field of the arts and savour its pleasures. In an engaging and comprehensive session with Jaipur Literature Festival Co-Director William Dalrymple, Goswamy will discuss his book Conversations which promises to be a truly accessible primer on art in India and South Asia. At another session titled Mughal Portraiture: Presence and Absence, independent art historian Ursula Weekes will be in conversation with author and art historian Yashaswini Chandra. Weekes’ upcoming book, Mughal Court Painting in India, follows more than a decade of her writing and teaching on Mughal art and culture. She will discuss her latest project on how portraits were important agents in projecting the religious, social and political identities of the members of the Mughal court. 

The Festival will feature a session that evokes the sensual lure of the human body as well as the essential ambiguities of its representation. Writer, commentator and vascular surgeon Ambarish Satwik introspects upon the distance between the naked and the nude in the anatomy of our race, even as modern imaging technologies render us asexual and transparent. Celebrated writer, curator, and historian Alka Pande has looked at the erotic through diverse perspectives in her work. Her recent book Pha(bu)llus studies the power of phallic symbolism as a key and recurring motif in religion, culture and art. In conversation, they will discuss art and the nature of the erotic, as well as the anti-nude, in the context of the sensuous, the mortal, the philosophical and the spiritual. 

Writer, screenwriter and activist Farrukh Dhondy boasts of as many scintillating life experiences as professional accolades. From bearing witness to pre-Independent India, the Partition and many a social movement to meeting a roster of eclectic and even murderous celebrities, Dhondy’s life is a cinematic rollercoaster. In conversation with film and theatre director Arghya Lahiri, Dhondy will discuss his life as a writer. 

Like every year, the winner of the annual Ojas Art Award will also be announced.  

Prakruti Maniar

Prakruti Maniar

Prakruti Maniar is editor and partner of Purple Pencil Project, and hustles as a writer, researcher and more. She is deeply invested in cultural heritage, especially stories, and is committed to saving the literary heritage of India. She has a Master of Arts in Digital Humanities from Loyola University Chicago.

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