Jaipur Literature Festival 2022 celebrated its return to a traditional form with a lively first day at its new home at Clarks Amer in the Pink City. Eminent speakers such as retired Indian diplomats Navtej Sarna and Navdeep Singh Suri, academics such as Professor Harish Trivedi and resident UN coordinator, India, Shombi Sharp the were a big part of the first-day line-up.
In the opening address, author, historian and festival co-director William Dalrymple said that this year’s line-up comprised literary superstars from across the world, including four Nobel Prize winners.
"In fiction, we have this year’s Nobel Prize winner, Abdul Razak Gurnah, and Booker winner, Damon Galgut, as well as his predecessors Monica Ali and DBC Pierre. We have America’s most acclaimed novelist, Jonathan Franzen, Irish genius Colm Toibin and Turkish superstar Elif Shafak. It's going to be cerebral heaven: an utterly magnificent feast of mind-sustaining inspiration and we look forward to welcoming you back to Jaipur," he added.
"It feels surreal to be back," Pragya Tiwari, writer senior journalist and co-director of media consultancy Oijo told Connected to India. "I've been speaking at JLF for over seven years now; it's something I took for granted. It was always where my January was going to go. It feels like a victory and a coming of spring."
Pragya was one of the panelists in a session exploring violence against women during the pandemic lockdown. The first day highlighted the diverse and varied nature of the event with a host of sessions ranging from a discussion on the pandemic and end times to a feature on the history of Vikings on the Silk Road.
Navtej Sarna and Navdeep Suri recalled the tragic tales of the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre in 1919 and Partition in 1947 through translations of the writings of their father and grandfather, respectively, in a session titled 'Heritage of Words'.
"I don't think these tragic events are known on a global scale to the extent that they should be. That's why some of our writing on Partition and Jallianwalla Bagh needs to go out into the wider world. I'm putting out a new novel this summer, 'Crimson Spring', which covers Jallianwalla Bagh in great detail. The world needs to know the sacrifices that have happened in our recent history," Sarna told Connected to India.
During the virtual festival, British writer Monica Ali discussed her comeback novel 'Love Marriage' - a story about two very different families thrown together by a whirlwind engagement. It is a social comedy but also a gripping tale of the social and cultural strains of love and the institution of marriage. In conversation with writer and journalist Bee Rowlatt, Ali discussed “who we are and how we love in today’s Britain”.
The festival will run on-ground from March 10-14, 2022 and will continue to be virtually streamed as well.