You’re in a Rajasthani Palace hanging with some of the best literary minds in the world, listening to Hari Kunzru, Jamaica Kincaid and Salman Rushdie.
No, you haven’t crashed some book lover’s fantasy – you’re at the Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF) – the most democratic and egalitarian literary mela in the world.
This is the place where authors mingle with crowds, where entrance is free and seating is on a first-come first-served basis. Where Julia Roberts and Nandita Das sit on the ground (and were asked to move because they were blocking an exit).
Here you’ll find throngs of people whose one common passion is the love of the written word.
Started in 2006, the JLF has become Asia’s largest literary festival, drawing international and national authors and luminaries to the beautiful city of Jaipur. This year the literary inclined will converge on the pink city January 20-25th.
Last year drew more than 30,000 attendees with 226 writers showing up, and flying coach to do so. The festival is funded by sponsorship not ticket sales, so no author is paid a fee to attend. They come because they want to be at what has become the best book party around.
It helps that the festival is in Jaipur – the land of camel-carts, Mughal-e-Azam and some of the best hotels in India. As Festival co-director William Dalrymple adds, “for many, half the attraction of the festival is the combination of the luxe, the shopping, the spas, the history, the bazaars and the colour, culture and chic of Jaipur, with the buzz and the IQ charge that the festival provides—it is an unbeatable combination.”
Being an avid book lover, Oprah will be making the trek to Jaipur this year.
Just think – you, Oprah, and Salman Rushdie in the same room. Kinda gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling.