It’s Gonna Be LIT at the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2020

LF picks the best of Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2020

Suman Mahfuz Quazi

Considered heaven on earth for bibliophiles, the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, now it’s in 13th year, has become a converging point for approximately 250 book lovers, authors and artistes from India and abroad. Each year, the five-day festival kicks off with a smorgasbord of events, where music, art and food come together to offer a wholesome experience set to the backdrop of the soothing climes of Jaipur in winter. 

Hosted at Diggi Palace, this year too, the Zee Jaipur Lit Festival has a ton of things in store. Be it morning music sessions, a lively bazaar or engaging discussions and talks helmed by well-known faces from the world of literature, cinema, fashion and food. “As usual, everyone who turns up at Diggi Palace will inevitably complain about the difficult choices to be made between the stellar sessions—from the one on writer Vijaydan Detha and Timeless Tales from Marwar to Sanskrit as a living language; from Beethoven variations to mark the 250th anniversary of his birth to Sonali Bendre’s book club; from American writer and columnist Anand Giridhardas’ take on elites and plutocrats to Shobhaa De on urban life and author Makarand Sathe on Marathi theatre,” said festival director Namita Gokhale said. At the festival, she will be discussing her new book, a work of fiction called Jaipur Journals set against the backdrop of the Jaipur Lit Fest.

She added, “We are honoured to welcome Madhur Jaffrey back to India to tell us about her incredible life.” Jaffrey’s talk is part of a dedicated segment on tales about food and the memories food inspires in each of us. Apart from Jaffrey acclaimed author and chef Asma Khan will also be regaling audiences with her tales. Khan shared, “I feel very honoured to be invited to such a brilliant platform. I always wanted to attend Zee Jaipur Lit Festival, but never managed to despite the proximity to Jaipur from my parents’ home in Aligarh. I am hoping to attend as many sessions as possible. It is such a great opportunity to hear so many voices and meet well known authors, like Madhur Jaffrey, who by the way, is my food heroine because she introduced UK to Indian food and demystified it.”

Eat pray listen 

Bestselling 2006 novel (and eponymous 2010 movie) Eat Pray Love’s author Elizabeth Gilbert will be in the Pink City for a one-on-one chat with founding director of Virago Press and the former editor-in-chief of Bloomsbury Publishing, Alexandra Pringle. Titled from Eat, Pray, Love to City of Girls, the discussion will entail award-winning author, Gilbert speaking about her journey as a writer with Pringle, who also happens to be a long-time friend. 

Where: NEXA Front Lawn
When: January 23 | 11:15 am to 12:15 pm

The clubbing experience

Last year, Sonali Bendre created a stir when she launched her book club, Sonali’s Book Club, a space to interact with book lovers from across the world. At the Jaipur Lit Fest, Bendre will speak to Penguin Random House’s editorial director, Meru Gokhale recounting her tryst with books and what reading means to her. Bendre, who is also the author of The Modern Gurukul: My Experiments with Parenting. 

Where: NEXA Front Lawn 

When: January 23 | 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm


The story of food

Catch British-Indian chef Asma Khan live in conversation with scholar Krishnendu Ray in a discussion titled, Darjeeling Express: Food and Friendship moderated by author Shunali Khullar Shroff. In it, Khan, who shot to fame after featuring in a Netflix original docu-series, Chef’s Table, will discuss how she rediscovered herself in a foreign land through home-style regional Indian food served in a London restaurant run by an all-women’s kitchen and her book, Asma’s Indian Kitchen. Ray, on the other hand, will speak about The Ethnic Restaurateur, his book, which examines immigrant aspirations in the restaurant world. 

Where: Bank of Baroda Baithak

When: January 23 | 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm 

Sur, taal and sargam

Veteran vocalist Shubha Mudgal is well-known for her musical chops, but the classical singer is also an author. On the second day of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival, in a conversation titled, Shubha Mudgal: Looking for Miss Sargam, the popular artiste will be speaking to editor Sudha Sadanand about her tongue-in-cheek book, Looking for Miss Sargam, which is set in the world of Indian classical music. Mudgal will also be reading excerpts from this collection of short stories. 

Where: NEXA Front Lawn 
When: January 24| 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Make no bones 

Supermodel, actor, mother of twins through surrogacy and a cancer-survivor, Lisa Ray has been an inspiration to many. Catch her in a conversation with Zee Jaipur Literature Festival producer, Sanjoy K Roy, where she will discussing her memoir, Close to the Bone, a book that has been touted as powerful and moving. 

Where: NEXA Front Lawn
When: January 24 | 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm 

The theatre of food

An award-winning actor, author, winner of James Beard Awards, recipient of an honorary CBE and Indian food legend, Madhur Jaffrey will helm a talk titled Climbing the Mango Trees: Food and Memories, where she will be discussing her dynamic life and tryst with food with noted Indian writer Chandrahas Choudhury. Foodies can expect to have an enthralling time at this one. 

Where: Charbagh 
When: January 25 | 11:15 am to 12:15 pm 

The anatomy of Anarchy 

Zee Jaipur Literature Festival’s director and author William Dalrymple will discuss his latest book, The Anarchy, a treatise that delves into the story of the disintegration of the Mughal Empire at the hands of an unregulated East India Company, which grew to become a colonial power. The session will be introduced by senior journalist Manu S Pillai and will shed light on the dangers of a corporate global power. 

Where: Charbagh
When: January 25 | 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Economics for dummies

Abhijit V. Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences 2019 for ‘their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty’ by breaking down a complex problem into ‘smaller, more manageable questions’. Watch the three Nobel laureates discuss the need to alleviate poverty in what promises to be an inspiring chat titled, Poor Economics: Fighting Global Poverty along with journalist, Sreenivasan Jain. 

Where: NEXA Front Lawn
When: January 26 | 12:30 pm to 1.30 pm 


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