Jaipur Literature Festival debuts in UK
One of the world’s largest free literary festivals, will travel to London this May to host its first-ever event outside of India.
The Jaipur Literature Festival has partnered with the world renowned Southbank Centre in London to curate a day of literary book-treats and ideas as part of Alchemy, the Southbank Centre’s festival of South Asian culture.
The vibrant energies of the Jaipur Literature Festival, which started in 2006 with only 18 authors, now attracts almost 250,000 visitors annually in India.
Bringing a creative group of writers and thinkers, poets and balladeers on Sunday 18th May, it will be showcasing South Asia’s unique multilingual literary heritage, and juxtaposing oral and performative arts, books and ideas, dialogue and debate, Bollywood and politics.
Alchemy, which runs from 15th – 26th May, celebrates the arts and cultural context of the countries of the Indian subcontinent and their relationship with the UK.
With a range of both ticketed and free events − from concerts by music stars to a food market in Southbank Centre Square, free fashion shows in the foyers to DJs spinning their discs alongside the River Thames − the site will come alive with the energy and vividness of work from and inspired by South Asia.
Jude Kelly, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, said: “For the fifth anniversary year of Alchemy, we are hosting the Jaipur Literature Festival as it visits the UK for the first time.
“The Jaipur Literature Festival is one of the largest, greatest and most innovative literature festivals in the world and to welcome it to the Southbank Centre as part of Alchemy is a real privilege. Adding this element to our festival this year makes it our most ambitious, exciting and collaborative Alchemy programme to date.”
Namita Gokhale, author and co-Director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said: “Within India, Jaipur Literature Festival, has grown to become a cultural catalyst, a colourful carnival of books, ideas and music – we are excited to be bringing this energy and some of our region’s finest writers to London audiences this May.”
William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said: “The Jaipur Literature Festival has grown from 14 surprised tourists to a quarter of a million people in just eight years and it’s now the biggest free festival of literature in the world.
“We can’t wait to show London a little taster of the energy, colour and literary brilliance, which has brought this about. At the Southbank Centre, some of our greatest contemporary writers and thinkers will bridge cultural, geographical and historical divides, taking our audiences on a journey right across the globe.”
18TH MAY - WHAT’S ON
The Great Indian Metropolis
Conversations across cityscapes by writers who have chronicled the inner life of the metropolis, infusing it with life and character
Myth and Memory
Mythology in India is never static, but a living tradition that is recreated and reinterpreted everyday. A panel looks at mythic characters and archetypes as they exist in Indian society today as also in legacy of Hellenic cultures, mapping the journeys of myth and memory.
Bollywood via London
London exists not only as a geographical entity but as a state of mind in the collective imagination of Indian celluloid. Film scholar Rachel Dwyer takes us through a medley of cinematic encounters with Londonistan, complete with song, dance and drama.
Sunset on Empire
For nearly 200 years a small group of British officials administered vast areas of South Asia. In 1900 just over a thousand civil servants ruled a population of nearly 300 million people spread over a territory now covered by India, Pakistan, Burma and Bangladesh. It was, as Stalin said with a mixture of envy and annoyance, a 'ridiculous' situation. In its time, the Raj, as administered by the Indian Civil Service, was regarded as efficient and incorruptible. Yet recent revisionist historians have questioned its competence and derided its altruism.
Who Will Rule the World
Most authorities agree that the 21st century belongs to India and China, but beyond that consensus breaks down. Can India ever catch up with China? Will China fall apart due to its own unresolved contradictons? And what about Europe and Latin America?
In addition to the day of talks in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, there will be free activities and workshops for families and children on the Clore Ballroom.