Skeptics, aging authors, closeted writers, wanderers, restless readers, faux intellectuals, columnists whose last book didn’t sell, the shiny star winners of the book awards who float above the rest: you are bound to meet every kind of person at what historian Simon Schama called the ‘most fabulous literary love-fest on the planet’, The Zee Jaipur Literature Festival. The compliment doesn’t come with strings unattached, and one of those is the sheer crowd. Go through our cheat sheet to help power through. May the force be with you.
JLF is taking place from Thursday-Monday, January 24-28 this year. The venue is Diggi Palace in the popular C-Scheme in Jaipur. Getting there would take 25 minutes from the Jaipur International Airport, and 15 minutes from the train station. There are five venues within Diggi Palace—The Front Lawn, Charbagh, Mughal Tent, Baithak, Durbar Hall and Samvad.
Online registration for general passes are no longer available, however, you can reach the venue during the festival and get passes on a first-come-first-serve basis. Those looking for a more VIP experience can get delegate passes online here.
The Early Bird…
…Catches the best seats at the session, at least at this festival. Most of the popular sessions get filled up much in advance, and if you’re late to the party, you may have to stand through the session, or worse, stand at the back. As sessions run back to back, it’s advisable to even sit through a whole other session in a venue in order to secure a seat for the next one.
The Who’s Who
As authors are (fairly) reclusive celebrities known more by their work than their face, attending JLF can be a convoluted game of ‘Guess Who’. Prepare yourself by going through the speaker list here or brace yourself for the eventuality of missing your favourite author as she passes you by.
In any case, here are a few sessions we think you should look out for: Woman In The Window with AJ Finn, all the sessions with Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less (and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2018), sessions with Alexander McCall Smith, Shabana Azmi, Andre Aciman of Call Me By Your Name, the session on ‘Out of Africa: Readings’ and the book launch of The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, among others.
Take a look at the schedule here.
Tips and Tricks
Here are a few JLF tricks collected from veteran attendees, in no order of preference:
- Carry a copy of your own books if you want to get them signed by the authors, or buy them in advance at the festival
- As there’ll be plenty of publishers putting up stalls and book-related merchandise, carry a big bag to shove everything into
- Wear comfortable shoes that are made for walking (or standing in queues)
- Try and come in on Day 1 to do a recce of the venue
- Carry small bags of snacks to nibble on through the day, although there will be food and drinks counters