Sunday, January 29, 2012

Literature Festivals in Jaipur, Galle; Award for Shehan Karunatilaka’s Chinaman

Jumbo Editorial Team

The month of January 2012 witnessed a couple of well-attended literature festivals, both of them being premier annual events. There was the 6th Galle Literature Festival in Sri Lanka from January 18 to 22 while the 5th Jaipur Literature Festival was organized in India from January 20 to 24.

The Galle Literature Festival attracted a host of international speakers with the famed author Richard Dawkins also gracing the occasion. Historian Simon Sebag Montefiore was there to enthrall the audience by speaking on his book Jerusalem: The Biography besides throwing light on the myths, mosques, churches, temples and the mixed-up glorious past of the historic city.

Biographers Nayantara Sahgal and Katherine Frank shared their thoughts on the political career of former Indian Minister, Indira Gandhi, while introducing their book Indira Gandhi: Her Road to Power. The popular figure of Shashi Taroor, an author and a former Minister, also remained one of the most sought after personalities in the five-day festival.

The Jaipur Literature Festival is acclaimed as the largest literary festival in Asia-Pacific and the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature to be held in India. It encompasses a range of readings, talks, debates, performances, children’s workshops and interactive activities organized in the beautiful heritage property, Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital of Jaipur.

It is also regarded as the Kumbh Mela of Indian and international writing, drawing in writers and readers from across India and the wider world, from America, Europe, Africa and from across the breadth of South Asia, the brightest, most brilliant, funny, moving and remarkable authors come to Jaipur every January.

One of the features of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012 was the presentation of DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 to Sri Lanka’s debut novelist Shehan Karunatilaka whose worthy effort ‘ Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew’ earned her the prestigious award. A beaming Karunatilaka received the glittering trophy from Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, Queen Mother of Bhutan.

The jury chairperson, Ira Pande, described Chinaman as a brilliant narration of that is both great and sad about South Asia and in that sense it brings a world to the reader that needs to be seen outside the region. It may be recalled that the inaugural DSC prize was clinched Pakistan’s author, H M Naqvi, for his debut novel, Horne Boy.

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