Pakistan News & Features Services
The sixth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, spread over five days, attracted much bigger audience than the previous years.
According to the reports nearly 200,000 turned up this year at the Diggi Palace, the venue of the event, which was much higher than the attendance of 120,000 last year.
Noted Pakistani author Mohammad Hanif could not make it to the festival due to personal reasons but the other authors like Jamil Ahmad and M A Farooqui did make an appearance much to the delight of the organizers.
The Jaipur Literature Festival 2013, battling a 1.5 crore shortfall in the budget, was punctuated with 175 sessions in five days and it was addressed by over 275 speakers from different corners of the globe.
"We are proud of what we have achieved. This year we had almost 200,000 footfall in the five days. Also, we had amazing sessions with brilliant authors discussing a range of topics which held the audience in rapt attention," William Dalrymple, the festival’s co-director, remarked.
The keynote speaker Mahashweta Devi led the list of literary luminaries including Commonwealth Prize winner Aminatta Forna from Sierra Leone, Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson, two Orange Prize winners Linda Grant and Madeline Miller, Ahdaf Soueif, Tahar Ben Jalloun, Sebastian Faulks, Deborah Moggach, Zoe Heller, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Abraham Verghese.
The festival played host to subjects as diverse as the history of miniature painting and war reporting, detective fiction and the literature of 9/11.
It focused on new writing from Latin America and Iran, examined the economic prospects of India and looked at the mixed legacy of the British Empire, the decline of America and the rise of China.
Bollywood and cricket, the two major obsessions in the sub-continent, also played a role in adding value to the festival.
The arrival of the former Indian captain and a batting great, Rahul Dravid, alongwith the veteran Bollywood actress, Sharmila Tagore, during the launching ceremony of biography of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, drew loud cheers from the bookworms.
Javed Akhtar, Prasoon Joshi, Shabana Azmi and Jaideep Sahni among others were the notable personalities from the film industry who charmed the audience with their presence.