An unprecedented number of award-winning writers are set to descend on Diggi Palace this Friday as the annual Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) begins.
The festival, which will conclude on January 21, will play host to not one but two Nobel Prize winners - Amartya Sen (1998 Nobel Laureate in Economics) and Dr Harold Varmus (1989 Nobel Laureate in Medicine), as well as four listed writers from this year’s Man Booker Prize – Jhumpa Lahiri, Tash Aw, Jim Crace and Alison MacLeod.
Other Man Booker Prize listed authors include Philip Hensher, AN Wilson and Justin Cartwright.
The Pulitzer Prize is well represented by Jonathan Franzen who was a finalist for The Corrections in 2002, Jhumpa Lahiri who won the Pulitzer for Interpreter of Maladies in 2000, as well as Mark Marzetti, a Pulitzer winning journalist who will discuss the work of the CIA. In addition to this, Franzen is also the recipient of the National Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the UK’s oldest literary prize.
The festival will welcome two winners of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Rana Dasgupta and Vikram Chandra as well as Nayomi Munaweera, Tash Aw, Philip Hensher and Jhumpa Lahiri who have all been listed for the prize.
Four winners of the Crossword Prize - William Dalrymple, Anand (CP Sachidanandan), Vikram Chandra and Jerry Pinto - will join the event, along with four shortlisted writers. Besides, 12 winners of the Sahitya Akademi Prize will be present at the festival reading from their work.
Non-fiction is also well represented by British historian Antony Beevor, who won three of the UK’s top prizes (Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Wolfson History Prize and Hawthornden Prize for Literature) for his best-selling book Stalingrad. In addition to this, festival co-director William Dalrymple has been long-listed four times and once shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and also won the Wolfson, Britain’s top history prize.
The festival will also play host to the winner announcement of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014. The six shortlisted writers for the prize are - Anand (Book of Destruction; Penguin India), Benyamin (Goat Days; Penguin India), Cyrus Mistry (Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer; Aleph), Mohsin Hamid (How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia; Hamish Hamilton/Penguin India), Nadeem Aslam, (The Blind Man’s Garden; Random House, India) and Nayomi Munaweera (Island of a Thousand Mirrors; Perera Hussein Publishing).
The winner of the US$50,000 award, judged by a panel led by literary critic Antara Dev Sen, will be announced by Shashi Tharoor at an award ceremony at the festival at 6 pm on January 18(Saturday).