Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF)— Toronto will showcase the rich flavours of Indian literature via the authors

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Imagine being invited to a buffet on a cheat-day

That’s precisely how I felt when the good folks at C2C Communications reached out inquiring if Toronto Desi Diaries wanted to chat with any of the renowned authors scheduled to speak at the Jaipur Literary Festival —Toronto (JLF) ?

The event running Friday, Sept. 27-29 at Toronto’s historic Distillery District has dozens of author sessions with literary giants such as Amitava Kumar (Immigrant Montana: A Novel), Anosh Irani (The Bombay Plays: The Matka King & Bombay Black), MG Vassanji (The Gunny Sack), Vikas Swarup (Q&A which became the mega-successful Slumdog Millionaire), etc.

I confess I was l salivating at the prospect of interviewing some of the literary superstars whose pens have inspired millions of people around the world, including myself.

So, what’s JLF?

Here’s a rather apt definition of the festival on its website. “JLF Toronto recreates the magnificent spirit of Jaipur’s annual literary carnival bringing its inclusive and infectious camaraderie to the vibrant capital of Ontario with a heady mix of writers, thinkers, poets, balladeers, and raconteurs.”

In this blog, festival producer and managing director of Teamwork Arts Sanjoy Roy shares some interesting perspectives.

Here’s more from Sanjoy. Enjoy.

Jaipur Literary Festival —Toronto (JLF) producer Sanjoy Roy seen addressing the crowd at the festival’s launch. JLF – Toronto will run Friday, Sept. 27 – 29 at Toronto’s historic Distillery District. Photo by Tom Sandler.

TDD. What can Toronto audiences expect from JLF?

SR: JLF will bring to Toronto a flavour of what we do in many parts of the world. A diverse program reflective of our philosophy to address local writers and their issues of identity, belonging, migration, travel, food, philosophy, science, fiction, and poetry.

TDD. What went into the planning of JLF – Toronto? Will the audience get a glimpse of India via its literature, history, and the lineup of authors?

SR: JLF brings India to the world and takes the world to India. In the international editions, JLF explores each others’ stories and creates platforms for excellence and the written word.

TDD. Hosting art festivals in a world ravaged by divisiveness, political and religious strife and what-not, seems like a brilliant idea, how have you been able to make this festival economically viable? Relevant?

SR: Politics is a reality of all times, divisiveness too. What sets our times apart is the new narrative of hatred which has become the dominant voice. Art and literature are one of many ways to bridge the divide and bring to pass the fear of the other.

Festivals take time to break even and create traditional wealth. What they do is create intangible wealth and contribute enormously to local economies.

TDD. Who are your favourite writers? Anything you read recently that made putting the book down difficult?

SR: I tend to read 5 – 6 books at a time. I am presently reading William Dalrymple’s Anarchy, Namita Gokhale’s Things to leave behind, Sandeep Unnithan’s Operation X on the Bangladesh war, Anoush Irani’s The parcel and Sharad Paul’s book on genetics.

TDD. Can you share an anecdote or two from the previous JLFs? something that you look back on and chuckle or something that was profoundly deep?

SR: There are numerous stories – from lost passports and mislaid documents, to trees falling, protestors vowing to destroy us, controversies that are as old as history, incredible sessions where you learn and celebrate knowledge and so much more

TDD. One or two pieces of advice to aspiring writers…

SR: Write not necessarily to entertain but because you have the volition to write. Bury your ego and listen to your inner voice.

Post Script: The JLF has several free outdoor street festival and marketplace. For the full schedule, tickets, etc. visit here.

The Jaipur Literary Festival will make its debut in Toronto Friday, Sept. 27-29 at the Distillery District.

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