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Amrita Tripathi
Friday , January 21, 2011 at 18 : 54

Where the world is a stage...


It's impossible to sum up the Jaipur Literature Festival in a few words -- it's stunning, sun-drenched, sublime and chaotic all at once.

You could name-drop here till the cows came home -- or horses rather, given the stables at Diggi Palace that have been cleared this time to make more space. In its sixth year, they're expecting some 50,000 visitors, which is definitely going to be a bit of a squeeze.

But who could blame anyone for wanting to shove their way in? Look at the line-up. From Nobel Prize winners to Booker Prize winners to Pulitzer Prize winners -- Orhan Pamuk, Kiran Desai, Junot Diaz to JM Coetzee -- and Martin Amis (who hasn't ever won the Booker, apparently, but clearly no less a literary giant for all that).

We'll also see the first DSC prize for South Asian winner (the biggest on the sub-continent at least, with a $50,000 award) announced tomorrow.

But it's not about prizes or awards or stuffy sessions. It's hard to explain to people who aren't here just how lively and entertaining these writers are. And how accessible. Today, Pamuk was really quite funny in his session (moderated by Chandrahas Choudhury) and Junot Diaz is hilarious too! I had to miss his session, (Disclaimer alert! I'm taking part in the Festival as well, this time round) because I was on a panel talking about writing the "Debut Novel" at the same time.

Things are often hectic and you'd be forgiven for tearing your hair out at trying to pick one session over another. At the same time as Junot Diaz, and our Debut Novel session, Revathi was talking to Urvashi Butalia, and Sheldon Pollock and Ali Sethi were in the Bulle Shah session (which a friend went for, and found absolutely entertaining!)

Gulzar was mobbed, it looked like, or he's travelling with a rock-star entourage -- Javed Akhtar, I'm told was delightful... there really is something for everyone.

I have to say, given some of the recent controversy about Indian writers not getting enough play, it's simply not true! We'll be getting you some coverage on the "bhasha" writers on CNN-IBN. Tell us what you think. (I mean, where else in the world would we have gotten to see Kancha Ilaiah and Roddy Doyle on the same panel as we did right here,last year?!)

Ah Diggi Palace, home to one of the loveliest spectacles. There are gaggles of school kids who make their presence felt every year, and isn't that something -- there's no age limit on good taste, eh?

That's it for the moment, but if you're here, or want to be, write to us on ibnlive.com with your comments.


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More about Amrita Tripathi

Amrita Tripathi is a news anchor with CNN-IBN, and also doubles up as Health and Books Editor. An MA in Philosophy from St Stephen's College, Delhi University, she has also taught a few undergraduate classes at her alma mater, informally! When she is not tracking health issues, Amrita is busy chasing the literary dream. Her debut novel Broken News was published in 2010. Before joining CNN-IBN, Amrita worked with The Indian Express.



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