JLF: Jaipur Literature Festival at the British Library

JLF London

For more information

  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • From £7 – £36 Scroll down to book

A weekend of words, books, music, food and camaraderie.

This event takes place in the British Library.


Tickets are still available to watch selected sessions online by purchasing a Online Weekend Pass - either to watch live or within 48 hours on catch up. Viewing links will be sent out shortly before the event.  A range of other sessions will be made available to watch on catch up in the days following the event, using the same link. 

The online version of this event will be live captioned.

We are delighted to announce the return of JLF, the London edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival as a packed programme of conversations unfolds in our three venues at the British Library.One of the world’s great literature events, JLF takes place in the ’pink city’ of Jaipur, Rajasthan, India every January, attracting thousands to engage with the world’s leading writers and speakers.

The Festival now has editions around the world all featuring the same mix of inspiring voices and ideas.

Speakers at JLF London 2023 include (Saturday) William Dalrymple, Shashi Tharoor, Vauhini Vara, Tom Holland, Tahmima Anam, Vishal Bhardwaj, Asma Khan (Sunday) Venki Ramakrishnan, Alice Oswald, Jonathan Freedland, Usha Uthup, Sathnam Sanghera, Alice Loxton, Marcus du Sautoy, Nikesh Shukla, Shashi Tharoor, William Dalrymple, Antony Beevor and many more.

Weekend and Day Passes are available to attend JLF in person allowing access to any session subject to capacity. Online passes are available to watch all Theatre sessions across the weekend live and on catch up.

Weekend In-person Pass £36 (£33 over 60, £28 BL Members, £18 Students, under 26 and other concessions)

Saturday In-person Pass £26 full price (£22 over 60, £20 BL Members, £13 Students/under 26)

Sunday In-person Pass £26 full price, £22 over 60, £20 BL Members, £13 Students/under 26 and other concessions

Online Weekend Pass £14 full price, £12 over 60, £10 BL Members, £5 Students/under 26 and other concessions


The curtain-raising opening session on the evening of Friday 9 June requires booking separately and will be available soon.

Supported by Kusuma Trust UK




Please note that the programme may be subject to changes. Please check back for latest updates.


18:00 – 19:15

Inaugural Address and opening session

Myth and Memory: Amish Tripathi and Shashi Tharoor in conversation

Separate booking required. Go to the event page to find out more.


10:00 registration opens

10:30 - 11:00 Piazza Pavilion
Morning Music:
Soumik Datta and Gurdain Singh Rayat

11.00 – 12.00 Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre
Family Storytelling: Puzzling Tales

Join one of our two sessions with storyteller Peter Chand on a colourful adventure, full of conundrums, mind-benders and puzzling tales from around the world. Expect a fun and vibrant time for all the family. Peter comes from a Punjabi background, storytelling and leading workshops all across Britain and as far afield as France, Greece, Singapore, U.S.A. and Lithuania.
Suitable for ages 5+

11:15 - 12:15 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
Agatha Christie : Murder She Wrote
Vishal Bhardwaj, Jan Carson, Victoria Dowd in conversation with Vaseem Khan

Agatha Christie, The Queen of Crime, is the most read writer since Shakespeare. She published 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections which have sold over a billion books in English and over a billion in translation. Her intuition, empathy and intellect have endeared her to a global readership across cultures, continents and generations.
A diverse panel discusses her life and legacy. Award-winning film director, screenwriter and producer Vishal Bhardwaj, known widely for his adaptation of the Shakespeare trilogy in Bollywood, is currently developing a series based on Christie’s The Sittaford Mystery in India. Author of works like The Raptures and The Fire Starters, Jan Carson has taken deep inspiration from Christie’s oeuvre. Victoria Dowd is a crime writer and author of the bestselling Smart Woman’s mystery series. In conversation with author and fellow Christie enthusiast, Vaseem Khan.
Presented by Hawthornden Foundation

11:15 - 12:15 Piazza Pavilion
The Immortal King Rao
Vauhini Vara in conversation with Deepa Anappara

Vauhini Vara is a Canadian-American of Indian origin whose novel, The Immortal King Rao, raises philosophical questions on society and the limits of technology. A disquieting mirror of present realities, the novel deftly braids together divergent timelines and planes of existence, each bound by a distinct moral fabric. The dystopian world it portrays questions where our actions might take us next amidst societal upheaval, capitalist satire, digital alienation and surveillance, and the impending climate crisis. Vara, a former Wall Street Journal technology reporter, speaks with author Deepa Anappara about her debut novel, blending the boundaries between speculative and literary fiction.

11:15 - 12:15 Entrance Hall
The Eurasian Steppe: People, Movement, Ideas
Warwick Ball in conversation with William Dalrymple

A geographical area, not a political entity, the steppe connects the western and eastern parts of the Eurasian landmass. As such, it is always open, subject to constant movement between Asia and Europe. Warwick Ball's latest The Eurasian Steppe: People, Movement, Ideas tells the story of that movement from prehistory to the present. From nomadic peoples to conquering empires, from tales of Amazon women to art nouveau, and from golden grave goods to the formation of countries that still exist today, Ball shows how the steppe has continually shaped Europe’s destiny and how ultimately, the steppe and the movement of people across it are so crucial that they question the very idea of ‘Europe’ as a separate cultural and historical construct.
Presented by Aga Khan Foundation

12:30 - 13:30 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
Kings and Constitutions
Philip Murphy, Tripurdaman Singh and Chintan Chandrachud and in conversation with Rita Payne.

Monarchy is meant to symbolise unity and continuity, themes emphasised in the recent coronation of King Charles III. The world, however, has undergone dizzying levels of change since the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953, not least the growing contention of how compatible monarchy is with modern democracy. India too has witnessed many transitions from colonial rule and the era of royal dynasties to a vibrant democracy which includes the active participation of erstwhile royals. In conversation with journalist Rita Payne, Professor of British and Commonwealth History Philip Murphy, academic Tripurdaman Singh, and barrister and author Chintan Chandrachud explore the intermedialities of democracy, monarchy and constitutional monarchy.
Presented by Rothschild Foundation

12:30 - 13:30 Piazza Pavilion
Nectar in a Sieve: Rediscovering Kamala Markandaya
Kim Oliver, Alastair Niven, Namita Gokhale in conversation with Mohini Gupta

Novelist and journalist Kamala Markandaya is celebrated as one of India’s earliest writers in English. Her novels, written in London, where she spent her life as a writer, have been widely acclaimed and celebrated during her lifetime, and continue to be relevant and pivotal. Her earliest novel, Nectar in a Sieve, is a tragic tale of fortitude and courage, where India’s farmers fight poverty and disaster. Her other novels The Coffer Dams and The Nowhere Man have also been recently republished by HopeRoad Publishing, in an effort by her daughter, Kim Oliver, to preserve and proliferate her momentous legacy. Together with Oliver, literary scholar and author Alastair Niven, writer and festival director Namita Gokhale and translator Mohini Gupta, discuss Markandaya’s continuing relevance and relatability.

12:30 - 13:30 Entrance Hall
The Great Indian Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections
Asma Khan and Manju Malhi in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy

Rooted in smell, taste, and sight, the food we grow up eating clutches onto our being, keeping us connected to our homes and histories. The nostalgia that emerges through these memories, shapes experiences that are vivid and evocative. An ode to the Indian family kitchen but mostly a tribute to her grandmother, Asma Khan’s Ammu is a collection of recipes and stories permeated through generations of her family. Manju Malhi, a master of Anglo-Indian cuisine, draws deep inspiration from her cultural heritage and creates fusion recipes rooted in Indian flavours and lifestyle. In conversation with Sanjoy K Roy, Khan and Malhi take us on a journey through their family kitchens to reveal the way food shapes identity and discuss its universal appeal to move us in profound ways.

13.30 – 14.30 Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre
Family Storytelling: Puzzling Tales
The second of two sessions with storyteller Peter Chand. See 11.00 above for details

13:45 - 14:45 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
From Dionysus to Vasco da Gama: How Europeans Saw India before the Age of Exploration
Tom Holland in conversation with William Dalrymple

Before the age of colonialism, Europeans saw India very differently from the familiar racist and Orientalist stereotypes of the Raj. Far from being a benighted land of poverty and famine, India was seen as a land of wealth and riches and plenty, a centre of philosophy and astronomy, science and mathematics, learning and wisdom. Classicist Tom Holland and historian William Dalrymple talk together about the very different Western views of India held from Herodotus and Ashoka to the age of Aryabhatta and the Guptas.

13:45 - 14:45 Piazza Pavilion
High Time
Hannah Rothschild in conversation with Claire Armitstead

Author, filmmaker and philanthropist Hannah Rothschild captures the world of high art and finance in her new novel High Time. The narrative tracks the journey of Ayesha Scott as she navigates the underbelly of the art world encountering crooked financiers and backstreets swindlers to retain her wealth and reputation. In conversation with Guardian literary editor Claire Armitstead, Rothschild discusses her latest work as a critique of the wealthy and delves into the art of writing social satire.

13:45 - 14:45 Entrance Hall
The Double Diaspora: British Ugandan Asians at 50
Neema Shah, Hafsa Zayyan and Ram Gidoomal CBE in conversation with Meera Dattani

Driven to escape war and violent realities, populations around the world migrate in search of a better life. Fifty years on after the mass migration of people of Asian heritage from Uganda and Kenya, due to expulsion or discrimination, this session traces the trajectory of the emotional and physical travel faced by those migrant communities who have had to face dual uprootings across continents – a ‘double diaspora’ as defined in the work of Dr. Maya Parmar. Exploring aspirations, resilience, strength, as well as the poignancy and uncertainty of starting afresh, author of Kololo Hill, Neema Shah; writer and lawyer Hafsa Zayyan, author of We are all birds of Uganda, and author of My Silk Road: The Adventures and Struggles of a British Asian Refugee, Ram Gidoomal are in conversation with travel journalist Meera Dattani, as they speak of memory, morphing identities, grit, and survival.

15:00 – 16:00 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)

Letters to a Writer of Colour
Deepa Anappara, Leila Aboulela and Tahmima Anam in conversation with Shrabani Basu

Edited by author and journalist Deepa Anappara and writer Taymour Soomro, Letter to a Writer of Colour is an anthology of seventeen essays by people of colour, reshaping our assumptions about fiction, and how it should be read and written. An honest and empathetic book, it challenges the reader to rethink the codes of authenticity with which they experience writing. In conversation with historian and journalist Shrabani Basu, writer, essayist and playwright Leila Aboulela and award-winning novelist and columnist Tahmima Anam, Anappara reflects upon the diverse techniques of storytelling and experiences that shape their work, while discussing humour, violence, translation, and queerness.

15:00 – 16:00 Piazza Pavilion
Innovation, Marketing and the Matrix of Success
Naushad Forbes and Karan Bilimoria in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy

The past two decades have seen a large-scale institutional and behavioural change across industries and platforms. Brick and mortar and traditional companies have ceded space to new innovation and the ever emerging world of technology. An expert panel comes together to discuss the mantra of success and the future of innovation and marketing in a new world.

15:00 – 16:00 Entrance Hall
Where The Cobbled Path Leads


Avinuo Kire in conversation with Namita Gokhale Avinuo Kire presents fantasy and Naga folklore from India’s Northeast in her book Where the Cobbled Path Leads which centres around a child’s grief upon losing her mother. In the magical world of spirits, both friendly as well as adversarial, eleven-year-old Vime discovers coping mechanisms for sorrow and finds solace in an alternate realm. Exploring Nagaland’s picturesque landscape, Kire’s novel carries the power of oral narratives and the sophistication of a complex plot that uncovers social iniquities. In conversation with writer and festival director Namita Gokhale.

Supported by the British Council


16:15 – 17:15 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)

Courting the Islamic World: The Origins of Empire

Nandini Das and Jerry Brotton in conversation with William Dalrymple

Professor of Early Modern English Literature and Culture, Nandini Das, in her fascinating book Courting India, brings forth the story of Thomas Roe’s arrival in India as James I's first ambassador to the Mughal Empire. The book explores the foundations of Britain’s imperial roots through a comparative study of the art, literature, sights and sounds of Jacobean London and Imperial India. British historian and Professor of Renaissance Studies, Jerry Brotton’s award-winning book This Orient Isle reveals England’s relationship with the Muslim world and its influence on the commercial and political landscape of Elizabethan England. In conversation with award-winning historian William Dalrymple, Das and Brotton discuss the shared history of the East and the West and their influence on each other’s culture, literature and economy.

16:15 – 17:15 Piazza Pavilion
Of Intimacies and Raptures
Lucy Caldwell and Jan Carson in conversation with Claire Armitstead

Celebrated Irish writer Lucy Caldwell’s award-winning short story collection Intimacies brings us a cast of young women navigating their place in the world. Her recent novel These Days explores the lives of two sisters during the Belfast Blitz. Author Jan Carson’s The Raptures portrays life in a quiet village in Northern Ireland disrupted by uncanny happenings and hauntings. In conversation with Guardian literary editor Claire Armitstead, Caldwell and Carson discuss the complexities of their writing and their relationship with the setting of their novels.

16:15 – 17:15 Entrance Hall
Bridges of Knowledge: The India-UK Partnership

Shashi Tharoor, Rohit Kumar and Vivienne Stern in conversation with Sanam Arora


Intercultural exchange in education leads to creativity and innovation. Educational partnerships can create opportunities for mutual learning, knowledge exchange and long-term cooperation. An expert panel comes together to discuss the challenges, benefits and strategies involved in leveraging education as a powerful tool to enhance the bilateral relations between India and the UK.

Presented by York University

17:30 – 18:30 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
The World of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse
Vikram Doraiswami, Shashi Tharoor, Paul Kent, Hal Cazalet in conversation with Shrabani Basu, accompanied by Simon Beck

The written word was an intoxicating plaything for P.G. Wodehouse. He continues to be hugely popular with an English readership in India that spans generations. How and why do his idyllic world and linguistic style cross notions of class and culture? In The World of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, diplomat and former journalist Vikram Doraiswami, politician and writer Shashi Tharoor, author Paul Kent and step great-grandson of P.G. Wodehouse, British opera tenor Hal Cazalet, discuss the enduring mystery of India’s fascination with Wodehouse. They are in conversation with journalist and historian Shrabani Basu.
Presented by Hawthornden Foundation

17:30 – 18:30 Piazza Pavilion

Present Tense: From the Frontlines

Roger Cohen and Luke Harding in conversation Mukulika Banerjee

Examining a crucial moment in world history, a distinguished panel comes together to give us a glimpse into the changing politics of the European continent and the rippling impact felt across the world. Reporting from the battleground of Kyiv, award-winning correspondent for The Guardian, Luke Harding uncovers the horrors of Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine in his latest work Invasion. Roger Cohen, foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times, dissects the implications of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the assaults of the pandemic in his book An Affirming Flame, a collection of his finest columns for The New York Times. Together with author and academic Mukulika Banerjee, they ruminate on the state of the world at a time of unprecedented crisis.

17:30 – 18:30
Entrance Hall


Nutkhut presents Reeta Loi and Dhruva Balram in conversation with Bobby Friction


For this two-part in conversation session, put together for JLF by award winning producers Nutkhut (‘mischief’), Desi Music DJ, broadcaster and documentary maker Bobby Friction meets two of the most vital voices in UK Asian culture. Reeta Loi is a storyteller, beautifully crafting poetry, songs and comedy to powerful effect as well as the Forbes 100 founder of Gaysians, the global movement highlighting the voices of South Asian LGBTQ+ people. You may have seen their live one-person show 'The Remedy', watched their ground-breaking VICE documentary and transformative TED talks. Dhruva Balram is an Indian-Canadian creative producer, writer on politics, culture and identity and co-editor of Haramacy (Unbound 2022). He is co-founder of Dialled In, a South Asian-focused arts and culture grassroots organisation. Shape shifters, changemakers, the renaissance is alive......



10:00 registration opens

10:30 -11:00 Piazza Pavilion
Morning Music:
Saints & Sages

Deepa Shakthi

11:15 – 12:15 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
The Earth Transformed: An Untold History
Peter Frankopan in conversation with William Dalrymple

Historian and writer Peter Frankopan’s latest book, The Earth Transformed: An Untold History, is a revolutionary new history that reveals how climate change has dramatically shaped the development and demise of civilisations across time. Spanning centuries and continents, Frankopan explains how nature has always played a fundamental role in the writing of history and evaluates the fall of civilisations at the behest of Mother Nature.
Presented by Aga Khan Foundation

11:15 – 12:15 Piazza Pavilion
The Music of the Primes
Marcus du Sautoy in conversation with Roger Highfield

To celebrate the 20th anniversary edition of Marcus du Sautoy's The Music of the Primes, join us in an enthralling session investigating the very atoms of arithmetic. Diving into the mysteries of the prime number theory, du Sautoy traces the ways in which it can act as a lynchpin for security in banking and e-commerce. In conversation with Science Museum director and author Roger Highfield, du Sautoy reveals the extraordinary history behind the holy grail of mathematics and the ongoing quest to capture it.

12:30 – 13:30 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
Decoding Creativity
Venki Ramakrishnan and Alice Oswald in conversation

Nobel laureate Venki Ramakrishnan and award-winning poet Alice Oswald discuss the similarities and differences between creativity in the arts and sciences. Biologist Venki Ramakrishnan is the author of Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome that is about the quest to understand how genetic information is decoded to make the proteins that make all life possible. Poet Alice Oswald creates dream-like vignettes in her thoroughly researched works like Dart and Memorial which enrich our understanding of shared human experiences. Together, they discuss the role of creativity in science and the humanities.

12:30 – 13:30 Piazza Pavilion
Bollywood Narratives
Anu Singh Choudhary and Vishal Bhardwaj and Kunal Basu in conversation with Mohini Gupta

Audiences across India and the diaspora are touched alike by the emotive connectivity and the spirited character of the narratives in Bollywood films. Award-winning film director, screenwriter and producer Vishal Bhardwaj is the director of ten feature films, including the internationally acclaimed adaptations of the Shakespeare trilogy. Anu Singh Choudhary, writer of the series ‘Aarya’ and ‘Eclipse’, is a storyteller, having worked across media as a screenwriter, publisher and documentary filmmaker. Kunal Basu is the author of several critically acclaimed works including The Japanese Wife which was made into an award-winning film. In conversation with writer and translator Mohini Gupta, Bhardwaj, Choudhary and Basu discuss the creative process of Bollywood, its boundless and perennial appeal, and its ability to stir and fascinate audiences across the globe.

12:30 – 13:30 Entrance Hall
Lives of the Musical Maestros
Oliver Craske and Nasreen Munni Kabir in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy

It is perhaps as difficult to write about an extraordinary life as it is to live one. Oliver Craske, writer and editor, in his book, Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar, reveals an intimate portrait of Pandit Ravi Shankar - the man, the artist and the legend of Indian classical music. Television producer and author Nasreen Munni Kabir has written extensively about Indian artists including biographies like Lata Mangeshkar ...in Her Own Voice, A. R. Rahman: The Spirit of Music and Zakir Hussain: A Life in Music. Together, Craske and Kabir discuss lives of legendary music maestros and explore the intricacies of writing artist biographies.

12:30 – 14:30 Knowledge Centre Bronte Room

Storytelling Masterclass with Nikesh Shukla


Nikesh Shukla, author, writing mentor and bestselling editor of The Good Immigrant, knows better than most the power that every unique voice has to create change. Whether it’s a novel, personal essay, non-fiction work or short story – or even just the formless desire to write something – this workshop will help you to set your intentions, balance storytelling instinct with structure and build your characters.

Please note this session requires separate booking and is not included in Sunday and Weekend Passes. All places £10. Please click here to book.

13:45 – 14:45 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
Ambedkar: A Life
Shashi Tharoor in conversation with Tripurdaman Singh

Babasaheb Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is indisputably one of the greatest figures of modern Indian history. Politician and writer Shashi Tharoor's recent biography, Ambedkar: A Life, (published in the UK as B. R. Ambedkar: The man who gave hope to India's dispossessed), traces the arc of his life while analysing the multiple battles he fought in both political and intellectual spheres. In conversation with author and academic Tripurdaman Singh, Tharoor discusses Babasaheb's life and journey along with his determination to present India with a Constitution ingrained with individual rights and modern concepts of social justice.

13:45 – 14:45 Piazza Pavilion
The Case for Nature
Siddarth Shrikanth and Gaia Vince in conversation with Roger Highfield

As human activities propel the climate crisis, the need to work with the planet instead of against it becomes an urgent and crucial mission. In his recent book The Case for Nature, climate investment professional, author, consultant, and entrepreneur Siddarth Shrikanth writes about the power of natural capital in conserving the planet. Gaia Vince, an award-winning science journalist, author, broadcaster and speaker, is interested in the interaction between human systems and the Earth’s planetary systems. In conversation with museum director and science author Roger Highfield, Shrikanth and Vince discuss critiques along with solutions in the hope of restoring biodiversity, and safeguarding the future of humanity.
Presented by Aga Khan Foundation

13:45 – 14:45 Entrance Hall
Celebrating Libraries: Bookending Our Days
Richard Ovenden, Mridula Koshy, Lara Marshall and Sathnam Sanghera in conversation with Jamie Andrews

Libraries hold a special place in our hearts and memories, and continue to serve as vital resources in our communities today. A diverse panel of library users and researchers from the UK and India come together to discuss these repositories of learning, libraries lost and longed for, and how we can ensure that knowledge continues to flow for everyone into the future.

Presented by Rothschild Foundation.

15:00 – 16:00 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre

Empire: The Search for Truth

William Dalrymple and Anita Anand in conversation with Bee Rowlatt


The Empire podcast started in August, went straight to no.1 and now has more than 1 million downloads every month. Characterised by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand’s easy camaraderie and contrasting personas, the podcast looks at how empires rise, why they fall and how they have shaped the world around us today. In discussion with writer and journalist Bee Rowlatt, Dalrymple and Anand discuss why people everywhere are suddenly so interested in the business of the Empire.

15:00 – 16:00 Piazza Pavilion
Here and Elsewhere

Reshma Ruia and Jyoti Patel in conversation with Mohini Gupta


The vibrant and dynamic writing evoked by writers of colour preserve the rhythm, cadence, and multiplicities contained within their work, allowing for originality and authenticity. Writer and poet Reshma Ruia is the co-founder of ‘The Whole Kahani’, a collective of South-Asian writers based in the UK. Her recent book Still Lives is an immigrant novel about betrayal, belonging and family. Set in Manchester, it challenges assumptions regarding identity and assimilation. Author Jyoti Patel explores generational trauma and profound questions of identity in her debut novel The Things That We Lost, a coming-of-age narrative set in a British-Kenyan-Gujarati household. They will be in conversation with Mohini Gupta, who has, with Andrew Whitehead, co-edited The Hindu Bard: The Poetry of Dorothy Bonarjee. Bonarjee created a sensation when she won the bardic Chair at the University College of Wales Eisteddfod in 1914, the first woman and overseas student to achieve this honour, and went on to publish her poetry in Welsh journals. Ruia, Patel and Gupta discuss polyphonic voices, plurality of identity and sense of belonging found in stories and poems by South Asian writers in the UK.

15:00 – 16:00 Entrance Hall
Preti Taneja, Vishal Bhardwaj and Thea Buckley in conversation with Arani Ilankuberan

The universality of Shakespeare’s stories and the staple human sensibilities that they grapple with are a perennial part of the literature of the world. Writer and screenwriter Preti Taneja’s debut novel, We That Are Young, is a modern-day retelling of King Lear, based in contemporary India. Film director, screenwriter and producer Vishal Bhardwaj has adapted Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello into Indian sensibilities. Thea Buckley completed her Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship on South Indian Shakespeares at Queen’s University Belfast, where she now works in Internationalisation. In conversation with Head of South Asian Collections at The British Library Arani Ilankuberan, Taneja, Bhardwaj, and Buckley speak of India’s enduring love for Shakespeare, and the influence of his work on contemporary literature.
Presented by Hawthornden Foundation

16:15 – 17:15 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World
Jonathan Freedland in conversation with Antony Beevor

In 1944, Rudolf Vrba became one of the first Jews to engineer his own escape from Auschwitz and make his way to freedom - one of only a tiny handful who ever pulled off that near-impossible feat. Against all odds, he and his fellow escapee, Fred Wetzler, climbed mountains, crossed rivers and narrowly missed German bullets until they had smuggled out the first full account of Auschwitz the world had ever seen—a forensically detailed report that would eventually reach Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and the Pope. In conversation with Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed international bestseller Stalingrad, Freedland delves into the story of a brilliant yet troubled man—a gifted “escape artist” who even as a teenager understood that the difference between truth and lies can be the difference between life and death, a man who deserves to take his place alongside Anne Frank, Oskar Schindler and Primo Levi as one of the handful of individuals whose stories define our understanding of the Holocaust.

16:15 – 17:15 Piazza Pavilion
Preti Taneja in conversation with Georgina Godwin

Award-winning writer Preti Taneja blurs genre and form as she explores terror, trauma and grief, in her experimental nonfiction book Aftermath, a reflection on how Usman Khan, a student of Taneja’s, who was convicted of terrorism and kept in a high-security prison at age 20, went on to commit a terrible attack in London in November 2019. In conversation with presenter and editor Georgina Godwin, Taneja explores the systemic violence of racism and incarceration, elite education and generational trauma in the UK, while making a powerful recommitment to activism and radical hope.

16:15 – 17:15 Entrance Hall
History: Then and Now
Alice Loxton and Sathnam Sanghera in conversation with Yasmin Khan

History has its own cycles and patterns. Ways of telling history also evolve and adapt to changed times and narrative trends. Historian, presenter and author Alice Loxton has an immensely popular social media channel and is on a mission to improve heritage and history for young people. Journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera delivers an essential introduction to the British empire in his book Stolen History: The truth about the British Empire and how it shaped us for readers as young as nine years old. In conversation with writer and Associate Professor of History at the University of Oxford Yasmin Khan, Loxton and Sanghera discuss their approaches to chronicling the past.

17:30 – 18:30 Knowledge Centre Pigott Theatre (and live streamed)
Skyfall in a Sari: The Usha Uthup Journey
Usha Uthup in conversation

The evergreen pop icon and playback singer Padma Shri Usha Uthup, singing in more than seventeen Indian and eight international languages, has enthralled listeners for generations. In conversation, she talks of what music means to her, and the passion and commitment she brings to it. A fascinating sing-along recount of a unique musical odyssey with a legend of our times.

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Name: JLF: Jaipur Literature Festival at the British Library
Where: British Library St Pancras
When: -
Price: From £7 – £36
Scroll down to book
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546