The Jaipur Literature Festival, held annually in the Pink City of Jaipur, is a riot of colour, energy, ideas and music, bringing alive South Asia’s multilingual literary heritage against a backdrop of readings, discussions and debates. Following the welcome return of JLF to its London home in the British Library on Saturday 18th September, we also have a full weekend of online events going live from 24th to 26th September
Programme subject to change, please check back for updates. Register here: https://london.jlflitfest.org/.
Saturday 25th September 2021
1100-1145 Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City
Edmund Richardson in conversation with Taran N. Khan
Classicist Edmund Richardson’s latest book, Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City, takes us on a journey through 19th century India and Afghanistan to unravel the exploits of Charles Masson and his discovery of the lost city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains at Bagram near Kabul. For centuries, Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. The narrative unfurls the story behind the spy who rediscovered the city and his path to becoming one of Asia’s most remarkable scholars. In conversation with award-winning writer Taran N. Khan.
1200 – 1245 The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer
Shrabani Basu in conversation with Georgina Godwin
Writer and historian Shrabani Basu’s latest book, The Mystery of the Parsee Lawyer, explores Arthur Conan Doyle’s attempts at proving the innocence of a young lawyer’s wrongful conviction. Son of the first Parsee Vicar in Britain in the early 1900s, George Edalji, and his family, were often subject to racism and discrimination. Following this unexpected friendship, Basu masterfully depicts an eye-opening account of racial injustice in the pre-war era. In conversation with broadcaster and journalist Georgina Godwin, Basu unravels this bizarre tale of Conan Doyle as a champion of justice and the perils of being ‘foreign’ in a nation built on empire.
1300 – 1345 The Evolving History of Indian Cuisine
Tanya Abraham, Sameer Taneja and Colleen Taylor Sen in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy
A session with noted chefs and historians talking about the roots of Indian spices, evolving cuisine and the future of our cooking habits in a post pandemic world. Weaving together the memory, history and unifying power of food, they evaluate the Indian palate and its rich tapestry of flavours, spices and cultural heritage.
1400 – 1445 The Great Hindu Civilisation
Pavan K. Varma in conversation with Makarand R. Paranjape
India has one of the longest civilisational histories of any nation in the world. Celebrated author and former diplomat Pavan K. Varma’s latest book, The Great Hindu Civilisation, unravels the texts and legacies behind its many belief systems. His hard-hitting book is an essential treatise of our times. Varma’s previous works include Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker and The Greatest Ode to Lord Ram: Tulsidas's Ramcharitmanas. Makarand R. Paranjape is currently Director at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. His latest book is New Perspectives in Indian Science and Civilisation.
1500 – 1545 The Deep Wild: My Octopus Teacher
Swati Thiyagarajan in conversation with Gargi Rawat
A deep dive into the fascinating world of oceanography with Indian conservationist and documentary filmmaker Swati Thiyagarajan. Thiyagarajan worked as Associate Producer of the Oscar-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher, featuring her husband Craig Foster. It traces the tender relationship between a sea diver and a female octopus, his teacher in the deep, and struck a chord with audiences worldwide. In conversation with Gargi Rawat, Thiyagarajan explores the fragility of life and humanity's connection with nature.
1600 – 1645 Sanskrit, Astronomy and Mathematics
Kim Plofker in conversation with William Dalrymple
Mathematician Kim Plofker is a leading scholar of the history of maths and astronomy in Sanskrit and other Indian languages. In conversation with William Dalrymple, Plofker chronicles the development of mathematical techniques and texts in South Asia from antiquity to the early modern period, re-examining the facts about Indian mathematics that have become common knowledge, such as the Indian origin of Arabic numerals. Her work details aspects of the subject that have been largely passed over in the past, including the relationships between Indian mathematics and astronomy, and their cross-fertilisations with Islamic scientific traditions.
1700 – 1800 First Person Feminine: Across Cultures and Continents
Tahmima Anam and Alice Albinia in conversation
How does one capture the multiplicities and nuances of women's lives? Can women ever gain equality? Is a matriarchal utopia possible? Novelist and social anthropologist Tahmima Anam wields razor-sharp comedy as a powerfully disruptive tool in her latest work The Startup Wife. She is joined by award-winning author Alice Albinia to explore issues of power, patriarchy, and the possibilities of a feminist revolution in fiction.
1815 – 1915 The Soul of Sufi Art: Moin Mir in conversation
Author Moin Mir began writing under the influence of his grandfather, a scholar of Sufism, Omar Khayyam and Mirza Ghalib. He speaks of the varied aspects of Sufi art, its philosophical geometrical symmetry and its mystic musical traditions. Steeped in Sufism, he communicates its spiritual love and understanding and its layered contributions to art, mathematics, mysticism and science.
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