08 May, 2021

Read Betwixt Lines

Open, lithe, eclectic—the Jaipur Litfest’s roaring success may prompt many to ask for more

P. Lashkari
Read Betwixt Lines

Three years—or five, according to organisers—is perhaps a little young to achieve your ambition. But that’s what last week’s Jaipur Literature Festival just did: turning from a quirky, intimate litfest where literary stars like Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth famously rubbed shoulders with common readers, into—alas, no avoiding that overused phrase—“the biggest literary show in the world”. The masala mix of film lyricists, actors, prize-winning litterateurs, musicians, best-selling authors, publishers and authors on the hunt, Dalit autobiographers and unknown regional writers was potent enough to draw an incredible crowd of anywhere from 15-30,000 from across India and the world.

For example, in the course of just one sunny afternoon’s mad rush from one standing-room-only tent to the next, I bumped into an old lady from Vancouver, Canada, a publisher from Norway, a researcher from Russia, a long-lost friend from Calcutta, another from Bombay, an engineering student from Jaipur, a...

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