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“I cancelled my trip to Agra to come here!” said an excited Australian festival-goer in the front row of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival this morning.

Deep in discussion with the young man who had tipped him off, he said “Jonathan Franzen, Amartya Sen, free?! I simply cancelled my ticket there and then.”

And so began the first day of the 2014 ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literary festival taking place at Diggi Palace.

The 5-day event began with an inauguration ceremony attended by Her Excellency The Governor SMT. Margaret Alva and Bhaskar Das, CEO of ZEE Media Corporation, as well as Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen.

Festival producer Sanjoy. K. Roy kicked off proceedings with Festival Co-Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple welcoming visitors to the Festival.


After the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Amartya Sen delivered the keynote speech, A Wish A Day for A Week.

On day one, the Festival hosted Gloria Steinem, Irrfan Khan, Jonathan Franzen, Raj Kundra, Ved Mehta, Urvashi Butalia and Antony Beevor amongst many other writers from Rajasthan and across India.

Gloria Steinem in conversation with Ruchira Gupta spoke about reproductive freedoms, differentiating erotica from pornography and stated that in order to achieve democracy it is important to practice democracy at home.

Also announced today, the Festival has partnered with HaikuJAM, an app that allows festival-goers to write poetry with the award winning authors that attend the Festival.

Tomorrow’s events will prove equally as stimulating with Jhumpa Lahiri, Jim Carce, Xiaolu Guo, M T Vasudevan Nair, Jerry Pinto, Samantha Shannon, Nadeem Aslam, Farah Ghuznavi and Shashi Tharoor announcing the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2014.


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