The seventh Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literary festival, witnessed a record number of visits this year, with total footfall close to 220,000.
The middle day of the Festival, Sunday 19 January, was the most popular with a footfall of 75,000 throughout the day – the highest number of daily visits ever recorded at JLF.
The five day celebration of literature drew to a close last night after playing host to two Nobel laureates (Amartya Sen and Harold Varmus), four of this year’s Man Booker authors (Jim Crace, Jhumpa Lahiri, Tash Aw and Alison MacLeod), twenty different Indian and world languages, and one Grammy-award winning band (Tinariwen). The Full Circle Book Store reported sales of over 10,000 books from their 700 titles on offer.
The Festival, which is entirely free to the public, put on 14,700 hot meals and booked 1,800 nights in Jaipur hotels for the 240 participants, which included Jonathan Franzen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Gloria Steinem, Ashok Vajpeyi, SR Faruqi, Ved Mehta, Reza Aslan, Samantha Shannon, Ganesh Devy, MT Vasudevan Nair Mahesh Dattani and Narendra Kohli. The Festival closed last night with a rousing debate in favour of democracy and freedom of expression.
The 2014 Festival also saw the inaugural Jaipur BookMark taking place at Nirain Niwas, a new b2b platform for the publishing industry. The event, attended by 80 publishing professionals, took place from 18-20 January and contained several sessions on translation, e-books, distribution and digital content, as well as a discussion with John Makinson, Chairman of Penguin Random House and Urvashi Butalia.
In addition to literature, the JLF Music Stage returned with a popular line-up of musical talent from Sufi to Soul, including Karsh Kale, Kiran Ahluwalia, Midival Punditz and the cream of Rajasthani musicians and dancers, who shared the stage with Grammy Award-winning band Tinariwen. The music programme saw approximately 15,000 people attend the concerts over four nights at Clarks Amer.
The 2015 ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has been confirmed to take place between 21-25 January 2015 at Diggi Palace.