Soneva Fushi to host second edition of Jaipur Literature Festival in 2023

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Following the success of the inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) last May, Soneva Fushi is preparing to host the second edition of the event with a star-studded lineup of bestselling authors, filmmakers and artists.

Due to begin on 12 May 2023, the 10-day festival will feature a programme of insightful sessions and fascinating workshops capped off with live music performances and gala celebrations on the beach.

According to Soneva, the festival will offer “a rare opportunity to reconnect with the joys of live performances of art, music and literature on the idyllic island of Kunfunadhoo in the beautiful Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.”

Tentative line-up of speakers:

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester and studied English at Cambridge University. He is the author of sixteen novels and seven works of non-fiction. Jacobson won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize in 2000 for The Mighty Walzer and in 2013 for Zoo Time. In 2010, he was awarded the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question and was shortlisted again in 2014 for J. His latest book, a memoir, is Mother’s Boy: A Writer’s Beginnings. Jacobson contributes regularly to BBC Radio Four’s A Point of View, and is an Honorary Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, and a Visiting Professor at New College of the Humanities, London. 

Namita Gokhale 

Namita Gokhale is the co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival and the author of twenty books. A recipient of the Sahitya Akademi (National Academy of Letters) in 2021, Gokhale’s acclaimed debut novel, Paro: Dreams of Passion, was published in 1984. She was conferred with the prestigious First Centenary National Award for Literature by the Assam Sahitya Sabha in 2017. Acclaimed for her writing and commitment to multilingual Indian literature and cross-cultural literary dialogue, Gokhale’s latest work of fiction, The Blind Matriarch, examines the Indian joint family against the backdrop of the pandemic. 

Simon Sebag Montefiore 

An international best-selling author, Montefiore’s books have been published in 48 languages. Some of his notable works include Written in History: Letters that Changed the World, and Catherine The Great Potemkin, which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Montefiore has also won the Costa Biography Award, the LA Times Book Prize for Biography, the Kreisky Prize, and the Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique. He is also the author of the Moscow Trilogy of novels: Sashenka, Red Sky at Noon and One Night in Winter, which won the Political Fiction Book of the Year award. 

William Dalrymple 

One of the co-founders and a co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Dalrymple is the best-selling author of several works including In Xanadu and White Mughals. He has won many literary awards, including the Wolfson Prize for History, the Hemingway, the Kapuscinski, the Thomas Cook and the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. Dalrymple was also awarded the Arthur Ross Bronze Medal of the US Council on Foreign Relations and the prestigious President’s Medal by the British Academy. His latest works include The Company Quartet, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company and Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company. 

Priyamvada Natarajan

A professor in the departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University, Natarajan is also the director of the Franke program in Science and the Humanities. Her research is focussed on exploring the dark side of the universe – the nature of dark matter and black holes. Her groundbreaking work has resulted in several key calculations pertaining to the life cycle of supermassive black holes, and has been profiled in several magazines and television programs, including the BBC series Stephen. A published poet and a contributor of scientific articles, Natarajan is a former columnist for Asian Age. 

Damon Galgut

A novelist and playwright, Damon Galgut published his first novel at the age of eighteen. He has published eight books since. After being shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2003 for his best-selling novel The Good Doctor, and again in 2010 for In a Strange Room, he was awarded the 2021 Booker Prize for his novel The Promise. Galgut is the third South African writer to win the illustrious title. His novel The Good Doctor also won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Africa Region) in 2003. Galgut has also written several short stories as well as plays that have been performed in South Africa and beyond.