Monday, 7 January 2013

The Jaipur Literature Festival

I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in three talks at The Jaipur Literature Festival in India. The festival took place from 24-28 January at the Diggi Palace in the pink city of Jaipur.

The list of speakers was long and impressive.

Here are the discussions I took part in:
  1. 25th Jan – 2:15pm to 3:15pm
Heaven on Earth: On Sharia Law 

Sadakat Kadri, Tom Holland, Ali Asghar Engineer, Ian Buruma and Mary Harper, moderated by Reza Aslan

Almost 1400 years after the Prophet Mohammed first articulated God’s law – the Sharia – its earthly interpreters are still arguing over what it means. Hardliners reduce it to amputations, veiling, holy war and stonings. Others say it is humanity’s only guarantee of a just society. In Heaven on Earth, Sadakat Kadri, a London-based criminal barrister and prize-winning writer, sets out to see who is right. Tom Holland, Ali Asghar Engineer,Ian Buruma and Mary Harper will examine Kadri’s ideas in a discussion moderated by Reza Aslan.
  1. 26th Jan – 3:30pm to 4:30pm 
Out of Africa

Aminatta Forna, Mary Harper and Anjan Sundaram in conversation with Kwasi Kwarteng

Sometimes Africa seems to make news headlines around the world only for wars, famines and poverty. Four leading writers on the new Africa would beg to differ. Aminatta Forna, Mary Harper and Anjan Sundaram will be in conversation with Kwasi Kwarteng.

Out of Africa panel
  1. 26th Jan - 6pm to 7pm
Falling off the Map: The Question of Failed States

Mary Harper, Reza Aslan, Laleh Khadivi, Selma Dabbagh and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, moderated by Barkha Dutt

American right-wing rhetoric makes much of the danger posed by ‘failed states’. Do they exist, or is the whole concept just an excuse for Western neo-colonial intervention? Mary Harper, Reza Aslan, Laleh Khadivi, Selma Dabbagh and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy discuss the concept with Barkha Dutt.

There was media coverage of some of the events I participated in. Here's a sample:

I was interviewed by The New York Times - you can read it by clicking here.

The Hindu newspaper wrote about the Sharia Law panel - read the article here.

Radiance Weekly also covered the Sharial Law talk - read it  here.

And here's an article that I don't understand:

Here are some photos from the festival and elsewhere in Jaipur:

Entrance to the Jaipur Literature Festival
My beautiful hotel in Jaipur
My book for sale at the festival

Hundreds (if not thousands) of people came to my talks
I was invited to speak to students at a local university


Inside the pink city of Jaipur

Festival organiser and author, William Dalrymple, and Oscar winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Enjoying the talks at the festival