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Jaipur Literature Festival 2015: First Speakers Announced

by Helena Kriel, Spalding MFA Faculty, Playwriting and Screenwriting.

Okay writers, students, journeymen and women, adventurers and vagabonds, the “Passage to India” international field trip is happening!

In case you haven’t already heard we are going on an international field trip to India where we will be taking in the Jaipur Literature Festival and then venturing beyond for ten days of creative adventure.

At the Diggi Palace, where the festival takes place, writers from all genres and all possible countries in the world entertain, illuminate and share what it is to be this odd thing: a writer! One sits, listens, converses with others, drinks masala tea between events and feels full of… the world. And what it can offer. Sena said once that literature has become, must be, global.

Each year the line up of top literary names changes and I wanted to give some breaking news. The first line up of writers for the Jaipur Literature festival have been announced. The line up looks exciting.

Nobel Prize laureate V.S.Naipaul who has published more than 30 books has confirmed he will be attending. All fans of “Eat Pray Love” will be pleased to hear that Elizabeth Gilbert is speaking. Eleanor Catton, 2013 Man Booker award winner for “The Luminaries”, is one of the speakers.

Paul Theroux who has published numerous works of fiction (most famously The Mosquito Coast which became a movie starring Harrison Ford) will be on stage. Damon Galgut award winning South African playwright will be there.

This is just the beginning of a list of writers that will number more than 160 in what is called by Tina Brown of the New York Times as “The greatest literary show on earth.”

The trip is shaping up.

Writers, students, journey people and adventurers are already on board.

I am your guide. I have been to India ten times and I know how that crazy, colorful place can fuel imagination. We are going to hear it, see it, taste it, touch it. And then write about it. It will not just be the Taj Mahal at sunset – but special ways of seeing the Taj at sunset and being at the Taj to fuel imagination, to look for material to begin a story. We will be at the Taj as visitors and spies and come back to the hotel with lots to share.

We will be collecting material and images and overheard dialogue. I am going to suggest exercises to begin to warm up those areas of your craft that you find challenging. If you sit in the chair and it all feels dull, or black and white or blurred, it’s time to cut lose, catch that plane, do something you might not necessarily have imagined and go in search of a colorful world. Go global.

Website is:

Get out of the chair and into the world. It’s that time. Because, why not?

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