BRUSSELS BELGIUM: Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas and inspiration. From 19th to 28th February 2021, the Festival returns with its 14th edition – fully virtual – featuring famous writers and curated for audiences across the world.
The European Union will participate at the Jaipur Literature Festival for the first time as a Festival Partner through an extensive program curated by the Cultural Relations Platform (an EU-funded initiative) and the Delegation of the European Union to India. Renowned European writers and winners of the European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL), representing six Member States and partner countries, will be conducting literary exchanges with their Indian peers including authors, journalists, and opinion-makers.
During the two weekends of the Festival (19-21 and 26-28 February), four European Prize for Literature laureates will take part in extensive conversations with Indian counterparts and interact with international audiences. The authors – Kevin Barry (Ireland), Meelis Friedenthal (Estonia), Rodaan Al Galidi (the Netherlands), and Adam Foulds (UK) – representing some of the most talented writers in Europe, will showcase the depth of the continent’s contemporary literature at South Asia’s biggest literary festival.
Next to the Festival’s main program, the European Union will also support encounters between literary professionals from Europe and India as part of the Festival’s B2B wing – the Jaipur BookMark (JBM). Three sessions will be supported by the EU and address themes including literary translation, current trends in international publishing markets, and the transnational circulation of literary output. EUPL laureates Matthias Nawrat (Germany) and Selja Ahava (Finland), and key industry stakeholders representing the Federation of European Publishers, Latvia, Greece, and Finland will engage with counterparts from the Indian publishing industry.
The initiative is supported by the European Union and the Cultural Relations Platform with the aim of strengthening international cultural relations and stimulating collaborations as outlined in the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations and the New European Agenda for Culture 2018. It is co-organized by the Cultural Relations Platform (an EU-funded project), the Delegation of the European Union to India, and Teamwork Arts (India). This collaboration is an extension of longstanding EU-India creative sector exchanges – and will mark the fourth consecutive year that the EUPL will be represented at India’s most high-profile literary events.
Speaking of growing EU-India artistic and cultural ties, H.E. Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India and Bhutan, welcomed this collaboration, remarking that, “The EU is committed to fostering an environment conducive to greater creative exchanges with India. With our participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival and the Jaipur BookMark, we wish to strengthen the EU’s position as a major cultural partner of India, recognizing the importance of intercultural dialogue as a key element of our partnership.”
Sharing his enthusiasm Sanjoy K Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival said, “We are delighted to partner with the European Union and European Union prize for Literature and explore the rich writing from this region and strengthen our focus on translations and bringing to the fore the best writers from across the world during the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Kevin Barry (Ireland) is the author of the short story collections “Dark Lies The Island” and “There Are Little Kingdoms” and the novel City Of Bohane. He has won the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award, and he has been shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. His stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the Granta Book of the Irish Story, and many other journals. He also works on plays and screenplays and he lives in County Sligo. In 2012, he won the European Union Prize for Literature with his novel City of Bohane.
Meelis Friedenthal (Estonia) is active in both academia and literature. Academically, his main research topic is intellectual history, and the same interest is expressed in historical fiction, but also in speculative literature. He has published novels, short stories, and plays. In 2013, he won the European Union Prize for Literature with his novel The Bees, which depicts the end of the 17th century and is a bleak vision about the voyage and encounters of a student who has come from Leiden to Tartu.
Rodaan Al Galidi (the Netherlands) Rodaan, who first called himself Al Galidi (his complete name is Rodaan Al Galidi) is a writer of Iraqi descent. As his native country didn’t register births when he was born, he does not know his birth date. He studied as an engineer in Iraq before fleeing to escape military service, arriving in the Netherlands in 1998. However, his request for asylum was rejected, and since he was not allowed to follow the official courses of the Dutch language, he taught himself the language and started writing. He is now considered to be a Dutch writer and receives stipends from Dutch as well as Flemish institutes.
Selja Ahava (Finland) is a fiction author and scriptwriter. She has published four novels. Her novel Things that Fall from the Skywon the European Union Prize for Literature in 2016 and its translation rights have been sold to 24 countries. Her latest novel The Woman Who Loved Insects came out last year.
Matthias Nawrat (Germany) was born in 1979 in Poland and moved to Germany in 1989. His novels were awarded many times, most recently with the European Union Prize for Literature 2020 (for The Sad Guest). His fifth novel Travelling to Maine will come out in August 2021. Matthias Nawrat lives in Berlin.
Adam Foulds (United Kingdom) is a writer born in London. He is the author of four novels, including The Quickening Maze (2009), a powerful fictionalized account of the poet John Clare’s incarceration in an asylum in 1840, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. The book was awarded the European Union Prize for Literature in 2011. He is also the author of a book-length narrative poem (The Broken Word, 2008) about Kenya’s Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s. He now lives in Toronto, Canada.
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