Jaipur Literature Festival has become an annual pilgrimage for writers, journalists and book lovers in India. The "greatest literary show on earth" came to London's iconic Southbank Centre last weekend, offering a two-day window to what makes JLF unmissable. The London edition had the intimacy that Jaipur has lost due to increasing crowds every year. The exchange of ideas, gossip and energy on and off-stage amongst likely and unlikely collaborators is what made the festival truly special. It gave South Asians a platform to engage with each other and discuss thorny and pressing issues from the subcontinent and it gave Londoners a glimpse of their shared past and future with the region. These pictures are a report from the festival and attempt to capture its mood and highlights.
The first panel discussion of JLF @Southbank - 'Gandhi: The Man and the Mahatma' - featuring social activist Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, economist Lord Meghnad Desai, historian Faisal Devji and writers Sam Miller and Salil Tripathi, discussing the human vulnerability and genius of the man who became Mahatma Gandhi. (Queen Elizabeth Hall)
Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, activist and Vice-Chairperson of Gandhi Smriti. A portrait.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more
Lord Meghnad Desai (left) and London based writer and journalist Dilip Hiro share a joke between sessions at the Authors' Lounge, backstage.
Nobel Laureate Sir Vidia S. Naipaul and Lady Nadira Naipaul pose for a portrait.
Lady Nadira communicates an audience member's question to Sir Vidia during his session on the 50th anniversary of 'A House For Mr. Biswas', the book that won him the Nobel.
Sir Vidia, backstage after his session, in the middle of a conversation with author Romesh Gunesekera.
Audience rush in early to occupy prime seats before a session at Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai watches a session, between his own sessions.
Writer Farrukh Dhondy talks to the camera for a video series being shot by the JLF crew.
Lord Karan Bilimoria tries out his smile for a video in the same series.
(L to R) Journalists Jonathan Shainin, Pragya Tiwari and human rights barrister and writer Sadakat Kadri share notes before their session titled 'The Gaze: Here's Looking at Your, India'. In the mirror and out of focus (L to R) Sam Miller, Faisa Devji, JLF Co-Director Namita Gokhale, Sir V. S. Naipaul, Farrukh Dhondy and writer (and former media adviser to Tony Blair when he was PM) Lance Price.
They carry on the conversation on stage at the Purcell Room (L to R): Shainin, writer, publisher and activist Urvashi Butalia, Tiwari, Miller, writer and literary consultant Adrienne Loftus Parkins, Lord Desai and Kadri.
Urvashi Butalia makes a sharp point in the middle of a panel named 'Whose Feminism Is It Anyway?'
A fan comes on stage, with a selfie stick, to click a selfie with actress Shabana Azmi after her session. The session was titled 'Deconstructing Bollywood: Beyond the Cliches'.
Azmi in conversation with journalist Tina Brown (former editor of The Daily Beast, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair) in the Authors' Lounge, sharing the table with a guest.
Journalist Swapan Dasgupta in the midst of a panel discussion on Delhi, the capital and the durbar.
Bangladeshi author Tahmima Anam holds up a book cover for Tina Brown (extreme left) and JLF co-director William Dalrymple.
Rajasthani musician Kutle Khan grabs a quick bite before his act.
Kutle Khan interacts with the audience during his performance.
A Rajasthani kalbelia dancer has the audience enthralled at the Front Room of the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Members of the Kutle Khan Collective share a quick smoke outside the Artists' Entrance.
JLF Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale at the conclusion of the final session of the festival - "Debate: Has the Westminster Model of Democracy taken root in South Asia?"Suggest a correction