What to anticipate from Oppenheimer, Irrfan, Da Vinci, and Raja Ravi Varma during the 2024 Jaipur Literature Festival

Promising sessions at the Jaipur Literature Festival in February of next year include the intricacy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventiveness, the legacy of Raja Ravi Varma, and peeks into the life of Irrfan Khan, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Pranab Mukherjee.

Writer, historian, and co-director of the festival William Dalrymple spoke to the crowd at the occasion, stating that 2024 “will be our finest festival yet” and that the event strives to “raise the bar” each year.

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director (MD) of Teamwork Arts, added, “At the Jaipur Literature Festival, we inspire people through the power of stories. It is an opportunity to engage with a cross section of the arts, knowledge and innovation… a celebration of the joy of literature.”

What’s in store?

The discussion in this session will centre on the enduring influence of Raja Ravi Varma’s creative journey, drawing from the first two volumes of Ganesh V. Shivaswamy’s six-volume series Raja Ravi Varma: An Everlasting Imprint.

In a separate session, Luke Syson, the director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge and a museum curator and art historian, will discuss Leonardo da Vinci’s reputation as a scientist and inventor, as well as the intricacies of his creativity and personality, which have at times nearly eclipsed the significance of his goals and methods as a painter.

With his critically acclaimed Leonardo da Vinci – Painter at the Court of Milan, Syson has made an effort to comprehend the intricate character of one of the Renaissance’s most sought-after artists.

A workshop on Shubhra Gupta’s Irrfan: A Life in Movies, a cinema critic and writer, is also scheduled. The book is a compilation of interviews with the late actor’s friends and colleagues, detailing their recollections of him.

Kai Bird, the historian who won the Pulitzer Prize, will discuss his writing career and literary journey in a separate session. Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin co-wrote American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer, a film directed by Christopher Nolan, was inspired by this book.

The 17th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival will also feature the memoir Pranab My Father: A Daughter Remembers by Sharmistha Mukherjee, which provides an intriguing look into the remarkable life of the late Pranab Mukherjee, the thirteenth President of India.

A session on poet Gulzar’s works will also be held, using the six-volume Baal O-Par, a definitive compilation of Gulzar’s writings, translated and written by Rakhshanda Jalil.

Another session will focus on fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani’s global travels. His co-authored book, Journey to India Modern, with writer Alia Allana, will shed light on the career pathways he followed and the contemporary relevance of his opulent design company.

The part on spiritual history would cover a number of publications that delve into the ancient traditions of spiritual and mystic adventures as well as the hallowed ground of the high Himalaya.

Leading classicist and cultural analyst Mary Beard’s most recent book, Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern, will also be available. It delves into the ways that Roman art has influenced Western conceptions of power for more than two millennia.

In conversation with historian, writer and podcaster Tom Holland, she will discuss changing identities, deliberate misidentifications and the often-uncertain representations of authority.

The festival is once again providing an exclusive Friend of the Festival (FOF) package that grants entry to a special lounge where attendees may relax and socialise with presenters. Lunches and dinners, priority access to some seminars, and admission to live music events at the Jaipur Music Stage are all included in the package.

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