Attendees at the Jaipur Literary Festival come together to celebrate humanity and the written word. (photo courtesy Jaipur Festival)

Festival brings lineup of international and local authors

By Kerry Parry

The ZEE Jaipur Literary Festival, the largest free literary festival in the world, returns to Boulder Sept. 21-23 for the fourth year in a row, bringing with it a lineup of international and local authors and a spirit of reflection.

“People really love coming together to be exposed to and discuss issues of deep meaning,” says Jessie Friedman, executive director of the Jaipur Literary Festival of Colorado. “People crave depth.” She adds that attendees of the JLF “are just glowing.” The glow comes from bringing people into conversations with one another to, as Friedman puts it, “celebrate the written word and humanity.”

The festival takes place at the downtown Boulder Public Library. The public is welcome to attend this free festival; please register at jaipurliteraturefestival.org/boulder.

Friedman’s enthusiasm and hope for humanity helped the world-renowned literary festival select Boulder as its U.S. home, beating other contenders like Chicago, New York City and Atlanta. Friedman had been in India when she came across the festival and was “just blown away.” The event draws a half million participants in India. She found it meaningful when she witnessed thousands of schoolchildren getting the opportunity to ask questions of Pulitzer Prize winners.

 

Jessie Friedman, executive director, with Jules Levinson at the Jaipur Literary Festival. (photo courtesy Lisa Bell)

When she returned to Colorado, a friend and fan of the festival encouraged Friedman to write a proposal detailing the reasons why the festival should select Boulder as the first North American city for the festival’s expansion.

Attendees familiar with the JLF describe the Boulder event nostalgically, noting its similarity to the early days of the festival in India, says Friedman.

“JLF is the singular most enriching, exciting and positively intoxicating cultural event in Boulder.” says Ami Dayan, Boulder playwright. “With tons of outstanding world-class writers immersing in diverse conversations about the world, as seen and depicted via a literary lens, one can sense the minds of all attendees broaden, as their hearts expand.”

The program includes 43 sessions over three days, featuring authors from different backgrounds and points of view, making for inspiring and provocative conversations. Discussion topics include life and society, feminism, racism, economics, the arts, equity, freedom and environmental stewardship.