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Jaipur Literature Festival comes to an end; organisers confirm Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan for 2016

Prajakta Hebbar | http://imsopraj

First published: January 25, 2015, 8:04 PM IST | Updated: January 25, 2015
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Jaipur Literature Festival comes to an end; organisers confirm Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan for 2016
This year the festival welcomed over 300 authors and 140 musicians.

Jaipur: The eighth edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival, the world's largest free literary festival, ended on a high today as the festival announced 2,45,000 recorded footfalls over the five days -- a record number.

The festival has seen a doubling of international visitors from 50 difference countries, and a 40 per cent increase in students attending the festival held at Diggi Palace. This year the festival welcomed over 300 authors and 140 musicians. They participated in 209 sessions across 10 venues, including two new locations -- Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal. The Festival furthered its mission of making literature accessible to all by taking authors to schools in Jaipur, with 50 sessions taking place over two weeks in partnership with Pratham Books.

Notable session of the festival included two packed sessions each for Nobel laureate Sir VS Naipaul and former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. The two speakers drew the biggest audience at the Rajnigandha Front Lawn with 5,000 excited book lovers per event.

Other highlights over the five days included Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, renowned travel writer Paul Theroux, legends of the silver screen Waheeda Rehman, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, as well as leading novelists Sarah Waters, Kamila Shamsie, Amit Chaudhuri and Eimear McBride.

This year the Festival awarded three prizes, including the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, which was won by Jhumpa Lahiri, the Ojas Art Award which was presented to Bhajju Shyam and Venkat Raman Singh Shyam, as well as the Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize for Poetry which was awarded to poet Arundhathi Subramaniam for her work 'When God is a Traveller'.

The festival closed on Sunday evening with a debate on 'Is culture is the new politics', featuring Suhel Seth, Rajiv Malhotra, Arshia Sattar and Shazia Ilmi. The audience were also polled on the debate during the event, with 55.7 per cent agreeing that culture, is the new politics.

The Jaipur Literature Festival set to be held at the Southbank Centre in London this May, and then in Boulder, Colorado, US in the autumn.

William Dalrymple, author and co-Director of the festival, said, "This has been a phenomenal year. We already have Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Noam Chomsky, AL Kennedy and Thomas Piketty confirmed for next year!"

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