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JLF kicks off with Margaret Atwood’s keynote, hiked security

Thursday, Jan 21, 2016,13:25 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Jaipur | Soulful strains of classical music wafted through the chilly air as the ninth edition of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) kicked off here today at its usual venue, the sun-kissed Diggi Palace grounds, amid elaborate security arrangements.

Describing it as a celebration of words, Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje inaugurated the festival by lighting the ceremonial lamp, reminiscing about her childhood memories of reading books secretively. For me it is like going back to childhood, sitting here and going to a magical world, I want to thank all those creators of dreams who have brought views, thoughts and ideas for us to enjoy, she said.

This is a great experiment that gets bigger and bigger. I want to see Diggi palace bursting at the seams every year and I want to see Jaipur excited to be hosting this festival, she added. Extending a warm welcome to Booker winning author Margaret Atwood, Raje said this festival gives her the opportunity to finally meet authors whose books she bought to read over the years.

Canadian poet, novelist and critic Atwood, the guest of honour at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), while delivering her keynote address, said the last time she came to India was 27 years ago when there was no concept of literary festivals in the country. I have come a very long way. To be invited here I must be very important or very old, and I assume it must be the latter, she joked.

Atwood termed the Indian literary scenario as huge and complicated, and said that with the proliferation of the Internet, readership is increasing and books becoming more accessible to common people. In places which do not have a library or where people cannot afford books, there is a cellphone to not only read but also to write.

There is a lot more access to literacy, Atwood said. She called JLF a service to not only readers but also writers who can find their other half, that is their readers, who she termed the musicians of each book, with every musician rendering an individual interpretation.

Classical singer Gayatri Kaundinya and Rajasthani musicians Nathoo Lal Solanki and Chugge Khan initiated the festivities at the the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, 2016, which is set to witness over 360 participants from the fields of literature, history, politics, economy, art and culture debate and discuss on one platform during the course of the next five days.

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