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Mansi Khandelwal

IWB Blogger

Sanjoy Roy Shares The Last Minute Backstage Buzz From JLF @The British Library

  • IWB Post
  •  May 19, 2017


It’s not been long that the 10th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival bid us adieu that we are excitedly waiting for the next one!

But hold your horses because we have a good news for you!

ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival that was awarded the ‘Best Festival’ at the Outlook Traveller Awards this year has taken a flight to London for the fourth time!

And this year it’s even more special because ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ prepares to transform the iconic spaces of the British Library for the first time tomorrow.

Taking its inspiration from the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, the festival invites over 70 eminent authors and thinkers from across the globe who will explore the ‘Ideas of India’ through its 30 unique events.

To know about the last minute preparations and last day backstage buzz, Indian Women Blog spoke to Managing Director of Teamwork Arts and producer of JLF, Sanjoy K. Roy.

How is the 4th edition of the festival in London different from the previous ones?

This year we have moved to our new home – the British Library. It is special because it is home to the Indian archives and has hosted numerous authors over the decades who have researched their work here. At the British Library, we will have three new venues including a marquee on its forecourt.

Tell us about the conversations you’ve had with the speakers that are worthy to be taken to the stage?

Tomorrow we begin with our event, and I am glad seeing the buzz here. Speakers are arriving from across the world. Last night at a pre-festival dinner we had Dr. Sharad Paul talk about his book skin that deals with the fascinating history of skin and the genetic chains that bind races and species together and how he used his knowledge to predict the winners of the track and field event at the Olympics. Shrabani Basu spoke about her last book – Victoria and Abdul which has been turned into a film starring Judi Dench, and Namita Gokhale spoke about the rich and varied writing that spurs out across Indian languages.

What authors are coming for the first time to The British Library?

Authors who will be appearing at ZEE JLF@The British Library for the first time are Philip Norman, Layli Uddin, Roy Moxham, Sunny Singh, Sarvat Hasin, Paniz Musawi Natanzi, Humphrey Hawksley, Laura Susijn (Lit Agent).

How are you incorporating the Indian cultural heritage in the event décor?

Since ZEE JLF@The British Library will be one of the first major events in the UK as part of the UK-India Year of Culture, the theme of the festival has illustrations that are reminiscent of the street imagery of cities in India – depicting life and lifestyles.

Bursts of Indian colors, embroidery, and texture are seen in our decorative installations that welcome one and all to the festival.

How are the last minute preparations different in London from India?

The scale of JLF@britishlibrary is quite different from the mother festival and is way more contained. The run up to the festival in each country is quite the same with receptions, music, outdoor venues that have to be set up, the weather that needs to be taken into consideration, the box office flow, scheduling, look and feel …

Our continued effort is to create a sense of JLF in our additional festival across the world. Our colleagues from Teamwork have arrived, and we are ensconced in our temporary home at the Taj St James Court. Nonstop meetings and discussions continue through the late evening fixing and finalizing the last minute works!

We wish the team and the team all the luck and best wishes to make JLF @The British Library a gala event!

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