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The Best Literary Festivals In India
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The Best Literary Festivals In India

Picture of Shreyas Kulkarni
Updated: 21 October 2016
India is one of the world’s largest consumers of literature; Indians reportedly read more in a single day than other demographic. To contain this appetite, a plethora of literary festivals have blossomed over the years. We take a look at some of the best.
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Jaipur Literature Festival

An annual literature festival held in the month of January at the exquisite Diggi Palace in Jaipur. This festival, which first began in 2006 with around 30 writers and around a 100 people in attendance, is today the biggest free literary festival on the planet. Noble Laureates, Booker Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners and more are some of the type of people you can meet here. Each year, there are interesting sessions held around contemporary topics. There also some brilliant live musical performances. The numbers of attendees keeps on growing, and it’s no surprise when the festival can also offer speakers such as Salam Rushdie, Pico Iyer, Orhan Pamuk, Amartya Sen and many more. The 2016’s line-up includes the likes of Stephen Fry and Margaret Atwood.

Diggi House, Shivaji Marg, C-Scheme, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival

One of India’s biggest literature festivals, the Apeejay Kolkata Literature Festival will be in its sixth year in 2016. It’s a very famous festival showcasing the best of Kolkata, and alongside eminent speakers, journalists, musicians and artists, the festival also organizes workshops for budding writers and brilliant traditional dance performances. It is the first literature festival of the year and begins early in January. If you happen to be in Kolkata, do visit to enjoy some interesting conversations and enthralling music and art performances. Past speakers include former UN Under Secretary Shashi Tharoor, historian Ramchandra Guha.

Held over various venues in Kolkata and at the Oxford Book Store

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Hyderabad Literary Festival

The Hyderabad Literary Festival, held in January, is famous throughout the country. The festival schedule includes conversations with authors, reading, panel discussion, workshop and book launches as well as cultural programmes –all for free. Each year, they invite a foreign nation to attend and showcase its literature and culture. In 2015, it was Poland. The festival also picks one regional language each year and promotes it, Urdu was the language chosen in 2015. Past speakers include Arun Shourie, Alexandra Buchler, Jan Zabeil and many more.

1-11-87 & 88 SP Road Begumpet, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

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Tata Literature Live

Tata Literature Live is held annually in the first week of November at the National Centre of Performing Arts, Mumbai. This literature festival has grown to become India’s finest festivals, with over 120 speakers attending the four day event and debating emerging trends and issues, new forms of literature and writing, old authors and epics. It’s a real thrill. Past speakers include Ashwin Sanghi, Devduut Patnaik, Gurucharan Das, Martin Moran, Nicholas Johnson, Thomas Friedman and many more.

NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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Times Literary Carnival

The brainchild of journalists Bachi Karkaria and Namita Devidayal, the Times Literary Carnival has blossomed into one of the best literary festivals in India. A three-day event, India’s best speakers and writers descend here every December. Held at Mehboob Studios, this festival has the best of Mumbai meeting together for superb conversation and debates and is awaited eagerly by many Mumbaikars. You can expect to bump into a few Bollywood stars or top businessmen here without the fuss and security.

Hill Road, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India