The Jaipur Literary Festival has become Asia's biggest literary festival, and the fact that some of the biggest names in the book world attend highlights India's growing appetite for good reads.
Oprah's here - but Salman Rushdie is not.
The fifth annual Jaipur Literature Festival has for a few years now attracted more and more major literary and cultural figures from across the world, including, this year, talk show host and reading evangelist Oprah Winfrey.
For five days, the festival, which started Friday, is taking over Jaipur, a city in central India. The festival has gotten so big that no sooner had the dates been announced – last year – then did nearby hotels get slammed with bookings. The rate at which the festival is growing in popularity highlights how much the book industry in India has grown.
The Jaipur Literature Festival had relatively humble beginnings: Its main purpose was to put literature, both in English and local languages, on the radar for Indians.
It seems to have worked.
Now, the festival is widely recognized as a destination for thinkers and writers. Publishers come to scout for talent and writers come looking for book deals. And hundreds of thousands of eyes are on it and watching the books that are discussed there.
It’s recently been described as “the Oscars” of the literary world.
“Of the many literary festivals in India, Jaipur is the big one. It’s the one to go and be seen at,” novelist Samit Basu told the Wall Street Journal.