JLF New York: Each Other's Stories

JLF New York 2019: Each Other's Stories

Celebrating books, ideas, and dialogue, the Jaipur Literature Festival—described as “the greatest literary show on Earth”—returns to New York, featuring internationally acclaimed authors and thinkers in a range of provocative panels and debates. This year’s edition of JLF New York, from the organizers of the Jaipur Literature Festival, includes the launch of William Dalrymple’s latest book, The Anarchy, on the rise and significance of the East India Company.


12:00 p.m.–12:30 p.m.: Performance 
Utsav Lal, Raga and Jazz pianist and guitarist Alec Goldfarb

12:30 p.m. Inaugural Address: Each Other's Stories

Sanjoy K Roy, William Dalrymple, Ambassador Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India in New York and Tom Nagorski, Executive Vice President, Programming, Asia Society 

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.: Food, Memory, and Culture
Chandrahas Choudhary, Krishnendu Ray, and Adam Platt in conversation with Ligaya Mishan 
Our taste buds carry receptors of memory and food is an intangible trigger of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body. The complex relationship between food, memory, and narrative has been invoked by writers in literature across the world. To most of us, the food that we associate with home is an essential part of our identity and cultural heritage. Novelist Chandrahas Choudhury, academic and scholar of food studies Krishnendu Ray alongside iconic food critics Adam Platt and Ligaya Mishan discuss the intersections of food, memory, and culture. 

2:00 p.m.– 2:45 p.m.: These Lands We Call Home
Neeraj Kaushal, Prajwal Parajuly, Zarrar Said, and Alia Malek in conversation with Ruchira Gupta
Presented by Columbia University
In an age of immigrants and global movement, more and more people claim a multiplicity of coexisting identities. They seek better opportunities, flee from the horrors of war and politics, or seek refuge from natural calamities. The pain and suffering of dislocated communities are matched by rising decibels of nativist fervor. A panel of writers and thinkers looks at the forces of nationalism, the demographics, and economics of human movement, as well as the personal interpretations and stories of the lands we call home.

3:00 p.m.– 3:45 p.m.: Caste, Color, and Gender
Margo Jefferson, Sharmila Sen, and Yashica Dutt, in conversation with Prajwal Parajuly
Variables of race and color, class and gender confront and mock the very idea of social justice. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and critic Margo Jefferson is the author of Negroland, a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America. Sharmila Sen’s Not Quite Not White is a first-generation immigrant’s exploration of race and assimilation in the United States. New York-based Indian author and journalist Yashica Dutt’s memoir Coming Out as Dalit pushes us to confront the injustices of the Indian caste system. Together, they talk about these intersectionalities and share their experiences and convictions. 

4:00 p.m.– 4:45 p.m.: Mapping the Heavens
Priyamvada Natarajan introduced by journalist Sree Sreenivasan
Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University, Priyamvada Natarajan is noted for her work in mapping dark matter, dark energy, and black holes, she has authored Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos. With an extraordinary gift for making abstract and complex scientific ideas accessible to general audiences, she speaks of the missing pieces of the puzzle in our understanding of black holes and how some of her early theories have recently been vindicated.

5:00 p.m.– 5:45 p.m.: The Healing
Manisha Koirala in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy
Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala shares the highs and lows of her life, her career, relationships, and her battle with ovarian cancer. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, she speaks of the pressures of her film career, the life choices she was compelled to make, and how she redefined her priorities and regained a sense of balance and well-being. A no-holds-barred session about the emotional roller-coaster ride of Koirala’s life post-diagnosis, her learnings and inspirations, and the process of healing. 

6:00 p.m.– 6:45 p.m.: The Anarchy
William Dalrymple introduced by Sanjoy K. Roy
In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new administration run by English merchants who collected taxes through means of a ruthless private army, what we would now call an act of involuntary privatization. The East India Company’s founding charter authorized it to “wage war” and it had always used violence to gain its ends. But the creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than 500 years, it had trained up a security force of around 200,000 men and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself. The Company’s reach stretched until almost all of India and was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London. 

The Anarchy charts how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated and how it came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before.

7:00 p.m. Close

Authors' books are on sale all day and signings with the authors will follow the panels. 


Utsav Lal is an Indian pianist, improviser, educator, and composer. Often known as the “Raga Pianist”, Lal has set a precedent with his innovative handling of Indian classical music. A Young Steinway Artist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and several other prestigious venues across the globe. Lal tackles the limitations of the piano when confronted by an ancient tradition through inspiration from his guru Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar (of the legendary Dhrupad Dagar family), violinist Sharat Srivastava, and training with the world’s top musicians. 

Alec Goldfarb is an American composer, guitarist, artist, writer, and Indian classical musician. Winner of Downbeat magazine’s 35th annual Student Composition Award, he has worked with the Illinois Modern Ensemble and, most recently, with Jonah Bokaer Choreography as a guest composer on his production Neither. As a guitarist and performance artist, Goldfarb is as familiar with Jen Shyu as he is with Megadeth, and has performed in settings as wildly diverse as John Wetton, Mike Peters, Church Booty, and Klazz-ma-tazz. He is the first guitarist to perform the Senia style on an unmodified Western guitar. 


Chandrahas Choudhury is a novelist and essayist based in Delhi, and author of the novels Clouds and Arzee the Dwarf. In 2010, he was a visiting fellow at the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He is also the editor of a short introduction to India for the literary-minded traveler, India: A Traveler’s Literary Companion.

William Dalrymple is a bestselling author of numerous books, including Return of a King: An Indian Army in Afghanistan and Kohinoor, co-written with Anita Anand. His awards include the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award and the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize. His new book, The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company, will be published in September. Dalrymple is one of the founders and a co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival. 

Yashica Dutt is a journalist and the author of Coming out as Dalit. After almost a decade of reporting on culture in New Delhi and a lifetime of pretending to be ‘upper’ caste, she came out as Dalit in 2016. She lives in New York while navigating her identities as a brown, South Asian, and Dalit woman in the United States. 

Ruchira Gupta is a feminist campaigner, writer, visiting professor at NYU, and founded Apne Aap Women Worldwide. She has testified to the US Senate for the passage of the first US Trafficking Victim Protection Act. She advocated for the creation of the Trafficking Fund for Survivors at the United Nations. She has won an Emmy, the Clinton Global Citizen Award, the UN NGO CSW Woman of Distinction of Award, the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. She has edited River of Flesh & Other Stories, As If Women Matter: The Essential Gloria Steinem Reader, and  Antyajaa: Indian Journal of Women and Social Change

Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic and the author of Negroland: A Memoir and On Michael Jackson. Negroland received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, The Bridge Prize, The Heartland Prize, and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize. It was also named one of the 50 best memoirs of the last 50 years by The New York Times. Jefferson teaches in the Writing Program at Columbia University. 

Neeraj Kaushal is Professor of Social Policy at Columbia University and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  In her new book, Blaming Immigrants: Nationalism and the Economics of Global Movement, she investigates the core causes of rising disaffection towards immigrants globally and tests common complaints against immigration.  

Manisha Koirala is one of India’s leading film actors. Koirala made her Bollywood debut with Saudagar and went on to establish herself in films such as 1942: A Love Story, Akele Hum Akele Tum, Bombay, Khamoshi: The Musical, Dil Se, Mann, Lajja, and Company. She returned, in 2012, with the coming-of-age drama Dear Maya, Netflix’s Lust Stories, and Sanju. She was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1999 and 2015. Koirala was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and has been cancer-free since 2015.

Alia Malek is a journalist and former civil rights lawyer. She is the author of The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria and A Country Called Amreeka: US History Re-Told Through Arab American Lives. In addition, she is the editor of EUROPA: An Illustrated Introduction to Europe for Migrants and Refugees and Patriot Acts: Narratives of Post 9/11 Injustices. She is a recipient of the Marie Colvin Award, and the 12th annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities. She directs the International Reporting Program at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. 

Ligaya Mishan writes for The New York Times and is a contributing editor at T Magazine. Her criticism has appeared in the New York Review of Books, the Times Book Review, and The New Yorker. Her essay “Born in the U.S.A.: The Rise, and Triumph, of Asian-American Cuisine” was selected for the Best American Food Writing of 2018. She is the 2019 Mary Higgins Clark Chair in Creative Writing at Fordham University.

Priyamvada Natarajan is an astrophysicist and Professor at Yale. She has made seminal contributions to our current understanding of the formation and growth of black holes, and of the nature of dark matter by mapping it using gravitational lensing. A recipient of many awards and honors, she is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas that Reveal the Cosmos.

Prajwal Parajuly’s The Gurkha’s Daughter: Stories, his literary debut, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Land Where I Flee, was an Independent Book of the Year and a Kansas City Star Best Book of 2015. Parajuly’s writings have appeared in The New York Times, Guardian, Los Angeles Times, New Statesman, and have been performed on the BBC. He is the Clayton B. Ofstad endowed distinguished writer-in-residence at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

Krishnendu Ray is the Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU. He was a faculty member and the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at The Culinary Institute of America. He is the author of The Migrant’s Table, The Ethnic Restaurateur, and the co-editor of Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food, and South Asia. His most recent work is on street vending in global cities with attention to questions of law, livelihood, and liveliness of cities.

Sanjoy K. Roy is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 global cities, including the world’s largest free literary gathering — the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust working to provide support services for street and working children in the inner city of Delhi where over 55,000 children have benefited from education, training, and residential services. He is co-chair of the Art and Culture Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and President of Event and Entertainment Management Association. 

Zarrar Said’s debut novel, Pureland, drew immediate attention worldwide. Along with the recognition came controversy that his books were deemed too illicit for some bookstores to sell. Said believes that societies suffer from the prejudices that they keep and Pureland is one such story that has been lost due to hatred. His writing embodies themes of lost homelands, class discrimination, and dogmatic politics. 

Sharmila Sen is the author of the award-winning memoir manifesto Not Quite Not White and the Editorial Director of Harvard University Press. Previously, Dr. Sen was a member of the Harvard English department faculty.

In partnership with Asia Society


JLF New York
JLF New York

Event Details

Wed 18 Sep 2019
12 - 7 p.m.

Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Buy Tickets
$30 members; $40 students/seniors; $50 nonmembers
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