Jaipur Literature Festival Makes Its Texas Debut at Asia Society Texas Center

Jaipur Literature Festival at Houston

This September, the "greatest literary show on Earth" makes its debut in Texas with Jaipur Literature Festival at Houston (JLF), in partnership between Teamwork Arts, Asia Society Texas Center, Inprint, and the Consulate General of India. Renowned for being a sumptuous feast of ideas, the festival will present a showcase of South Asia's literary and oral heritage, with internationally acclaimed authors and thinkers taking part in a range of provocative panels and debates.

Join Teamwork Arts, Asia Society Texas Center, Inprint, and the Consulate General of India this fall for the first edition of JLF in the Lone Star State.

The festival will be host to dozens of authors from all around the world, as well as local literary figures from here in Houston. Read on to learn more about the schedule of events and the wide collection of voices you will hear from our stage.

Schedule | Author Biographies | Press Coverage | About the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival |
About Inprint | About Asia Society Texas Center


Friday, September 14, 2018
7 p.m. | Inaugural Address: Imagining Our Worlds
7:30 p.m. | Panel Discussion: India Sutra
8:30 p.m. | VIP Reception and Musical Performance
Friday's ticket includes admission to Saturday's programming.

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Saturday, September 15, 2018
10 a.m. | Opening Music Performance
10:45 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Panel Discussions in the Brown Theater and the Education Center
Admission is for Saturday only.

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Author Biographies

Jay K. AiyerRobin DavidsonChitra DivakaruniOmar El Akkad | Namita Gokhale |
Kurt HeinzelmanLacy M. JohnsonRich Levy | Sonal MansinghRubén Martínez |
Jasminne MendezMarcus Moench | Rajesh ParameswaranSharad P. Paul |
Daniel PeñaShobha Rao | Kathy ReichsSanjoy K. RoyNavtej SarnaAnis Shivani |
Mimi Swartz | Roberto TejadaShashi Tharoor | Marina TristánNovuyo Rosa Tshuma |
Milan Vaishnav

Jay K. Aiyer

Jay K. Aiyer is an accomplished professional with over 25 years of experience in education law/policy, public governance, technology, and American politics. An attorney and public policy expert, Aiyer serves as an Assistant Professor of Policy at The Jordan/Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University and an external researcher with the Houston Education Research Consortium at Rice University.

Robin Davidson

Robin Davidson is a poet, literary translator, and professor of creative writing for the University of Houston-Downtown. She served as the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate for the City of Houston under the leadership of Mayors Annise Parker and Sylvester Turner, and was a finalist for Texas State Poet Laureate in 2017.

Chitra Divakaruni

Chitra Divakaruni is an international bestselling and award-winning author. Her books have been translated into 29 languages and some, like Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into films. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Houston's internationally recognized program. Her latest novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, is a three-generational tale of mothers and daughters that explores the meaning of success.

Omar El Akkad

Omar El Akkad is an Egyptian-Canadian author and journalist. He has reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and numerous other locations. His debut novel, American War, has been translated into a dozen languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award and the Oregon Book Award, and has been nominated for eight other prizes.

Namita Gokhale

Namita Gokhale is a writer, publisher, and festival director. She is the author of 16 acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction. Gokhale is also a founder and co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival and of Mountain Echoes, the Bhutan Literature Festival. She is one of the founder-directors of Yatra Books, a publishing house specializing in translation.

Kurt Heinzelman

Kurt Heinzelman is a poet, translator, and scholar. His most recent book of poems was Whatever You May Say. He is an Honorary Professor at Swansea University in Wales, a former Director of Creative Writing at the University of Texas-Austin, and Co-Founder of Bat City Review and The Poetry Miscellany.

Lacy M. Johnson

Lacy M. Johnson is a professor, curator, activist, and author of the essay collection The Reckonings, the widely-acclaimed memoir The Other Side, and Trespasses. She teaches creative nonfiction at Rice University and is the Founding Director of the Houston Flood Museum.

Rich Levy

Rich Levy is a poet and, since 1995, executive director of Inprint, a literary organization in Houston, Texas. His collections include Why Me? and One or Two Lights, and his poems appear in various publications. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and a jazz obsessive.

Sonal Mansingh

Sonal Mansingh is a celebrated cultural personality of India and a member of parliament. Dr. Mansingh's books include Incredible India: Classical DancesDevpriya, and Sonal Mansingh: A Life Like No Other. She has also contributed a number of articles on dance and Indian culture in various magazines and newspapers. She is now the Kalapeethadheesh of Kalayoga Peetham at S-YVASA University, Bangalore, and has previously served as Chairperson of the Central Snageet Natak Akademi and several other official and cultural bodies. She is the recipient of India's highest civilian awards, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan, among other prestigious national and international awards and honors. She has also been nominated as Navratna for the Swachh Bharat Mission by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ruben Martinez

Rubén Martínez is the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador. Martínez is a writer, performer, and teacher. He holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University's Institute for Diversity in the Arts.

Jasminne Mendez

Jasminne Mendez is a poet, educator, performer, and award-winning author. Her first multi-genre memoir, Island of Dreams, was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. Her second book, Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry, was released earlier this year.

Marcus Moench

Marcus Moench is the founder of ISET-International and has worked extensively on water, climate, and urbanization particularly in Asia. With over three decades of experience, his approach combines science with a compassionately humorous eye on the drivers of social change and human behavior. Using art, as well as more traditional forms of publication, his work explores the mosaic of solutions to emerging environmental and other challenges.

Rajesh Parameswaran

Rajesh Parameswaran is the author of the short story collection I Am Executioner: Love Stories, a Washington Post best book of hte year. The collection was named one of the "25 Great Short Story Collections from the 21st Century So Far" by The Scottish Book Trust.

Sharad P. Paul

Sharad P. Paul is a skin cancer specialist, family physician, academic, evolutionary biologist, storyteller, social entrepreneur, and an adjunct professor at the Auckland University of Technology. In 2008, Dr. Paul was featured in international editions of TIME ("Open Heart Surgeon"). A noted polymath, he was named "Renaissance Man" by New Zealand Herald's Canvas magazine. In 2012, he was awarded the NZ Medical Association's highest award and was a finalist for New Zealander of the Year. In 2015, he received the Ko Awatea International Excellence Award for "Leading Health Improvement on a Global Scale and Patient-Centered Medicine Across Several Countries." He has authored several works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and medical textbooks. His latest book is The Genetics of Health.

Daniel Pena

Daniel Peña is a Puschart Prize-winning novelist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston-Downtown. His work can be seen in such outlets as Ploughshares, the Kenyon Review, NBC News, and The Guardian. He is the author of Bang: A Novel.

Shobha Rao

Shobha Rao is the author of the novel Girls Burn Brighter, and the short story collection An Unrestored Woman. She moved to the United States from India at the age of seven, and currently lives in San Francisco. This fall, Rao will be a teaching fellow at the New School.

Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs is an American crime writer, forensic anthropologist, and academic. In addition to technical books, Reichs has written 19 novels to date. She is one of 80 anthropologists currently certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Reichs is a producer for the TV series Bones, which is loosely based on her novels..

Sanjoy K. Roy

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 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.

Navtej Sarna

Navtej Sarna is the author of the novels The Exile and We Weren't Lovers Like That, the short story collection Winter Evenings, non-fiction works The Book of NanakSecond Thoughts and Indians at Herod's Gate, as well as two translations, Zafarnama and Savage Harvest. A professional diplomat since 1980, he has served as High Commissioner of India to the UK and Ambassador to Israel. He is currently India's Ambassador to the United States.

Anis Shivani

Anis Shivani is the Pushcart Prize-winning author of several books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including, most recently, Karachi Raj: A NovelSoraya: SonnetsLiterary Writing in the 21st Century: Conversations; and the forthcoming Logography: A Poetry Omnibus. His work appears in many leading literary journals, newspapers, and magazines.

Mimi Swartz

Mimi Swartz is a long-time executive director of Texas Monthly, and a two-time National Magazine Award winner, and a four-time finalist. The co-author of the national bestseller Power Failure, with Sherron Watkins, about the failures at Enron, her work has appeared in Vanity FairThe New YorkerEsquire, and Slate, and her op-ed pieces appear regularly in The New York Times.

Roberto Tejada

Roberto Tejada is the author of poetry collections Full Foreground and Exposition Park, as well as the art histories National Camera: Photography and Mexico's Image Environment and Celia Alvarez Muñoz. He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston, where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program and Art History Department.

Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor is an award-winning author of 17 books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Great Indian NovelInglorious Empire, and the recently published Why I Am A Hindu. A second-term Member of Parliament representing Thiruvananthapuram and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, Dr. Tharoor has served as Minister of State for Human Resource Development and for External Affairs in the Government of India.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of the novel House of Stone. In 2017, she was a resident fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation's prestigious Bellagio Center. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she was a Maytag Fellow and a recipient of a Rydson Award for Excellence in Fiction. Shadows, her short story collection, was published to critical acclaim in South Africa, and awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Brosnan Prize. Novuyo's writing has been featured in numerous anthologies, most recently McSweeney's and The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. Novuyo serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Bare Life Review, a journal of refugee and immigrant literature based in New York.

Milan Vaishnav

Milan Vaishnav is senior fellow and director of the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on the political economy of India. He is the author of When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics.

Marina Tristan

Marina Tristán is the assistant director of Arte Público Press at the University of Houston, where she oversees day-to-day operations with a particular emphasis in marketing and promotions for the press's books, authors, and programs. A Texas native, she has worked for Arte Público for more than 30 years..

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Press Coverage

First Jaipur Literary Festival in Houston: Leading Authors Share Narratives
Jaipur Literature Festival in Houston Showcases South Asia's Best Literary Minds
Stories from around the world find home in Houston's first Jaipur Lit Fest
Jaipur Literature Festival begins in Houston
First edition of Jaipur Literature Festival in Houston hits a chord with audience
Asia Society Texas Center Hosts the Greatest Literary Show: Jaipur Literature Festival

About the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2019

Described as the "greatest literary show on Earth," the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas. The past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted nearly 2,000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe. The Festival’s core values remain unchanged: to serve as a democratic, non-aligned platform offering free and fair access.

Every year, the Festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people, and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue. Writers and Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple alongside producers Teamwork Arts invite speakers to take part in the five-day program set against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur. Past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, and Muhammad Yunus; Man Booker Prize winners Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, and Paul Beatty; Sahitya Akademi winners Girish Karnad, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, as well as the late Mahasweta Devi and U.R. Ananthamurthy, along with literary superstars Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Vikram Seth.

An annual event that goes beyond literature, the Festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty, and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces it along with over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally. Over the years, Teamwork Arts has produced ZEE JLF at The British Library, ZEE JLF at Boulder, JLF at Houston, JLF at New York and JLF at Adelaide. Website: www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

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About Inprint

Inprint, a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 with the mission of inspiring readers and writers, has helped to transform Houston into a diverse and thriving literary metropolis. Inprint directly serves more than 15,000 Houstonians annually with low-cost or free literary performances for adults and children featuring leading writers; writers workshops for the general public, senior citizens, K-12 teachers, veterans, healthcare providers, the incarcerated, and more; and support for some of the world’s top emerging creative writers, in the form of fellowships and prizes — more than $4 million, to date.

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About Asia Society Texas Center

With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the West. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.

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Major support for Performing Arts programs comes from Nancy C. Allen, Milton D. Rosenau and Dr. Ellen R. Gritz, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, and the Anchorage Foundation. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Clayton Fund, Miller Theatre Advisory Board, New England Foundation for the Arts, the Wortham Foundation, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a premier group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional programming and exhibitions to Asia Society Texas Center. Jaipur Literature Festival is produced in Collaboration with Teamwork Arts and Inprint.

Performing Arts Program Sponsors

City of Houston HAA

Producing Partners

Teamwork Inprint India CG

Onsite Book Sales Provided By:

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