Arts / Performing Arts

Major Indian Book Festival Hits Houston For the First Time, Bringing Big Name Authors

Two Days of Powerful Conversation

BY // 09.13.18

The Jaipur Literature Festival comes to Houston this weekend to present two days of South Asia’s literary and oral heritage featuring conversations with a number of acclaimed authors.

The festival kicks off at Asia Society Texas Center on Friday with a talk by Shashi Tharoor, current member of the Indian Parliament, former UN official, and author of a number of books. Tharoor’s most recent book, Why I Am a Hindu, delves into the “Hinduism of habit” practiced by everyday believers as well as the growth of political Hinduism in modern-day India. For more information on the day’s agenda, click here.

This is the first visit to Texas for the Indian event, which began in 2006 and is held annually in Jaipur, India. Festival organizers describe the event as bringing 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.”

The Houston edition of the festival does have a South Asian flair, but the programming also includes topics that are both closer to home and universal. “Dreams and Dystopias” is a conversation between Omar El Akkad and Milan Vaishnav on the “disquieting potential reality” of an American civil war. El Akkad is the author of the novel American War, while Vaishnav is a senior fellow and director of the South Asian Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. For more information on Saturday’s lineup, click here.

One highlight: Houston’s own Mimi Swartz will be in discussion with Sanjoy K. Roy about her new book, Ticker, an enthralling account of the creation of the artificial heart.

The festival in Houston is a partnership of Teamwork Arts, Asia Society Texas Center, Inprint, and the Consulate General of India.

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Check out the video below for a brief look at the festival.

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