The World is Coming to Boulder: Jaipur Literature Festival is Back

Calling all bookworms and bibliophiles! Summer is over and school is back in session, but the fun isn’t over yet.

In fact, for book nerds and art lovers alike, the main event of the year is just around the corner. The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) — the world’s largest free literary event described as the “greatest literary show on Earth” — is back, and Boulder is thoroughly honored to be a part of it.

The original Jaipur festival was founded in Asia, and is held annually at the Diggi Palace in the Rajasthani capital. That celebration does not kick off until January, but if India is not in your budget, or if your curiosity must be satisfied sooner, Boulder has you covered.Picture2

For the second year in a row, JLF is bringing the festivities of the world to Colorado, in the Boulder Public Library, from September 23-25. The main event is only two days long, but there will be activities and events held at the library the week prior in anticipation.

The festival is riveting, provocative, and inspiring — an explosion of literary discussions, socio-political conversations, music, art, poetry, theater, and writing workshops, accompanied by outdoor activities and exploration.

“Sit in one seat, and travel the world without moving an inch,” Festival Producer Sanjoy Roy says of the experience.

JLF Boulder features 60 widely diverse and distinguished speakers from across the globe including literary superstars such as 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, best-selling authors Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Stephen Graham Jones, Manuel Ramos, Patricia Limerick and Amitava Kumar — and many more.

This year JLF Boulder will also be welcoming royalty: very special guest Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, author of Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: A Portrait of Bhutan and Chief Patron of “Mountain Echoes,” the annual literature festival of Bhutan. She will discuss her country, one that developed the concept of “Gross National Happiness” (GNH) to reflect the “bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth.”

Says Sanjoy Roy, “We look forward to Her Majesty’s insights regarding Bhutanese culture, society, environment and history, and how many of the country’s concepts can apply worldwide.”


Festival Producer Sanjoy K. Roy


The variety of speakers ensures a topic to grab every audience member’s interest. Discussions will delve into election year, gun laws, inclusion, environment, war, migration, cities and travel, and terrorism, while literary subjects will span genres from graphic novels and mysteries to Game of Thrones.

Yet JLF’s goals go beyond just the week’s events, remark Sanjoy Roy and Jesse Friedman, a psychotherapist who helped bring the festival to Boulder (learn about her here). One aim of the festival is to tap into the Boulder County and Denver-area youth and minority communities, and galvanize young people, as Sanjoy Roy puts it, “to buy into ideas and to spark creation.”

Jesse Friedman says that JLF will do this by offering author visits and writing workshops, framing authors as empowering change-makers. Through school outreach, they will work with public and private school language arts programs. They will also build partnerships with nonprofits such as Bridge House and Attention Homes, the Americas Latino Eco Festival (ALEF),  and refugees in Denver.


That’s because even more than just book-trading, word- and world-sharing, JLF promotes dialogue and resonance with cultures across the globe, and endeavors to aid that acceptance by spreading education and awareness of the diversity that makes this world beautiful.


Admission to this wonderful event is free, but you must register to gain entry. Registration is now open, so click here to claim your spot.

To see the program, click here.

Here’s a video with last year’s highlights from the festival:

Feature article about Jaipur Literary Festival in the Boulder Source last year:


Photos courtesy of Jaipur Literary Festival

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