Farmer Falgu at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017

Chitra Soundar reports back from the Jaipur Literature Festival where she was a speaker this year.

 January seems like a long time ago. But the memory of Jaipur Literature Festival is still fresh in my mind. It was my first time at the festival and I was proud to be a speaker (I had a badge that proclaimed it) and even prouder that I was able to launch two of my titles from the Farmer Falgu series at the festival.
The festival was in full swing when I turned up for my event. I was so nervous looking at the size of the venues, the crowd – the number of people milling about with selfie sticks and wonderful books.

The first thing that struck me was that a majority of the attendees were young people – late teens, university students and I heard from regular festival goers that the festival draws young people from across the country to hear thinkers, authors and to have a debate and discourse. While I was enjoying the festival atmosphere, I was also jealous that when I was growing up in India, we didn’t have these festivals.

Farmer Falgu books are set in the state of Rajasthan of which Jaipur is the capital. And the book that was launched in January Farmer Falgu Goes Kite Flying is set in the harvest festival which is celebrated in January in India. So it was perfect to be in Jaipur introducing the book.

My launch event was a mix of interview, reading and Q&A and it was interesting the book from a stage to a moving body of audience. More people came and sat down as I read the story and the questions were interesting and unique too. 

While I cringe when I watch a video of me performing, if you’re curious you can watch my entire event here.

The Farmer Falgu series has been published in more than four countries – India, Japan, France, Thailand, USA to start with. It’s going to be available in Germany soon too. While I’ve been busy launching the third and fourth books in the series and writing the fifth, Farmer Falgu rode on his bullock cart and landed on the UK shores.

Red Robin Books are the new home of Farmer Falgu in the UK and along with Boolino they’ve been helping Farmer Falgu reach more children. Find out more here.

Anyway, back to Jaipur Lit Festival, after my event was done, I treated myself to three days of the festival as a participant with exclusive access. I was in the author’s lounge, gawking at celebrity writers, talking selfies and outside in the festival taking pictures of interesting participants and listening to wonderful talks and panels.

With Perumal Murugan - bestselling novelist  in Tamil
Nandana Sen - actress, activist and now children's writer
Panel on books in translation
Panel on cultural appropriation
If you ever get an opportunity to combine a holiday with Jaipur Literature Festival, take it. I came back so inspired – especially about Indian writing in English. I brought back tons of books from the festival and read about eight books in a week. Find some of my reviews here.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that sounds like a fabulous experience, Chitra. And congrats on Farmer Falgu taking over the world!


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