Science will be one of the focal points at the upcoming Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) with a line-up of sessions on topics like artificial intelligence, genetics, post-human future, cli-fi (climate change fiction).
As the curtains on the 12th edition of JLF went up Monday evening, co-director Namita Gokhale told PTI that this year the literary extravaganza would lay greater emphasis on "science", something they would "want to develop even further in future years".
"Our world is changing so fast... this year we have sessions on artificial intelligence, genetics and what the future holds for our planet. There is a new term now -- cli-fi. We have a beautiful session on cli-fi, on what would happen if bees disappear.
"I feel at this moment in our country it is very very important to give impetus to empirical thinking," the author of "Paro: Dreams of Passion" said.
Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan will speak on the 'Importance of Science', cosmologist Priyamvada Natarajan on 'Mapping the Heavens' and professor of AI Toby Walsh on 'How the Future is Now' among others.
The five-day festival to be held at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur from January 24, will see over 350 speakers including writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers from across the world.
The opening ceremony on Monday evening, which offered a sneak peek into what the literary celebration would be like, also witnessed an engaging session on 'The First Draft of History: The Perils of Journalism' moderated by journalist and author Swati Chaturvedi at the Taj Mahal hotel in New Delhi.
A veritable power-house roster of speakers, which will be present at the festival, features a stellar line up of Indian and International names covering issues as Kaleidoscopic as classics, war, espionage, intelligence, politics, environment, gender, along with broader themes such as mythology, crime, science, history and cinema.
"The line up this time is so extra-ordinary that it is as good as we have ever had before.
"In fiction, I have been trying for seven years to get Yan Martel of the 'Life of Pi'... he has finally said yes, Colson Whitehead whose 'Underground Railroad' won every single literary award in America last year, is one of our big stars... I can say this is the strongest programme we have ever put together," William Dalrymple, author and co-director of the festival, said.
The list includes Ben Okri, writer of Man-Booker-winning 'The Famished Road',
English historian Bettany Hughes, British-Nigerian historian David Olusoga, famous novelist Jeffrey Archer and English scholar Mary Beard.
Among speakers from within the country there will be politician-author Shashi Tharoor, diplomat Navtej Sarna, Kishwar Desai, Ira Mukhoty, Amitabha Bagchi, Amitava Kumar, Anita Nair, Devdutt Pattanaik, Makarand Paranjape, Naina Lal Kidwai, Rana Dasgupta.
The Jaipur BookMark (JBM) that runs parallel to the literary festival, in its sixth edition will continue to serve as a platform to bring together publishers, literary agents, translation agencies and writers.
JBM, this year, has also announced a new initiative - iWrite #MyStories calling out to writers to share their unpublished manuscripts.
JLF will come to a close on January 28.