Transgender activist and dancer Laxmi Narayan Tripathi; and politician and award-winning writer Shashi Tharoor live at JLF@Melbourne

New Delhi, January 10: In collaboration with the Melbourne Writers Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival will host ‘JLF@Melbourne’ – an exciting pop-up festival with a difference which will be a celebration of the written and spoken word.

Australia’s High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu, at a curtain-raiser event here on Tuesday evening, announced the Melbourne edition of the festival, which will feature internationally acclaimed writers and thinkers from India and Australia.

“In an extraordinary presentation of talks, performances, music and poetry at Fed Square, JLF@Melbourne will be an exploration of culture, migration, identity and gender issues, politics, environment, travel and history,” the organisers of the lit fest said.

At the invitation of Asia TOPA, JLF@Melbourne – a brand new summer festival will celebrate the best of South Asian and Australian writing and ideas.

Transgender activist and dancer - Laxmi Narayan Tripathi
Transgender activist and dancer – Laxmi Narayan Tripathi

MWF Festival Director Lisa Dempster said JLF@Melbourne would transport the magic, colour and excitement of one of the world’s biggest literary celebrations to Fed Square.

“JLF Melbourne will bring ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ to Australia’s City of Literature for just one weekend,” Ms Dempster said.

The thrilling pop-up festival will connect the unique identities of South Asia and Australia, featuring a single ticketed gala evening event, including a smorgasbord of food, drink and not-to-be-missed live performances, surrounded by a weekend of free events.

“Just like its Jaipur namesake, JLF Melbourne will be a fluid event where guests can move freely from session to session and really soak up the atmosphere,” Ms Dempster said.

Among the international stars unveiled are

  • eminent transgender rights activist, dancer and actress Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (Red Lipstick: The Men in My Life),
  • Indian politician and award-winning writer Shashi Tharoor (India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in Our Time),
  • esteemed travel writer and former reporter Mishi Saran (Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang) and
  • Sofia Ashraf, the powerful singer and songwriter behind the viral Kodaikanal Won’t rap video.

An impressive selection of local literary talent will also appear JLF@Melbourne, including journalist and political commentator George Megalogenis, distinguished writer and academic Tony Birch, journalist and screenwriter Benjamin Law and award-winning poet Michelle Cahill.

JLF@Melbourne will also see the launch of the City of Literature’s digital storytelling app, a collection of tales narrated by JLF Melbourne guests that will unfold for avid readers as they explore Fed Square.

JLF@Melbourne will be held Federation Square as part of Asia TOPA festival, celebrating Rajasthan literature and culture including a smorgasbord of food and drink, surrounded by a weekend of free events on 11-12 February.

Ms Dempster said JLF@Melbourne was the chance to discover amazing stories with the new storytelling app.

Shalini Singh

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