Melbourne, February 10: Pop-up festival JLF Melbourne will kick off this weekend in an explosion of colour, music and performance devoted to the best South Asian and Australian writing and ideas.

In the first collaboration between Melbourne Writers Festival and the Jaipur Literature Festival, JLF Melbourne will bring the magic of ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ to Fed Square for 11-12 February only.

Saturday’s Opening Night gala will feature a keynote address from internationally acclaimed economist, urban theorist and bestselling author Sanjeev Sanyal (The Indian Renaissance) on the state of India Now.

A host of free events will follow on Sunday including:

  • A dissection of world politics with keynote guest Sanjeev Sanyal, author and political commentator George Megalogenis (Australia’s Second Chance) and cultural studies professor Suvendrini Perera (Survival Media: The Politics and Poetics of Mobility and the War in Sri Lanka)
  • An exploration of diversity and transgender rights – including India’s landmark third gender ruling – with transgender  rights activist, dancer and actress Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (Red Lipstick: The Men in My Life, local radio presenter Sally Goldner (Sally’s Story) and dancer Raina Peterson (In Plain Sanskrit)
  • Powerful poetry and performance with activist rapper Sofia Ashraf (Kodaikanal Won’t), renowned novelist and poet Sampurna Chattarji (Space Gulliver: Chronicles of an Alien) and local poetry slam winner Omar Musa (Here Come the Dogs)
  • Reflections on the narratives of women India and around the world with literary historian and critic Rakhshanda Jalil (Invisible City), JLF co-director Namita Gokhale (Things to Leave Behind) and award-winning writer Michelle Cahill (The Herring Lass)
  • Tales of travel, history and self-discovery in the Indian subcontinent with award-winning novelist Mishi Saran (Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang), British writer Catherine Anderson (The End of All Our Exploring) and Namita Gokhale
  • Melbourne through the eyes of three emerging Indian writers via three immersive storyscapes. Download the Story City app now to begin exploring the city on Sunday.

JLF MelbourneMWF Festival Director Lisa Dempster said: “Melbourne Writers Festival is committed to bringing the best authors from across Asia to Melbourne to cement our ties with the Asia Pacific and show we are a truly global City of Literature.”

“It’s a bite-sized slice of Indian festival culture and we can’t wait to share this experience with Melbourne.”

While JLF Melbourne’s Opening Night gala has sold out, all Sunday sessions are free with no bookings required. See full program here

JLF Melbourne is held in collaboration with Melbourne Writers Festival, Teamwork Arts and Fed Square, supported by the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne for Asia TOPA.

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