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JLF Houston Online Day 1

Saturday November 21, 2020 8:00 am

The annual edition of JLF Houston is back this year in a digital avatar with a stellar line-up of speakers. As the world goes through extraordinary and unprecedented times, Teamwork Arts, the producer of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival, has continued to create platforms for enriching conversations, free flowing ideas and dialogue, transcending physical and social boundaries. Scheduled between November 21-22, 2020, JLF Houston Online is presented in association with the Consulate General of India, Houston; Asia Society Texas Center; and Inprint.

To join the sessions register here. Registration is free an open to the public. To learn more about the festival including Day 2, click here.


Inaugural Address: Brave New World: 

8 am CST | 7:30 pm IST

Address by Namita Gokhale, William Dalrymple, Sanjoy K. Roy, Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Aseem R. Mahajan – The Consul General of India in Houston, Stephanie Todd-Wong, and Rich Levy

Keynote Session: Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America: 

8:30 am – 9:05 am CST | 8 – 8:35 pm IST

W. Caleb McDaniel in conversation with Morgan Jerkins

How Innovation Works: And Why It Flourishes in Freedom: 

9:15 am – 10 am CST | 08:45 PM – 9:30 pm IST

Matt Ridley in conversation with Shruti Rajagopalan

How Innovation Works: And Why it Flourishes in Freedom by Matt Ridley is a fascinating analysis of innovations across time and history. It argues that innovation is an incremental bottom-up and unpredictable process resulting from human exchange. The Fifth Viscount, Ridley is a hereditary peer who has been a member of the British Parliament and is also the author of The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge and The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. In conversation with scholar, economist and columnist Shruti Rajagopalan, he discusses the importance of collective and collaborative innovation and its significance in the shaping of the 21st century.

Winners Take All 

10:15 – 11 am CST | 9:45 – 10:30 pm IST

Anand Giridharadas in conversation with Kanishk Tharoor

Political philosopher and provocateur Anand Giridharadas takes on the privileged classes in his scorching new book, the bestselling Winners Take All. It investigates the global elite’s efforts to “change the world” except in ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. This searing critique of modern plutocrats who seek to do more good but never less harm is described as a call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike. A session that offers transformative perspectives to complex societal problems. In conversation with author and critic Kanishk Tharoor.

Bollywood- In Search of the Feminine Gaze 

11:15 am – 12 pm CST | 10:45 – 11:30 pm IST

Richa Chadda in conversation Surpiya Dravid

Bollywood, and the Indian film industry in general, is dominated by men and tends to have an innately masculine bias. However, recent trends have shown films centred around women actors and themes making their mark. The spirited and hugely popular actor Richa Chadda speaks of searching for the feminine sensibility and the important perspectives it represents. Chadda has a background in theater. Her major films include Masaan, Gangs of Wasseypur, and Sarabjit. She has won awards and accolades, received both critical and popular success as an actor, and consistently spoken up against patriarchy, misogyny, and injustice. In conversation with Supriya Dravid, she speaks of her career, films, and beliefs.

Myth and Modernity 

12:15 – 1 pm CST | 11:45 pm – 12:30 am IST

Amish and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni in conversation Vayu Naidu

Myth is the story that cannot be confined or constricted by time and place. The burgeoning myths that are being told and re-told around the world have origins dating back thousands of years, stretching their limbs into the current time as their relevance is estimated and assessed.  The speakers in this session are admirably poised to assess the cultural impact of myths in the current global setting. Amish, currently Director of the Nehru Center in London, is the bestselling author of the Shiva Trilogy, Rama Trilogy, and most recently, Legend of Suheldev. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s bestselling works include Mistress of Spices, Palace of Illusions, and Forest of Enchantments.In conversation with author and performance storyteller Vayu Naidu, the session will examine the interplay of modernity and ancient myth.