Jaipur Bookmark at Jaipur Literature Festival 2024 kickstarts discussions on breakthrough literary trends

The 11th edition of Jaipur Bookmark (JBM), a five-day publishing conclave for industry stakeholders running parallel to the iconic Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Series Jaipur Literature Festival, opened with a promise of stimulating discussions on evolving trends across writing, design, bookselling, marketing and legal frameworks.

Being held at Hotel Clarks Amer in Jaipur from February 1-5, the conclave brings together writers, translators, booksellers, publishers and literary agents from across the globe to foster connections as much for mutual values as for business opportunities in the industry.

At the inauguration, festival producer Sanjoy K Roy, festival co-director and acclaimed writer Namita Gokhale, and leading editor and JBM director Manisha Chaudhry, underlined the conference’s major theme this year: multilingual publishing and translations. “What’s the future? Where’s the next Daisy Rockwell?” asked Roy.

“The publishing industry is a custodian of dreams, and we are here to celebrate the core values of publishing and the professional aspects of the book trade,” said Gokhale, adding: “Thank you to the universe for the spoken world, the written world and the gift of language and universe that we are celebrating today.”

Chaudhry highlighted an array of important subjects, including LGBTQIA+ writing, dictionary-making, educational publishing, taxation and piracy, as well as important anniversaries of iconic publishers such as DC Books and Seagull Books, which will be addressed over the course of the twenty-five panels planned for this year.

“Translation remains the hero of our show and we reaffirm our commitment to it through the launch of Translation Rights Catalogue 2024,” she said. “The wheels of the publishing industry move smoothly only along the rails of friendship,” Chaudhry added as she acknowledged the longstanding partnership between JBM and the B2B platform’s country partner, the Norwegian Embassy situated in New Delhi.

Norwegian ambassador May-Elin Stener, who assumed her new post in August 2023, launched the comprehensive JBM Rights Catalogue. This catalogue showcases 50 titles in various Indian languages, such as Bangla, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and English, to facilitate their rights sales and exchange within and beyond the Indian subcontinent across multiple platforms (films, OTT, audiobooks, ebooks, etc.).

Jaipur Bookmark at Jaipur Literature Festival 2024 kickstarts discussions on breakthrough literary trends
Jaipur Bookmark at Jaipur Literature Festival 2024 kickstarts discussions on breakthrough literary trends

“I am, I believe, at the ‘Mecca’ of literature festivals. It’s my first time at the festival and in Jaipur and I must say that you are striving forward to conserve the art of publishing in this changing world,” said Ambassador Stener, appreciating all the same attempts to extend the frontiers of traditional publishing from printed books to their digital counterparts.

Two sessions happened on the opening day of JBM:


Speakers: Bharat Ola, Chintan Girish Modi, and Kinshuk Gupta

The discussion threw light on the challenges involved in Indian queer writing, especially in regional languages, where local literary circles and communities are often resistant to the full subversion of problematic social constructs even as regional writings indeed allow for more opportunities for the free expression of lived queer experiences.

“We are in a way ready to hear those narratives but how much are we ready to accept them?” said Kinshuk Gupta. The session ended with Bharat Ola reading an excerpt from his novel ‘Belindi’, Chintan Girish Modi reading his poem ‘Jalal’ from the anthology ‘Fearless Love’, and Kinshuk Gupta reading his poem ‘Radio Resident’.

Celebrating 50 Years of Publishing: DC BOOKS

Speaker: Ravi Decee

An indisputable success story in Indian language publishing, Malayalam books publisher DC Books is known for churning bestseller after bestseller among the 1500 odd books it puts out every year. Reflecting on a legacy that spans half a century and several awards, publisher Ravi Decee discussed the company’s strong foothold in the ecosystem, built on embracing debut writers and innovative marketing.

“My father laid the foundation of DC Books and was part of the literacy movement in Kerala, where the written word flourished. Consider that in 1945, there were 6000 libraries in the state, with six to eight of them in every panchayat. Cut to the modern day, Kerala is very enthused about reading and literature and Malayalam has witnessed the largest number of translations in recent years,” noted Decee. With plans to give away some twenty-five thousand copies of a special thirty-two-page book on Valentine’s Day this year, Decee expressed bullishness about demand in the industry, even with regards to poetry collections that are often considered less viable. “We have published around twenty to thirty new poetry books recently, ten of which are now bestsellers,” he added.

JBM offers a diverse line-up of discussions covering topics such as AI and the future of publishing, feminist publishing in India, podcasting and books, indie publishing, and more.

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