Pakistani author pulls out on eve of Jaipur Literature Festival

The sixth edition of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival will begin at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur amid a host of threats from various sides.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have joined the party in wanting seven Pakistani authors banned from attending the Jaipur Literature Fest after the recent hostilities on the Line of Control (LOC), where reportedly two Indian soldiers died. 

On the eve of the festival, Random House publishers of Pakistani author, Mohammed Hanif have announced that he will not be able to attend the festival. 

Hanif, who was an important panelist and participating author at this year’s festival, is the author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, which was longlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize. His second novel, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, is one of the nominees for the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, to be announced on January 25.

The festival has also had to grapple with fringe communal organisations that have demanded the ban on entry to four authors this year, who had read excerpts from Booker winner Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses at last year’s fest.

However, organisers are upbeat and positive that the festival will carry on smoothly. Day One will see the likes of His Holiness Dalai Lama as well as Mahasweta Devi.  

Others expected to attend the festival include critics like Homi Bhabha and Amit Chaudhuri; novelists Howard Jacobson, Manil Suri, Nadeem Aslam and Sebastian Faulks; historians Faisal Devji, Orlando Figes, David Gilmour and Tom Holland; thinkers and public intellectuals like Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash; poets like John Burnside and Simon Armitage; economists like Nandan Nilekani and Edward Luce; and travel writers like Pico Iyer, Peter Hessler and Tim Parks.  Until going to press, the rest of the Pakistani authors were scheduled to attend the festival. 

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