French participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival, 20-24 January 2012

French participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival
20 -24 January 2012

In a short span the Jaipur Literature Festival has become an essential calendar event in the Indian and Asian publishing world.

Founded by authors Namita Ghokhale and William Darlymple, the Jaipur literary festival, now in its fifth year, hosted some of the most remarkable writers from Europe, Africa, America, and from across the breadth of South Asia. Three noted French authors participated in the festival, which offered a range of readings, talks, debates, performances, children’s workshops and interactive sessions.


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French Participation at the Jaipur Literature Festival

France was represented by three authors and translators supported by the Book Office of the Institut Français, French Embassy.


- Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier are renowned for their English translation of the foundational work on modern feminism, Le Deuxième Sexe} (The Second Sex) by Simone de Beauvoir. These Franco-Americans (who made Paris their home 40 years ago) have translated The Second Sex} for Random House (Cape in London in 2009 , Knopf in New York in 2010 and paperback editions).



This translation has created a stir the world over as it replaces the one by H.M. Parshley published in 1953 by Knopf, which had truncated the original text by twenty percent. They make for a spirited duo who dwell upon the pertinence of The Second Sex, sixty years after its first publication by Gallimard. Borde and Malovany-Chevallier have been invited by the Book Office to tour India and participated in literary events in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, culminating in the Jaipur Literature Festival.


- Catherine Weinberger-Thomas, anthropologist, professor emeritus at INALCO (French National Institute for Eastern Languages and Civilisations), academician in residency at the University of Santa Barbara, has notably published Cendres d’immortalité : la crémation des veuves en Inde} on the cremation of widows in India. The book has been translated in English and published by Chicago University Press under the title Ashes of Immortality: Widow-burning in India"} .

- The Jaipur Literature Festival is one of the essential moments of the Book Section’s cooperation in India in terms of literary debates, exchange of ideas and thought as also discussions on publishing rights with the regular participation of French publishers.
An instance of the latter is Anne-Solange Noble, International copyright Director, Gallimard, who was initially invited last year by the Book Office and decided to return this year independently to share the stage for a session on bibliodiversity during the festival.



The festival provides an easy and convivial platform to connect with the crème de la crème of Indian authors and intellectuals.



Sessions with French authors

21st January

- 12.30 pm: "A Second Voice: Relooking Voices, Reworking Texts”

Session with Constance Borde, Sheila Malovany-Chevalier, Urs Widmer, Donal Mclaughlin, and Catherine Weinberger-Thomas. Moderated by Malashri Lal
(participation of Catherine Weinberger-Thomas to be confirmed)

In a remarkable new edition of Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork The Second Sex has been retranslated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. Urs Widmer, the writer of My Mother’s Lover, has been translated by Donal Mclaughlin. Together, they look at how the constraints of language and textual veracity can be overcome to give new life to creative works.


- 5.15 to 6.15 pm: "Bibliodiversity: A long round table"

Session with Anne-Solange Noble, Urvashi Butalia, S. Anand, Gill Coleridge, Meenakshi Thakur, Michael Krüger, Renuka Chatterjee, Akshay Pathak and Atiya Zaidi. Moderated by Neeta Gupta

The diverse and vibrant linguistic map of India needs to be reflected in its publishing industry. Across the world the homogenization of the market leads to a flattening out of important new voices even while the digital world offers endless opportunities. Eminent writers and publishers discuss these contradictions and ways to resolve them.

To see more photographs of the events, please click here.

Last modified on 24/01/2013

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