Assistant Director Yvette Judge gives us a snapshot of the team’s visit to Jaipur LitFest

Day 2 at Jaipur Literature Festival

Day 2 at Jaipur started with a lovely breakfast in the sun, looking out over the lawns. A quick drive to the Diggi Palace and then… where did all those people come from?? If Friday was busy, Saturday was thronged and possibly a little over-full….

First up was Thomas Piketty, the French economist – a brilliant speaker, and a great session with friendly yet heated debate; Arvind Subramania took M. Piketty to task for not focussing on India and China in his book Capital, but was given some good reasons why it hadn’t been possible (lack of available figures being one of them!). A great debate to start the day.

Manisha had a long chat with the person responsible for sponsorship at Jaipur while Isobel and I enjoyed hearing Meera Syal in conversation on her book House of Hidden Mothers – Meera is a must-see in Dubai, buy your tickets now! Funny, entertaining and poignant session, lots to make you think. I loved it. Also experienced the speaker almost not getting into her own event as the room crew didn’t recognise her… oops.

We had great meetings with Westland and Hachette publishers, and came up with some possible 2017 authors for Dubai.

I then improved my knowledge of Indian politics with the launch of Salman Kurshid’s book The Other Side of the Mountain, but didn’t enjoy seeing my face appear on the big screen during the event. LitFest team – you will be pleased to know it wasn’t my ‘resting’ face which isn’t always a jolly one; I was at least smiling!!

We bumped into Saira, who is a Dubai Litfest volunteer; she has also been getting ideas for us from the Jaipur Festival and we all agreed that we love the jackets worn by the volunteers; yet another 2017 plan.

There were issues with crowd control and at one point Isobel and I thought we were about to be squashed…

On our way back to the hotel we dived into a couple of fabric shops; the excess baggage may cancel out the cheap prices, let’s see.

The evening saw us invited to an event organised by HarperCollins, launching the new book by Gulzar. We also met with Arqem from Dubai Tourism and we look forward to exchanging ideas on what we saw and getting more feedback.

Overall impressions: some fantastic speakers, too many crowds and some interesting moderating.