Keynote Address: On the Art of Publishing by Roberto Calasso
Launch of Global Translation Rights Catalogue 2017
Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu (Australian High Commissioner to India), Namita Gokhale, Sanjoy K. Roy, Neeta Gupta, and Aditi Maheshwari-Goyal
By Harish Alagappa, Official ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 Blogger
Over the last three years, Jaipur Bookmark (JBM) has become an integral avenue for discussions and interactions on the business side of the Jaipur Literature Festival. JBM sessions see publishers, agents, and writers discuss strategies to navigate the brave new media landscape, and explore hitherto under-represented narratives and literary styles. This year’s edition of Jaipur Bookmark continues in the same tradition, with a special focus on the often under-appreciated art of translation.
Driven by quickly developing digital technology, JBM explores the challenges and opportunities facing the publishing industry and welcomes the Digital Empowerment Foundation’s engagement. A host of Indian, South Asian and Asia Pacific authors, publishers and translation agencies are joined by international counterparts from Australia, Switzerland, Spain, Malta, France, and Germany.
The inaugural session of this year’s Jaipur Bookmark, held at the Hotel Diggi Palace’s historic Durbar Hall on the 18th of January 2017, was attended by luminaries, businesspeople, and lovers of literature from diverse industries and nations. After the traditional lighting of the lamp by the distinguished guests; founder-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Namita Gokhale, expressed how Jaipur Bookmark ‘celebrates the people and institutions at the core of the publishing and knowledge industries’. She expanded on one of the focal issues of this year’s JBM, translation, an art that she said, ‘transports words and meaning across the wharf of culture and history.’ Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, Sanjoy Roy, elucidated this vision further, stating that ‘Translation is a prime focus of everything we do at JLF’, adding, ‘the incredible diversity of Indian languages is where our cultural wealth lies and remains undiscovered’.
Her Excellency Harinder Sidhu, the Australian High Commissioner to India, launched the Global Translation Rights Catalogue 2017, a collection of 46 titles in six languages from Northeast India and Nepal. Her Excellency welcomed the audience in a series of languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Hebrew, and Punjabi before describing how as a diplomat, her job is to bring people together and that, ‘nothing brings people together like reading’, since it helps us understand a different culture and way of life.
The inaugural session concluded with a keynote address delivered by noted scholar, author, and publisher Roberto Calasso. Although he described his experiences and learnings from working with the famous Italian publishing firm Adelphi Edizioni since its founding in 1962, Calasso was characteristically humble about his own achievements, including his critically-praised 2015 book, The Art of the Publisher, stating that he had written ‘a few works on a very large subject’. Speaking of his presence at Jaipur Bookmark, Calasso expressed that he was ‘very happy to be back again’, and described himself as ‘a big fan of the festival’.
Photo Credits: Chetan Singh Gill