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Program

 

 

As the East India Company extended its sway across India in the late eighteenth century, many remarkable artworks were commissioned by Company officials from Indian painters who had previously worked for the Mughals. Writer, historian, and festival co-director William Dalrymple celebrates the work of a series of extraordinary Indian artists, each with their own style, tastes, and agency, all of whom worked for British patrons between the 1770s and the bloody end of the Mughal rule in 1857. These hybrid paintings explore both the beauty of the Indian natural world and the social realities of the time in masterpieces of astonishing brilliance and originality. Introduced by celebrated writer and historian Katie Hickman.

Writer and tech journalist Vauhini Vara is a Canadian-American of Indian origin whose novel, The Immortal King Rao, raises philosophical questions on society and the limits of technology. A disquieting mirror of present realities, the novel traverses divergent timelines and planes of existence, each bound by a distinct moral fabric. Her upcoming collection of stories, This is Salvaged, takes a kaleidoscopic and ferociously tender look at loss and what people hold onto or discover in the wake of it. In conversation with Arsen Kashkashian, Vara takes us through the many dimensions of her writing life and the fabric that holds it all together.

Award-winning journalist Anjan Sundaram’s recent memoir, Breakup: A Marriage in Wartime, is a heartrending account of the personal price that war correspondents pay as they bear witness on the frontlines of humanitarian crimes across the world. Torn between his commitment to his family and his work, Sundaram’s writing evocatively translates his moral dilemmas as he travels through the Central African Republic in a compelling journey of horror and hatred, compassion and courage. In conversation with literary critic and author Merve Emre.

Guided by several teachers from the Beyond Academia Free Skool (BAFS), this workshop places community in the center of our intradependent ecology and creative writing practice. Afterwards, participants can install a piece of their writing in the Boulder Public Library gallery exhibit, Poems Beyond the Page.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic proponent of the importance of arts and humanities, Martin Puchner brings together a delightful history of humankind in his latest book, Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop. In an attempt to document cultural crescendos from ancient Greece to a time capsule left on the moon, the book alludes to fundamental questions about identity, community, and existence. Along with author and academic Merve Emre, Puchner elucidates the role of art in the propagation of knowledge and cultural discourses.

Writer and academic Amitava Kumar’s book, The Blue Book, is an intimate diary submerged into watercolors and words, giving us a look into his artistic response to our present times. He is also the author of A Time Outside This Time, an Orwellian adventure steeped in moral dilemmas, disinformation, and discord. His upcoming novel, My Beloved Life, takes an incisive look at how we tell our stories, write our histories, and how no single life is ever without consequence. All these narratives are bound together by Kumar’s ability to use imagery and language to create perspective. In conversation with broadcaster Maeve Conran.

Tsering Yangzom Lama’s debut novel, We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies, is a meditation on displacement, colonization, and the human need to remain connected to homes, families, and ancestral lands. Dawa Lokyitsang is a cultural anthropologist. Her scholarship focuses on how Tibetans produced a sovereign community in exile through the development of their own educational institutions in India to resist the dissolution of their identity as a people. Her scholarship sits at the intersection of Asian imperial-colonialisms, anti-colonial nationalisms, and Indigenous sovereign-futurisms. Academic and writer Natalie Avalos’ work focuses on urban Indigenous and Tibetan refugee religious life, healing historical trauma, and decolonial praxis. Moving across time and two continents, this is an evocative session that explores the Tibetan experience of exile and losing the homeland, and recording and chronicling it.

 

 

Join Aurora Poet Laureate Ahja Fox on a personalized tour of JLF where young ones will utilize their five senses, ask themselves stimulating questions, and write a generative poem of what it is they experience.

 

A powerful session examining the intersectionality of gender, power, and social justice.

Award-winning science journalist and author Angela Saini’s latest work, The Patriarchs: The Origins of Inequality, explores the roots of the patriarchal system, uncovering a complex history of how it first became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present. Renowned activist and award-winning documentarian Ruchira Gupta is the founder of the anti-sex-trafficking organization Apne Aap Women Worldwide. Her latest work,  I Kick and I Fly, is inspired by her experience making the Emmy-award winning documentary The Selling of Innocents, which follows the inspiring tale of a girl from Bihar, India, as she escapes the sex trade and understands the value of her body through Kung Fu. In conversation with author and academic Patricia Limerick, they explore key moments in the history of women to understand how oppression becomes normalized and patriarchy almost inevitable.

Writer Johan Elverskog’s book, The Buddha's Footprint: An Environmental History of Asia, takes a critical look at the interconnections between the rise of Buddhism and its impact on the environment. He examines the ways in which the contemporary image of Buddhism needs to be understood to see the true nature of Dharma, and also addresses the realities of its expansive religious and political systems. In conversation with historian and festival co-director William Dalrymple.

 

Come & celebrate local poets as they grip you with their electrifying words and then participate in an honest and invigorating discussion about their books, the process to be published, and the unspoken path taken once the newness of it goes dark. 

 

Once upon a time, in a far-away land, lived a girl who had a shape of the moon and was called Chandni. She loved to be in nature and the beautiful nature, comprising of the flowers, the mountains, the trees, the animals, gave her a gift. A gift of dance. But when the people of the far-away land saw her dance, they didn't understand it. So in fear, they told her not to dance. This made Chandni very sad but she didn't give up on dance. Then some people arrived from other lands and together they danced. When people from the far-way land saw how happy one becomes when they move together, they changed their mind and soon, everyone was dancing. In this way, Chandni could bring more happiness to her people. 

 

This 60-minutes Indian dance performance and workshop that tells Deepali's real-life story is about showing how a community can thrive when they can see the positive in new situations and adopt a sense of adventure. 

Put together with dances from different parts of India, 'The Dance of Empathy' is a journey to become aware of self and others and how we can help each other become the best versions of ourselves. 

In this session, practitioners of fiction explore the world of the written word and the processes that shape it. Discussing the porous borders between fact and fiction, imagination and experience, together these exceptional writers speak about the sources of their narrative craft.

 

Nigerian-born Igbo author Chika Unigwe’s recent novel, The Middle Daughter, is a modern retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone.

It follows the story of Nani as she grapples with rapid life changes after the death of her father and elder sister. An endearing tale of grief, abuse, and the search for belonging, the narrative takes a piercing look at Nani’s journey as she attempts to reclaim her life and agency. In conversation with academic and writer Nina Swamidoss McConigley,  Unigwe discusses the nuances of this powerful tale and its larger cultural and historical significance.

Medhini is a Sanskrit word for “ancient earth.” In a session immersed in fantastical lore, mythology, and art, Abhishek Singh speaks to Sanjoy K. Roy on the perennial wisdom of the Earth and oneness with nature. Singh’s work is known for its unique storytelling and has been showcased in museums like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Asia Society Texas Center, Houston; Middlebury College Museum of Art, Vermont; Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta; Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Arts, Budapest, Hungary; Mori Museum, Japan, and at festivals such as Burning Man and the Boom Festival.

Sprawling across a quarter of the world’s land mass and claiming nearly seven hundred million people, Britain’s empire was the largest in human history. In her illuminating and authoritative book Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire, Caroline Elkins reveals an evolutionary and racialised doctrine that espoused an unrelenting deployment of violence to secure and preserve British imperial interests. Elkins outlines how ideological foundations of violence were rooted in Victorian calls for punishing indigenous peoples who resisted subjugation, and how over time, this treatment became increasingly systematized. In conversation with author, historian, and festival co-director William Dalrymple, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Elkins explodes long-held myths and sheds disturbing new light on the empire’s role in shaping the world today.

 

“The Veda is an ocean of the purest and most condensed knowledge.”

The Rig Veda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns and one of the four sacred Hindu texts. Sri Aurobindo was an iconic 20th-century Indian philosopher, poet, nationalist, and yoga guru. Medical practitioner and writer Pariksith Singh’s latest work, Veda Made Simple, is an attempt to approach the vast complexity and scale of the Rig Veda through the perspectives of Sri Aurobindo. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Singh explores the world of this modern revolutionary and his attempts to understand the deep mysteries and revelations within one of the most sacred texts of the Hindu tradition.

How do enlightened masters outlive their own stories and become an enduring and living presence for religious and spiritual communities? This session considers the lives of two key figures of Tibetan Buddhism, Milarepa and Yeshe Tsogyal. Andrew Quintman and Holly Gayley introduce the literary representations of their lives and further consider the manifold ways in which those life stories move beyond the written page into artistic, ritual and lived dimensions. Considering cultural memory and contemporary manifestations, the session touches on the sensory, affective, and embodied aspects of enlightened lives.

Take a moment right now to look, listen, feel, and breathe. What is your body telling you? And your environment?

 

Dr. Maria Scunziano-Singh’s book, Be Consciously Healthy: Awaken To Your Best Life, takes a holistic approach to awaken the true reality of health with real-life advice and the fundamentals of healthy living. Better known as “Doctor Maria” or “Dr. M.” to her patients, her methods include a combination of conventional treatments and naturopathic medicine, with teachings on lifestyle, specific nutritional plans, and other integrative techniques. In an enlightening conversation with writer and entrepreneur Waylon Lewis, Dr. M. takes us on a journey to establish a more harmonious relationship with ourselves.

In the world of botany, loam is defined as a type of soil with an earthy mixture of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter to which its fertility is chiefly due. As writers, we have a tendency to only examine our concepts and creations rather than where they come from. For centuries, cultures have argued for the geographical richness of their soil. Be it due to decay, history, debris, war, erosion, spirituality, salt, and even ash, there has always been an identity associated with the land. Together we will seek to understand our tendencies, defaults, and penchants to activate our decisions with intention. In this generative and investigative workshop, participants will roll their sleeves up and get dirty as our pencils turn to shovels while we try to discover the contents of our own loams and use them as tools to vitalize, blossom, and prosper our writing.

 

The United States is split apart by conflicting ideologies, philosophies, and ways of life. This political polarization, symptomatic of a breakdown in communication, and the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, republicans and democrats, turns conversations and debates into showdowns. A session that searches the political spectrum to make sense of a society which is split wide open.

Internationally bestselling historian Katie Hickman brings together extraordinary stories of women who participated in the greatest mass migration in American history in her latest book Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West. The book draws on letters, diaries, and other contemporary accounts to unearth the lived realities of women in the “wild west.” From hard-drinking poker players and prostitutes of the new boom towns, “ordinary” wives, Chinese slave-brides, to the displaced Native American women, Brave Hearted is an account of how these women lived, survived, and shaped American history. In conversation with academic and writer Patricia Limerick, Hickman discusses the women of the American West and their reservoir of courage and resilience in the face of life-threatening change.

In the world of botany, loam is defined as a type of soil with an earthy mixture of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter to which its fertility is chiefly due. As writers, we have a tendency to only examine our concepts and creations rather than where they come from. For centuries, cultures have argued for the geographical richness of their soil. Be it due to decay, history, debris, war, erosion, spirituality, salt, and even ash, there has always been an identity associated with the land. Together we will seek to understand our tendencies, defaults, and penchants to activate our decisions with intention. In this generative and investigative workshop, participants will roll their sleeves up and get dirty as our pencils turn to shovels while we try to discover the contents of our own loams and use them as tools to vitalize, blossom, and prosper our writing.

Books are dangerous - as dangerous as the often unexpected and subversive ideas they contain. A session that examines the rationale of banning books across time and social landscapes, while also critically examining censorship and severe reactions to literary criticism and the socio-political milieu this reactionary environment represents.

 

 

As the East India Company extended its sway across India in the late eighteenth century, many remarkable artworks were commissioned by Company officials from Indian painters who had previously worked for the Mughals. Writer, historian, and festival co-director William Dalrymple celebrates the work of a series of extraordinary Indian artists, each with their own style, tastes, and agency, all of whom worked for British patrons between the 1770s and the bloody end of the Mughal rule in 1857. These hybrid paintings explore both the beauty of the Indian natural world and the social realities of the time in masterpieces of astonishing brilliance and originality. Introduced by celebrated writer and historian Katie Hickman.

Writer and tech journalist Vauhini Vara is a Canadian-American of Indian origin whose novel, The Immortal King Rao, raises philosophical questions on society and the limits of technology. A disquieting mirror of present realities, the novel traverses divergent timelines and planes of existence, each bound by a distinct moral fabric. Her upcoming collection of stories, This is Salvaged, takes a kaleidoscopic and ferociously tender look at loss and what people hold onto or discover in the wake of it. In conversation with Arsen Kashkashian, Vara takes us through the many dimensions of her writing life and the fabric that holds it all together.

Award-winning journalist Anjan Sundaram’s recent memoir, Breakup: A Marriage in Wartime, is a heartrending account of the personal price that war correspondents pay as they bear witness on the frontlines of humanitarian crimes across the world. Torn between his commitment to his family and his work, Sundaram’s writing evocatively translates his moral dilemmas as he travels through the Central African Republic in a compelling journey of horror and hatred, compassion and courage. In conversation with literary critic and author Merve Emre.

Guided by several teachers from the Beyond Academia Free Skool (BAFS), this workshop places community in the center of our intradependent ecology and creative writing practice. Afterwards, participants can install a piece of their writing in the Boulder Public Library gallery exhibit, Poems Beyond the Page.

Perhaps the most enthusiastic proponent of the importance of arts and humanities, Martin Puchner brings together a delightful history of humankind in his latest book, Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop. In an attempt to document cultural crescendos from ancient Greece to a time capsule left on the moon, the book alludes to fundamental questions about identity, community, and existence. Along with author and academic Merve Emre, Puchner elucidates the role of art in the propagation of knowledge and cultural discourses.

Writer and academic Amitava Kumar’s book, The Blue Book, is an intimate diary submerged into watercolors and words, giving us a look into his artistic response to our present times. He is also the author of A Time Outside This Time, an Orwellian adventure steeped in moral dilemmas, disinformation, and discord. His upcoming novel, My Beloved Life, takes an incisive look at how we tell our stories, write our histories, and how no single life is ever without consequence. All these narratives are bound together by Kumar’s ability to use imagery and language to create perspective. In conversation with broadcaster Maeve Conran.

Tsering Yangzom Lama’s debut novel, We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies, is a meditation on displacement, colonization, and the human need to remain connected to homes, families, and ancestral lands. Dawa Lokyitsang is a cultural anthropologist. Her scholarship focuses on how Tibetans produced a sovereign community in exile through the development of their own educational institutions in India to resist the dissolution of their identity as a people. Her scholarship sits at the intersection of Asian imperial-colonialisms, anti-colonial nationalisms, and Indigenous sovereign-futurisms. Academic and writer Natalie Avalos’ work focuses on urban Indigenous and Tibetan refugee religious life, healing historical trauma, and decolonial praxis. Moving across time and two continents, this is an evocative session that explores the Tibetan experience of exile and losing the homeland, and recording and chronicling it.

 

 

Join Aurora Poet Laureate Ahja Fox on a personalized tour of JLF where young ones will utilize their five senses, ask themselves stimulating questions, and write a generative poem of what it is they experience.

 

A powerful session examining the intersectionality of gender, power, and social justice.

Award-winning science journalist and author Angela Saini’s latest work, The Patriarchs: The Origins of Inequality, explores the roots of the patriarchal system, uncovering a complex history of how it first became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present. Renowned activist and award-winning documentarian Ruchira Gupta is the founder of the anti-sex-trafficking organization Apne Aap Women Worldwide. Her latest work,  I Kick and I Fly, is inspired by her experience making the Emmy-award winning documentary The Selling of Innocents, which follows the inspiring tale of a girl from Bihar, India, as she escapes the sex trade and understands the value of her body through Kung Fu. In conversation with author and academic Patricia Limerick, they explore key moments in the history of women to understand how oppression becomes normalized and patriarchy almost inevitable.

Writer Johan Elverskog’s book, The Buddha's Footprint: An Environmental History of Asia, takes a critical look at the interconnections between the rise of Buddhism and its impact on the environment. He examines the ways in which the contemporary image of Buddhism needs to be understood to see the true nature of Dharma, and also addresses the realities of its expansive religious and political systems. In conversation with historian and festival co-director William Dalrymple.

 

Come & celebrate local poets as they grip you with their electrifying words and then participate in an honest and invigorating discussion about their books, the process to be published, and the unspoken path taken once the newness of it goes dark. 

 

Once upon a time, in a far-away land, lived a girl who had a shape of the moon and was called Chandni. She loved to be in nature and the beautiful nature, comprising of the flowers, the mountains, the trees, the animals, gave her a gift. A gift of dance. But when the people of the far-away land saw her dance, they didn't understand it. So in fear, they told her not to dance. This made Chandni very sad but she didn't give up on dance. Then some people arrived from other lands and together they danced. When people from the far-way land saw how happy one becomes when they move together, they changed their mind and soon, everyone was dancing. In this way, Chandni could bring more happiness to her people. 

 

This 60-minutes Indian dance performance and workshop that tells Deepali's real-life story is about showing how a community can thrive when they can see the positive in new situations and adopt a sense of adventure. 

Put together with dances from different parts of India, 'The Dance of Empathy' is a journey to become aware of self and others and how we can help each other become the best versions of ourselves. 

In this session, practitioners of fiction explore the world of the written word and the processes that shape it. Discussing the porous borders between fact and fiction, imagination and experience, together these exceptional writers speak about the sources of their narrative craft.

 

Nigerian-born Igbo author Chika Unigwe’s recent novel, The Middle Daughter, is a modern retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone.

It follows the story of Nani as she grapples with rapid life changes after the death of her father and elder sister. An endearing tale of grief, abuse, and the search for belonging, the narrative takes a piercing look at Nani’s journey as she attempts to reclaim her life and agency. In conversation with academic and writer Nina Swamidoss McConigley,  Unigwe discusses the nuances of this powerful tale and its larger cultural and historical significance.

Medhini is a Sanskrit word for “ancient earth.” In a session immersed in fantastical lore, mythology, and art, Abhishek Singh speaks to Sanjoy K. Roy on the perennial wisdom of the Earth and oneness with nature. Singh’s work is known for its unique storytelling and has been showcased in museums like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Asia Society Texas Center, Houston; Middlebury College Museum of Art, Vermont; Michael C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta; Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asian Arts, Budapest, Hungary; Mori Museum, Japan, and at festivals such as Burning Man and the Boom Festival.

Sprawling across a quarter of the world’s land mass and claiming nearly seven hundred million people, Britain’s empire was the largest in human history. In her illuminating and authoritative book Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire, Caroline Elkins reveals an evolutionary and racialised doctrine that espoused an unrelenting deployment of violence to secure and preserve British imperial interests. Elkins outlines how ideological foundations of violence were rooted in Victorian calls for punishing indigenous peoples who resisted subjugation, and how over time, this treatment became increasingly systematized. In conversation with author, historian, and festival co-director William Dalrymple, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Elkins explodes long-held myths and sheds disturbing new light on the empire’s role in shaping the world today.

 

“The Veda is an ocean of the purest and most condensed knowledge.”

The Rig Veda is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns and one of the four sacred Hindu texts. Sri Aurobindo was an iconic 20th-century Indian philosopher, poet, nationalist, and yoga guru. Medical practitioner and writer Pariksith Singh’s latest work, Veda Made Simple, is an attempt to approach the vast complexity and scale of the Rig Veda through the perspectives of Sri Aurobindo. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Singh explores the world of this modern revolutionary and his attempts to understand the deep mysteries and revelations within one of the most sacred texts of the Hindu tradition.

How do enlightened masters outlive their own stories and become an enduring and living presence for religious and spiritual communities? This session considers the lives of two key figures of Tibetan Buddhism, Milarepa and Yeshe Tsogyal. Andrew Quintman and Holly Gayley introduce the literary representations of their lives and further consider the manifold ways in which those life stories move beyond the written page into artistic, ritual and lived dimensions. Considering cultural memory and contemporary manifestations, the session touches on the sensory, affective, and embodied aspects of enlightened lives.

Take a moment right now to look, listen, feel, and breathe. What is your body telling you? And your environment?

 

Dr. Maria Scunziano-Singh’s book, Be Consciously Healthy: Awaken To Your Best Life, takes a holistic approach to awaken the true reality of health with real-life advice and the fundamentals of healthy living. Better known as “Doctor Maria” or “Dr. M.” to her patients, her methods include a combination of conventional treatments and naturopathic medicine, with teachings on lifestyle, specific nutritional plans, and other integrative techniques. In an enlightening conversation with writer and entrepreneur Waylon Lewis, Dr. M. takes us on a journey to establish a more harmonious relationship with ourselves.

In the world of botany, loam is defined as a type of soil with an earthy mixture of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter to which its fertility is chiefly due. As writers, we have a tendency to only examine our concepts and creations rather than where they come from. For centuries, cultures have argued for the geographical richness of their soil. Be it due to decay, history, debris, war, erosion, spirituality, salt, and even ash, there has always been an identity associated with the land. Together we will seek to understand our tendencies, defaults, and penchants to activate our decisions with intention. In this generative and investigative workshop, participants will roll their sleeves up and get dirty as our pencils turn to shovels while we try to discover the contents of our own loams and use them as tools to vitalize, blossom, and prosper our writing.

 

The United States is split apart by conflicting ideologies, philosophies, and ways of life. This political polarization, symptomatic of a breakdown in communication, and the vast and growing gap between liberals and conservatives, republicans and democrats, turns conversations and debates into showdowns. A session that searches the political spectrum to make sense of a society which is split wide open.

Internationally bestselling historian Katie Hickman brings together extraordinary stories of women who participated in the greatest mass migration in American history in her latest book Brave Hearted: The Women of the American West. The book draws on letters, diaries, and other contemporary accounts to unearth the lived realities of women in the “wild west.” From hard-drinking poker players and prostitutes of the new boom towns, “ordinary” wives, Chinese slave-brides, to the displaced Native American women, Brave Hearted is an account of how these women lived, survived, and shaped American history. In conversation with academic and writer Patricia Limerick, Hickman discusses the women of the American West and their reservoir of courage and resilience in the face of life-threatening change.

In the world of botany, loam is defined as a type of soil with an earthy mixture of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter to which its fertility is chiefly due. As writers, we have a tendency to only examine our concepts and creations rather than where they come from. For centuries, cultures have argued for the geographical richness of their soil. Be it due to decay, history, debris, war, erosion, spirituality, salt, and even ash, there has always been an identity associated with the land. Together we will seek to understand our tendencies, defaults, and penchants to activate our decisions with intention. In this generative and investigative workshop, participants will roll their sleeves up and get dirty as our pencils turn to shovels while we try to discover the contents of our own loams and use them as tools to vitalize, blossom, and prosper our writing.

Books are dangerous - as dangerous as the often unexpected and subversive ideas they contain. A session that examines the rationale of banning books across time and social landscapes, while also critically examining censorship and severe reactions to literary criticism and the socio-political milieu this reactionary environment represents.