Prominent writers and artists gather for a spectacular weekend of creative discourse, music and cultural events

JLF Doha Brings a Feast of Ideas And Culture to Qatar National Library

13 December 2019

An exciting opening ceremony inaugurated JLF Doha, the region’s first international literature festival, at Qatar National Library this evening, bringing the spirit and splendour of the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival to Qatar.  

The Festival runs through 13 and 14 December and is open to the entire community to enjoy a program of lively discussions, stimulating lectures, storytelling and theater workshops and live music performances. The weekend’s events also give visitors an opportunity to be part of a narrative of global literature and South Asian culture, with an expansive outdoor area hosting Indian food stalls and other snack shops. Attendees will get to purchase gifts and books at the Library’s first pop-up store.

A musical recital by violinist and composer Sharat Chandra Srivastava and Ravinder Kumar Soni opened the Festival on Thursday, which was followed by the inaugural address, “Each Other’s Stories.” The exchange between His Excellency Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Horr, Director of Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Namita Gokhale, author and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival; and Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts which produces the Jaipur Literature Festival, highlighted the significance of JLF Doha for Qatar’s literary scene and the Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture.

The Festival is sponsored by the Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ooredoo, Qatar’s leading telecommunications operator.

Sanjoy K. Roy said: “We are excited to bring a version of the world’s biggest literary event to Doha, which explores diversity and creates a platform to celebrate world literature and commonality between our cultures.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jeffrey Gettleman presented the keynote session, “In Denial: A Betrayal of the Earth,” in which he spoke of his experiences as a correspondent in Africa and South Asia and the pressing issues of famine, conflict and the perils to the environment.

Gettleman said: “I believe Qatar has really shown a commitment to the arts through Qatar National Library, so it is wonderful to see the Library embrace one of the best literature festivals in the world. I hope this continues to grow over the coming years, and people take full advantage of all the talent and interesting speakers here.”

The stimulating program continues tomorrow with sessions on a range of subjects, from William Dalrymple’s history of the East India Company to an evening with legendary actress Sharmila Tagore. A theater workshop, “Shakespeare in Movement,” presented by actor and playwright Kim Pereira, will immerse participants in a performance of Shakespeare’s verse and prose.

Dr. Sohair Wastawy, Executive Director of Qatar National Library, said: “We are thrilled that the long-awaited JLF Doha has finally arrived, and we are delighted to offer the global literary community space and freedom at the Library to unleash their ideas and creativity. The atmosphere at the Festival’s opening night was incredible, and we expect more of the same over the next two days as Qatar’s creative community joins its voices and ideas with those of the world’s greatest writers.”

The third and final day of JLF Doha opens with the delicate musical renditions of Barnali Chattopadhyay and Debjit Patitundi. Award-winning Qatari writer and poet Kaltam Jabor M. Al-Kuwari will take part in a multi-vocal reading of poetry in which different languages and styles converge in a joyous celebration as six poets read from their work. 

In the Festival’s second workshop, author Musharraf Ali Farooqi opens up a new world for children, parents and educators by sharing the art of interactive storytelling, which he developed to help children become avid readers. His Storykit program has been successfully employed by UNESCO in primary schools to improve children's reading skills.

JLF Doha events are open to the public and free to attend. For more information about the program, please visit: