posted on May 31st, 2019

Asma Khan launches programme for Jaipur Literature Festival Belfast

Asma Khan

Star of Netflix’s Chef’s Table, founder of charity, Second Daughters Fund, and owner of Darjeeling Express restaurant, Asma Khan, visited Belfast recently to launch the JLF Belfast programme of events.

JLF Belfast recreate the magnificent atmosphere of the legendary Jaipur Literature Festival in India when it comes to the region for the first time on 21-23 June, with a packed weekend of events at the Lyric Theatre Belfast and the Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy.  

Hosted in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council Northern Ireland and the Festival’s producers, Teamwork Arts, JLF Belfast will bring a true spirit of the original festival, hailed as one of the greatest literary shows on earth. It features readings, panel discussions and debates with acclaimed writers and cultural thinkers from India, Ireland and the UK, gathered to share each other’s stories in a celebration of books, poems, creativity, ideas, food and  music. Themes under discussion throughout the weekend will include Borders, Food, Gender, Peace and Non-violence, Women and Freedom, Mythology and Looking into the Future: Artificial Intelligence.

Among those confirmed for the 2019 JLF Belfast line-up are:  

Asma Khan: celebrity chef, restauranteur, epicure, author, founder of charity Second Daughter’s Fund and star of Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

 Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee: distinguished granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi who has devoted her life to working for public welfare.

Shashi Tharoor: dynamic Indian politician, acclaimed author, witty raconteur and former diplomat and UN office-bearer.

Namita Gokhale: Award-winning author, publisher, columnist and Festival Co-Ordinator of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Marcus Du Sautoy: author, renowned mathematician and the Oxford Simonyi Professor for Public Understanding of Science.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi: outspoken activist, dancer, actress and leader of the movement which got India’s Supreme Court to recognize the third gender.

The above join the list of distinguished speakers already announced including:  Patrick Gale, Brian Keenan, Ruth Padel and William Dalrymple, alongside a wealth of immense writing talent from Northern Ireland, David Park, Shannon Yee, Glenn Patterson, Jan Carson, Garrett Carr, Paul McVeigh, Malachi O’Doherty and Lucy Caldwell.

Pictured is writer, Jan Carson, chef, Asma Khan and writer Paul McVeigh.

Paul McVeigh, Writer and Programmer JLF Belfast, commented: “Never been to India? Well, a little of Jaipur is coming here to us. We are delighted to reveal today the final details of our June programme and there is much to look forward to. The festival will be a wonderful, immersive experience. If you love listening to and engaging with writers and thinkers from around the world then you’ll love JLF Belfast.”

Namita Gokhale, Writer and co-Director of the festival, commented: “The newest edition of JLF Belfast takes our festival into the heart of an intense and passionate literary culture. In the last several years, the Jaipur Literature Festival has had the pleasure of welcoming writers of the stature of Anne Enright, Colm Toibin, David McWilliams, David Park, Glenn Patterson, Jan Carson, Jon Halliday, Joseph O’Neill, Patricia Forde, Paul McVeigh, Roddy Doyle and Roy Foster among others. We have been inspired by the literature, drama, and songs of Irish culture, as indeed the art of conversation and orality. Our international editions, now including JLF Belfast are all rooted and local and yet deeply cosmopolitan. The long connections between Irish and Indian literature have helped us appreciate the resonances between them.” 

View the full programme of events at  

Tickets for JLF Belfast start from £25 for a day pass/ £14 Concession

To book your ticket visit or