Soneva Fushi Maldives will host ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’

Friday newsletters always feature luxury travel conteststips, or news.

Today: Soneva Fushi Maldives will host ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’

Teamwork Arts, producer of the iconic annual Jaipur Literature Festival and its international JLF extension events, and world-renowned hotel brand Soneva, have partnered to launch the first-ever JLF Soneva Fushi in the Maldives. Taking place from May 13 to 22, 2022, the arts and literary Festival will be held at the award-winning luxury resort, which is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (read my review here ort watch my YouTube video below).

The Jaipur Literature Festival is held annually in the pink city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, with yearly iterations of JLF in London, Belfast, New York, Colorado, Houston, Adelaide, Toronto and Doha. Teamwork Arts believes in the spirit of community and the hope, strength and vitality that literature and knowledge give to people. JLF’s international series, held across the world, has showcased the multilingual literary heritage of South Asia with the distinct flavour of its host regions, bringing together a diverse and engaged community of booklovers, thought leaders and influencers.

After global travel restrictions and lockdowns, JLF Soneva Fushi will be an opportunity to reconnect with the joys of live performances of art, music and literature against the backdrop of this idyllic island resort in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by pristine nature. In keeping with JLF’s international programming vision, the Festival will reinforce South Asia’s unique literary heritage with a caravan of globally celebrated authors and thinkers taking part in a range of stimulating panels, workshops, music, poetry readings and film screenings. Spread over ten days and two weekends, events will be held at stunning locations across the island, with themes as varied as travel, fiction, food, art, wellness, climate change and the environment.

A truly bespoke experience, JLF Soneva Fushi will be a study in Slow Life, with morning yoga sessions, stimulating workshops, delectable international food and jaw-dropping sunsets against a languorous blue sea (watch the YouTube video below for more information).

H.E. Sunjay Sudhir, High Commissioner of India to Maldives, said, “I am delighted that the first-ever edition of JLF Soneva Fushi Maldives will debut in this beautiful island nation soon. We believe JLF will provide an exceptional platform for a global audience to engage with India, its cultural and literary heritage as well as strengthen cultural and bilateral ties between India and the Maldives. Maldives will be the first country in India’s neighbourhood to find a place in JLF’s global footprint.”

Namita Gokhale, author and Festival Co-director, said, “JLF Soneva Fushi Maldives will be an inspirational journey where we will explore new horizons, celebrating the elements and sharing the power of words and ideas, of poetry and music.”

William Dalrymple, writer, historian and Festival Co-director, said,This is JLF’s most exotic and pleasurable adventure yet. I can’t wait!”

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We are delighted to partner with Soneva Fushi, which represents excellence in the world of experiential hospitality, in bringing JLF to the Maldives – with the best writers, thinkers, film-makers and thought leaders from across the world and India.”

Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Joint Creative Director, Soneva, said, We are really excited to be partnering with Teamwork Arts to bring JLF to Soneva Fushi. Together, we will bring authors and artists from all over the world to celebrate literature, music and art. Learning is a key component of our brand values and, with this Festival, Soneva offers all the attractions of a stunning Maldivian backdrop, while feeding the need for self-enrichment and cultural curiosity. We look forward to welcoming guests to this very special event, taking place over 10 days, full of truly unique sessions, events and workshops.”

A true advocate of literary and artistic traditions and democratic discourse, the Festival will bring together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue. The list of eminent speakers released today* includes Italian-American writer, André Aciman; Festival Co-director and award winning eminent author Namita Gokhale; celebrated author of the bestselling books The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, The First Crusade: The Call from the East and The New Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan; author, politician and former international civil servant Dr Shashi Tharoor; Indian columnist and novelist, Shobhaa De; and Festival Co-director, historian and celebrated author, William Dalrymple.

Sharing his thoughts, historian and writer Peter Frankopan said, “Climate and environmental change are the two biggest challenges that we face in the coming years and decades. Indeed, some believe that our survival as a species is dependent on preparing for and addressing these twin dangers. Soneva Fushi’s focus on sustainability and biodiversity has been its signature since it first opened. I can’t think of a more magical and appropriate setting to gather to share some invaluable lessons that history teaches about past periods of ecological and climate change – and how to learn from them.”

Novelist and columnist Shobhaa De said, “The magic of the Maldives will be enhanced many times over with the premier edition of the ‘World’s Biggest Lit Fest’, on its silver shores. This is bound to create a unique and soul-gratifying literary experience – with poetry readings under the stars, and intimate interactions with writers from across the world sharing their work on pristine beaches. I am hoping for a few underwater sessions as well! When a deep respect for the environment meets an equally deep respect for literature and the arts, one can look forward to an ‘out of the world’ event like no other.”

An ideal setting and host for JLF’s ninth landmark international extension, Soneva Fushi is the Maldives’ original barefoot hideaway, inspiring the imagination with striking beachfront villas and Water Retreats. Everything about the resort feels otherworldly, from the crystal-clear turquoise ocean and dolphins at sunset to the delicious meals available at the resort’s multiple dining destinations. Nature is nurtured, from the sustainable design and furnishings of the villas to the operations and Waste-to-Wealth Centre, all of which truly define the essence of ‘barefoot luxury’. Along with its naturally remote location, Soneva Fushi has implemented stringent health and safety protocols to safeguard the wellbeing of all guests, with on-arrival PCR testing in the comfort of their own private villas. Following a negative test result, guests can relax and enjoy everything the resort has to offer, mask-free – a welcome return to pre-pandemic normality (for detailed information about Soneva’s COVID-19 policy, go to this link).

Soneva is offering an exclusive package to guests attending JLF Soneva Fushi. Priced from $2,310 USD nett per night, per villa, it includes full access to the Festival sessions, events, activities and workshops, daily full board (with breakfast, lunch and dinner at selected restaurants), return shared seaplane transfers between Malé and Soneva Fushi, and complimentary full board stays for up to two children under seven (when staying with two paying adults). All guests will also enjoy Soneva Fushi’s complimentary experiences, including a 24/7 Barefoot Butler, children’s activities at The Den, access to the renowned chocolate, ice cream and cheese parlours, and so much more.

Contact me for more details and additional perks.

About Jaipur Literature Festival:

Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas.

The past decade has seen it transform into a global literary phenomenon having hosted over 2,000 speakers and welcoming over a million book lovers from across India and the globe.

Our core values remain unchanged: to serve as a democratic, non-aligned platform offering free and fair access.

Every year, the Festival brings together a diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue.

Writers and Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple, alongside producer Teamwork Arts, invite speakers to take part in the five-day programme set against the backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur.

Past speakers have ranged from Nobel Laureates J. M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Yunus and Joseph Stiglitz; Man Booker Prize winners Ben Okri, Douglas Stuart, Margaret Atwood and Paul Beatty; Sahitya Akademi winners Gulzar, Javed Akhtar, M. T. Vasudevan Nair, as well as the late Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi and U. R. Ananthamurthy; along with literary superstars including Amish Tripathi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Vikram Seth. An annual event that goes beyond literature, the Festival has also hosted Amartya Sen, Amitabh Bachchan, the late A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Bill Gates, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Stephen Fry, Thomas Piketty and former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.

The Jaipur Literature Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces it along with over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally.

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