Promotion of EU Prizes, ECOC, Outreach
13 Jul 2021

Acclaimed European authors join Jaipur Literature Festival Digital Series

Described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’, the Jaipur Literature Festival is a sumptuous feast of ideas and inspiration. This summer, the Festival launched its digital edition, inviting viewers on a unique journey to uncover new writings from Europe, India and beyond.

The European Union will be represented in this new series through three critically-acclaimed authors: Merete Pryds Helle from Denmark; Ernest van der Kwast from the Netherlands, and Javier Moro from Spain. The programme has been organised by the Cultural Relations Platform (an EU-funded initiative), EUNIC Cluster India, the Delegation of the European Union to India, the embassies of Denmark and the Netherlands and the Instituto Cervantes from Spain. This collaboration is a continuation of recent exchanges between European and Indian writers, publishers, and literary industry professionals.

Showcasing not just the depth of European literary traditions and contemporary writing, the sessions will also delve into the personal connections of the authors with India and its literary milieu. Ernest van der Kwast will be in conversation with Zac O’Yeah and discuss his bestselling novel Mama Tandoori ­– an autobiographical tale about the author’s relationship with his mother who moved from India to settle in the Netherlands.

One of Spain’s most acclaimed novelists, Javier Moro, who has written extensively on India, with titles including The Red Sari, The Jaipur Foot and Passion India to his name, will discuss his works with Mohini Gupta. Bestselling Danish author Merete Pryds Helle will join Supriya Dravid to discuss her take on the transformation of one of theatre’s most iconic figures – Nora Helmer, as detailed in her critically acclaimed novel Nora, which is part of a pan-Nordic collaboration of three novels inspired by Ibsen’s dramas.

Anyone can watch the sessions live and for free, simply by registering on the Jaipur Literature Festival website.


Friday 16 July8.30pm IST / 5:00pm CETMama TandooriErnest van der Kwast in conversation with Zac O’Yeah
Friday 30 July8:30pm IST / 5:00pm CET‘Nora’: Retelling A Doll’s HouseMerete Pryds Helle in conversation with Supriya Dravid
Friday 6 August8.30pm IST / 5:00pm CETA Passion for India: Javier Moro (TBC)Javier Moro in conversation with Mohini Gupta


Dutch author Ernest van der Kwast (b. 1981, Bombay) published his first book in 2005 and had his breakthrough with the novel Mama Tandoori (2010), which went on to become a bestseller in both the Netherlands and Italy. Other works include the novella Giovanna’s Navel and the novel The Ice-Cream Makers, which has been sold to seven countries. His fluid, sensual style has charmed critics everywhere. As German daily FAZ put it ‘Ernest van der Kwast flutters around his storyline like a butterfly and his playfulness delights the reader.’ 

Danish author Merete Pryds Helle made her debut in 1990 and broke through with the novel Fishing in the River of Life in 2000. Having published across a large variety of genres, she found massive success with the family saga The People’s Beauty, which won both De Gyldne Laurbær Award and Politiken’s Literature Prize in 2016. The novel has sold more than 100,000 copies in Denmark. The follow-up, We Knew It All, went straight to the top of the charts when it was released in 2018.

Spanish author Javier Moro made headlines in India when he published The Red Sari in 2013, which tells the story of the Gandhi family through the eyes of Sonia Maino. Moro, one of the most acclaimed and widely read Spanish novelists, has written extensively on India: The Jaipur Foot, The Mountains of the Buddha, Five Past Midnight in Bhopal (with Dominique Lapierre) and Passion India. He was awarded the Premio Planeta in 2011, the Spanish language’s most prestigious award, for El Imperio eres tú, (You Are the Empire), the story of Brazil’s first emperor and the making of the Brazilian nation. 

The initiative is supported by the European Union and the Cultural Relations Platform with the aim of strengthening international cultural relations and fostering collaboration as outlined in the EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations and the European Agenda for Culture 2018.