Prize-winning novelists Hanif Kureishi, Kamila Shamsie, Tash Aw and Romesh Gunesekera plus award-winning BBC journalist John Sweeney are some of the key speakers at this year’s Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival, which takes place at Asia House in London from May 6 to May 21, 2014.
Now in its eighth year and with a new title sponsor, the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is the only UK festival dedicated to pan-Asian writing.
With a range of events covering more than 17 countries, the Festival this year includes authors writing about China, Japan, Malaysia, North Korea, South Korea, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Nepal, the Middle East, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Sri Lanka and Britain.
This year’s theme is Changing Values Across Asia. Foreign correspondent Peter Popham examines Burma two years after its milestone election, while Shereen el Feki, author of Sex and the Citadel, and Sally Howard, author of The Kama Sutra Diaries, take a serious but entertaining look at changing sexual mores in the Middle East, India and Pakistan.
Literary superstar Hanif Kureishi launches the Festival as he discusses his new novel, The Last Word, while award-winning Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie introduces her hotly anticipated novel of friendship, injustice and love, A God in Every Stone.
The best of Asian literature is further celebrated as new works by acclaimed Sri Lankan novelist Romesh Gunesekera, Chinese novelist and film maker Xiaolu Guo, and Pakistani-born Roopa Farooki are previewed in a special showcaseevent ahead of publication.
The series Extra Words will introduce debut authors from Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand.
Award-winning BBC reporter John Sweeney, author of North Korea Undercover, joins Paul French, author of North Korea: State of Paranoia, to analyse the threat posed by that country, while historian John Keay introduces the first comprehensive history of South Asia as a whole with his new book Midnight’s Descendants.
Digital freedom in East Asia will be analysed with Thai blogger Giles Ji Ungpakorn, and Anja Kovacs from the Internet Democracy Project in Delhi.
British Asian humour will be hotly debated by a panel including journalist Sathnam Sanghera, BBC head of comedy Saurabh Kakkar, comedian Shazia Mirza and writer producer of hit TV shows Goodness Gracious Me,The Kumarsat Number 42, The Office and Citizen Khan, Anil Gupta. Brigid Keenan, author of Packing Up: Further Adventures of a Trailing Spouse, takes us on a wildly funny tour through her life in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Palestine.
Look out for further information on the blog, including details of how you can participate from Asia via social media.