Tuesday 12 May 2015

Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2015

Asia House, London, in partnership with the Bagri Foundation, is in the first few days of its annual Literature Festival. Now in its ninth year, this is the only UK Festival dedicated to pan-Asian writing and will include talks from some of the most exciting names in literature, including Turkey’s bestselling author Elif Şafak, and one of South Korea’s most important modern writers, Hwang Sok-yong.

British-Chinese author Xinran launched her new book Buy Me The Sky: The Remarkable Truth Of China’s One-Child Generations on the opening day of the Festival – I met her in Singapore yesterday, and she told me her launch clashed with the UK General Election, so she was worried nobody would turn up, but in fact the event was a sell-out! 

It is fitting that Xinran’s new book was featured, because it is an invitation to listen to the voices of some of China’s only children, and at the core of this year’s programme is an exploration of youth, with an in-depth look at the important issues affecting the current generation across the globe. Gender is another big theme: the Festival will examine the issue of women’s historical involvement in suffrage movements, and introduce Nepal’s child goddesses. There will also be discussions of forbidden love, and of  migration and displacement.

Anuradha Roy will launch her new book Sleeping on Jupiter and be in conversation with Claire Armitstead, books editor for UK newspapers The Guardian and Observer.

Food and travel writer Jeff Koehler will take an alternative perspective on Asian culture, launching his book Darjeeling: The Colourful History and Precarious Fate of the World’s Greatest Tea.

Amanda Lee Koe, winner of the Singapore Literature Prize, will be discussing her short story collection, Ministry of Moral Panic.

Soon after the Festival has finished, Asia House will be hosting an event with Amitav Ghosh, who will be discussing his new novel, Flood of Fire.

Jemimah Steinfeld, Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival Manager, said of this year’s programme: “2015 is set to be one of our most diverse festivals to date, packed full of fresh voices and new perspectives, alongside some of the most esteemed and established writers from across Asia. The programme invites attendees to really think about the world around them and how it is being shaped in the here and now.”

The Festival will run from 7 – 18 May, 2015 and all events will take place at Asia House, which is just off Oxford Street in central London. I am currently investigating how readers in Asia can participate via social media. For more information about the Festival and to see the full programme of events, click here.