The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature Opens May 15th

20 April 2012
The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature Opens May 15th
Date: 15 - 31 May 2012

The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, the first and only Festival in the UK dedicated to the celebration of writing about Asia and Asians, and has firmly established itself as a highlight in the UK’s literary calendar through its innovative and topical events programme.

Asia House has offered a Pan-­Asian literature programme for over 10 years, and in that time has both seen and contributed to significant growth in the number and quality of books on Asian subjects being published in the UK. The global events of the past year have provided a broad canvas for debate and discussion, and these are reflected in this year’s Festival line up.

Themes for 2012 include the geopolitics of oil in a Pan-­Asian context; the fall out of the British Empire; and ‘Women, Power and Politics’ -- a discussion with the authors of two new biographies on Aung San Suu Kyi and Sonia Gandhi, that will look at the power held by both women, and what the future holds for them, as well as other political women throughout Asia. The fiction programme will include ‘An evening in Sri Lanka’, an event moderated by BBC News Presenter George Alagiah, welcoming three of the country’s best contemporary writers, Romesh Gunesekera, Roshi Fernando and Shehan Karunatilaka, who will look at contemporary Sri Lankan writing home and abroad.

Hardeep Singh Kohli will open the Festival with his new book The Food of the Grand Trunk Road -- one of South Asia’s longest and oldest roads. In the book, Hardeep takes a fascinating look at the food, culture and traditions that have sprung up along a route which runs from Bengal, across north India, into Pakistan and up to Afghanistan. The Festival will also welcome, amongst others, Mohammed Hanif, Kwasi Kwarteng, Nikita Lalwani, Kamila Shamsie, Hanan al Shaykh, Ahdaf Souief, Rosie Thomas and Marina Warner.

Adrienne Loftus Parkins, Festival Director said “This year we have the strongest, most balanced programme yet, with a broader range of countries than ever before and, for the first time, the inclusion of writing about Cambodia, Vietnam and Burma. Once again in 2012 we are recognising the growing contribution being made by vibrant women writers from across Asia, introducing some important new voices to UK audiences. We are proud to continue fostering the understanding of Asian cultures through literature.”

The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature celebrates its 6th year in 2012 and will continue to provide a unique and imaginative opportunity for audiences to experience Asian and British Asian culture through literature. Countries featured in this year’s Festival include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bengal, Burma, Iran, Iraq, the Arab world, China, Cambodia and Vietnam as well as Pan-­Asian and British Asian writing.

The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature takes place from 15–31 May at Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1.


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