Festival of Asian Literature

Picture Credit: Brendan Olley

The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature takes place in May. Now in its sixth year, the festival celebrates writing about Asia and Asians from the Persian Gulfto the Pacific.

Hardeep Singh Kohli kicks off proceedings with a talk on Food of the Grand Trunk Road. The festival will embrace Sri Lanka as its focus – from food to dance. Writers Romesh Gunesekera, Shehan Karunatilaka (winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012) and Roshi Fernando will be joined by BBC presenter George Alagiah to discuss contemporary Sri Lankan writing.

Festival founder, Adrienne Loftus Parkins is keen to break new ground. This year’s programme includes books from Cambodia,Vietnam and Burma for the first time and she is seeing a marked shift away from the exotic and romantic.

“UK publishers are increasingly willing to take a risk on novels that look at darker subjects – like morality, divorce, war, genocide, crime for instance. This more real-life approach is busting the myths about Asia.”

Beyond the literary landscape, the festival’s programme is not afraid to tackle deeper political issues. It’s been a revolutionary year for many countries across Asia, from the Arab Spring to India and China’s economic boom – recurring themes which are bound to make for thought provoking discussion.

Asia House Festival of Asian Literature 15-31 May 2012 Tickets from £6

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