The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2015 has announced its programme. In its ninth year, it is the only UK Festival dedicated to pan-Asian writing and will include talks from some of the most exciting names in literature including British-Chinese author Xinran, Turkey’s bestselling author Elif Shafak, award-winning Indian novelist Anuradha Roy and one of South Korea’s most important modern writers, Hwang Sok-yong. The festival take places at Asia House, located off Oxford Street across eleven days.
The programme’s main focus is an exploration of youth and gender. The festival will examine the issue of women’s historical involvement in suffrage movements, introduce China’s only children and Nepal’s child goddesses, look at forbidden love and also explore the themes of migration and displacement.
The festival will hold a number of exciting book launches. Award-winning author Anuradha Roy will launch her new book, Sleeping on Jupiter and be in conversation with Claire Armitstead, books editor for The Guardian and Observer. In addition, famed 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.
A number of events will take place outside of the main Festival dates, including a special pre-General Election event with BBC journalist Anita Anand, who will be discussing her book Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary with literary editor of The Independent, Arifa Akbar. The talk will look at the role women could play in shifting the political outcome. After the Festival has finished, Asia House will be hosting an event at Waterstones Piccadilly with Indian author Amitav Ghosh, who will be discussing his new masterpiece, Flood of Fire.
This is the first year the festival is is under the responsibility of new literature manager, Jemimah Steinfeld. Literature Festival Manager, said of this year’s programme: “2015 is set to be one of our most diverse festivals to date, which we have 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.”
“There’s lots of interesting movements going on at grassroots level across different countries in Asia, we saw it in the Arab Spring a few years ago, and in China and Japan there’s lots of interesting stories coming out from young people, and also from women challenging certain entrenched gender roles. There’s lots of literature being written specifically about these on both the fiction and non-fiction side.”
The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2015 runs from 7 – 18 May. The full programme is now online.