Former investment banker turned psychiatrist, Lucy Beresford will be at Asia House on 6th October (evening) discussing her book, Invisible Threads a fictional book drawing on the author’s experiences in India.
As the Asia House Lit Festival draws to an end, A personal highlight for me was to hear Heidi Kingstone in conversation with Jemima Steinfeld. Both women have written accounts of working abroad and in this conversation we were treated to Heidi’s memories of being a war correspondent in Afghanistan and a reading from her new book, Dispatches from the Kabul Cafe.
The opening night of the Asia House Literature Festival started off tonight with a wonderful conversation with the acclaimed author and journalist, Xue Xinran, who has a new book, Buy Me the Sky, out now.
Earlier this week, Bunty and I had the pleasure of going along to a wonderful and lively discussion at Asia House about stereotypes in Asian literature.
The panel was formed of leading figures in the creative arts: Yasmeen Khan (writer and broadcaster and shoe-horned to unofficial BBC Representative for the evening!), Daniel York (actor, director and writer), Anna Chen (first British Chinese comic to take a show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Niven Govinden (author) and Bidisha (author, journalist, broadcaster and Booker Prize Foundation trustee) who was the delightful chair for the evening’s enthralling discussion.
Kamila Shamsie at Asia House
Internationally successful writer, Kamila Shamsie sat with the Chatterjis for a wee interview at the end of her event at the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2014. Quality literature could be Pakistan’s second biggest export after Mangoes and Kamila Shamsie’s work sits on the most coveted international shortlists. Calm, confident and endearing, Kamila gave a wonderful interview and we hope you enjoy it:
You live and work between three locations in three different countries, what aspects do you enjoy and dislike?
Now I only live in London, I used to live in Karachi, London and upstate New York. But now I live in London the most. What I love most about Karachi is that it’s home, it’s where I grew up it’s familiar. My family is there, the sea is there so it’s everything I’ve grown up with. So Karachi is in the way you love your childhood. And London I love in the way I embrace…the future I suppose.
Do you describe yourself a feminist/ what does the term mean to you?
I absolutely describe myself as a feminist. What it means to me is…being against patriarchy, there are more complicated ways of that. We live in a society that is structured in an unjust way and that’s wrong and should be changed.
What do you think identity means today for yourself as a dual citizen and for British born Asians?
From L-R: Saurabh Kakkar, Shazia Mirza, Anil Gupta, Sathnam Sanghera at Asia House
It’s the second time British Asian humour has been the subject of debate and discussion as part of Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival and this year’s event was wonderful. Everyone in attendance was mostly in good spirits (some wine helped of course!), eager to hear and participate in the discussion. Despite the lightness of the topic, Bunty and I left feeling we had learnt new things and subjects to ponder. The evening event focused on British Asian humour, its development as mark of cultural identity and how it has evolved since Goodness Gracious Me.
Asia House invited Anil Gupta, Saurabh Kakkar (both writers and producers) and Shazia Mirza the stand up comedian. Anil Gupta is well known for the revolutionary and groundbreaking series Goodness Gracious Me, The Office and The Kumars at No 42. The evening started with a few
Kamila Shamsie at Asia House
Last week Bunty and I spent the evening at Asia House for the continuing literature festival sponsored by the Bagri Foundation. The festival is on until 21st May and there are still many wonderful events to attend! www.asiahouse.org and follow on twitter @asiahouseuk @festofasianlit
Multi award winning writer, Kamila Shamsie was the star of the evening and new writer, Omar Shahid Hamid was introduced and interviewed in Extra Words, a new segment created by Asia House to focus on new talent at the festival.
Author Brigid Keenan is a charming, witty writer who knows exactly how to recall a lifetime of wonderful and disastrous events as the trailing wife of a diplomat. I read her book Diplomatic Baggage after meeting Brigid at a dinner party one evening in London. We created instant warmth as we exchanged stories of India.
Packing Up – Further Adventures of A Trailing Spouse is Brigid Keenan’s latest book about her life in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Palestine.
Hanif Kureishi with Razia Iqbal Photography by Nick Cunard http://www.nickcunard.co.uk
A superstar author never shy of sharing his opinion, Hanif Kureishi opened the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival with an evening full of laughter and delight. The writer was interviewed by BBC special correspondent Razia Iqbal who effortlessly kept her own presence on stage and steered the discussion that gave interesting insights into the way Hanif writes, his life and opinions.
The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is back in May and what a programme they have in store! The Chatterjis Blog will cover the event as official bloggers for the festival which includes writers from over 17 different Asian countries. In addition to a regular festival format a new series, Extra Words will introduce debut authors from Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand.
The festival officially opens on 6th May with high profile writer, Hanif Kureishi who will talk about his new book The Last Word. There are a few pre-festival events in April that sound fabulous too. On 10th April there is an event called Separations discussing what happens when a country suffers from political divisions. Featuring Korean writers Kyung-sook Shin (2011 Man Asia Prize winner) and Krys Lee and Pakistani writer Qaisra Shahraz whose work focuses on women and partition it should be a lively evening. Why Do Indians Vote? Democracy in India is another pre-festival
I just finished reading The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. The author is one of the high profile names that participated in this year’s Asia House Festival of Asian Literature.
This is the first book I have read by Elif Shafak and I was drawn to it as I read the back cover and saw three words: Sufi, Rumi and Shams…sold!! This book is like Kryptonite for my sister full of spirituality and love.
Continuing the cool theme of my previous post, I will add Atul Kochhar to the “cool” list!
He’s delightfully nerdy and told us joke after joke and bless him, I was forced to laugh along with the rest of the audience on Saturday afternoon in Asia House. He cracked a few wife jokes and then moved on to his curry demo. Ohhh what! I couldn’t believe my misfortune. He was going to make Lahori Chicken Curry. Jeezo! My mum is from Lahore and makes this curry every week.
I was lucky enough to be invited to back-to-back events that promised to thrill. On Friday evening “British Asian Culture: Doomed to be Uncool” and Atul Kochhar on Saturday afternoon to present his “Curries of the World” new recipe book.
Why are British Asians analysing whether we are “cool” and why are we always saying “cool” in inverted comas as if to make the point that we’re not cool? Isn’t it now uncool to describe anything as cool? Like how a Fun Dad describes David Bowie.
Freedom is the theme of this year’s Asia House Festival of Asian Literature, the seventh annual event. From 7-22nd May, some of Asia’s greatest literary exports will join some of the best British Asian writers and thinkers to discuss freedom in all its forms: freedom of expression, education, travel, justice, freedom to read the truth and to live in our chosen ways.
Taking place in a few venues in Central London the programme and events for adults and children is varied and wonderfully diverse. Want to know how to get your work published in Asia or the UK? Want to see a curry demonstration from Michelin-starred chef, Atul Kochhar?
The Asia House Festival of Asian Literature got off to a roaring start by hosting an audience with the wonderfully charming Michael Palin at the Commonwealth Club, London.
Palin was launching a new book, The Truth, excitingly his first foray into fiction. The audience, however, were keen to grill him about his travels. He handled everyone’s question with the same wit and eloquence that we are used to seeing on screen, even though surely he must have been asked some of these questions thousands of times. Palin had us all captivated