Ooh fancy that, The Chatterjis Blog has been nominated Best Blog at this year’s Asian Media Awards! In its third year of recognising and rooting for Asian talent in the mainstream and online media, the awards are backed by some of the British media industry’s biggest players.
Poor Meera Syal, the expectations were so high from the audience around me and indeed myself that she would be incredibly sharp and witty and have us in stitches that once the discussion started and it became clear that it was all about surrogacy and motherhood (the main subjects her fictional book centres around) we were a little disappointed.
Of course Meera should want to promote her new book, The House of Hidden Mothers, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just not
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
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
A recent article on the wonderful feminist blog Jezebel asked the question: Why aren’t educated Middle-Eastern women joining the workforce? Apparently in two thirds of Middle Eastern countries there are more women that go to university than men. There are parallels in South Asian culture even amongst British Asians.
Yesterday evening the RSA hosted an event with the practical title of: British Pakistanis and Pakistan: 21st century citizenship and diasporas. I attended with my sister and although the event was disappointingly less the promised discussion and more a lecture it was interesting and I recommend listening to the panel here. There was an assumption that British Pakistanis should give two hoots about Pakistan, a country that some of them have never even visited and a country that doesn’t care about the diaspora unless it’s for hand-me-outs or arranged marriages.
The inside cover of The Daily Telegraph’s Saturday Magazine was a Prada sunglasses advertisement featuring Amir Khan. No, not the age-denying old grandpa from Bollywood but the Super Lightweight World Boxing Champ.
It’s a story that would confirm my mum’s long-held belief that my generation of British Asians are not very bright when it comes to dealing with real South Asians as they are far too chalaak (clever). An Indian man, his wife and his brother have been arrested in Delhi for befriending people of Indian origin in the UK to find out what property they owned in India