Festive Spirit

Meet the UK’s most inspiring authors at the South Asian Literature Festival


Posted: 19.09.12

Get your diaries out and your shopping lists at the ready: it’s that time of the year when you need to up-date your home library. The 3rd South Asian Literature Festival takes place at the Bush Theatre in London on November 1st but before that, there’s a host of pre-events taking place later this month and in October that booklovers will not want to miss.

Established authors including journalist and travel writer Sir Mark Tully, chef and food writer Madhur Jaffrey, Indian author and painter Amruta Patil, novelist Samit Basu, and writer-biographer Anne de Courcy will be spicing things up in the capital this Autumn with a series of readings and event.

The pre-event kicks off on Friday 28th September when celebrated graphic novelist Amruta Patil launches of her new work Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean, part of an ambitious trilogy based on the Indian epic Mahabharata. Patil will discuss the process of adapting the Sanskrit text into graphic novel form with Neel Mukherjee, author of the acclaimed A Life Apart, and comics guru Paul Gravett.

The event is presented in partnership with the inaugural Comica London Festival and takes place at Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road.
On Tuesday 2nd October bestselling Indian novelist Samit Basu launches Turbulence, a hyper-real novel set in India and London. The story asks ‘What would you do if you were given the power to change the world?’ and focuses on Aman Sen, a young drifter suddenly given everything he ever wished for. Basu will discuss the mysteries and powers of superhumans with Doctor Who writer Ben Aaronovitch, at Waterstones flagship store in Piccadilly.
Later that week on Thursday 4th October at Stationers’ Hall in the City, journalist and broadcaster Sir Mark Tully will be in conversation with BBC London 94.9 presenter Nikki Bedi, reflecting on the story of modern India. Tully will discuss his life reporting from the region, and offer his personal view of what the future may hold for the world’s second most populous country.

Madhur Jaffrey and Hardeep Singh Kohli are set to cook up a proverbial storm at the Bishopsgate Institute on Wednesday 17th October, discussing the stories behind Jaffrey’s new book, Curry Nation (Ebury Press).
In her only London event, she will share stories about her journey around Britain, undertaken as part of a major new series with the Good Food Channel. Jaffrey explores her native cuisine and the impact it has had on the nation, along with Singh Kohli, who recently toured the UK as part of a BBC Radio 2 series about India and Britain. Together they will examine historical and cuisine-based links between the two countries, a combination which continues to prove an irresistible draw more than 65 years since independence.

Then, to complete the pre-Festival series, on Wednesday 31st October at the Royal Over-Seas League, Anne de Courcy explores the reality of life during the Raj for countless young women in search of romance and adventure in India, while Britain’s most eligible young men were running the country. They became known as ‘The Fishing Fleet’, and with the help of diaries and letters rescued from attics Anne will bring this forgotten era vividly to life.

During October, the Festival will also be hosting a series of introductory writing classes for budding writers looking for inspiration and guidance on how to get their work published. The workshops will take place on 20th October at the Asian Centre Wood Green in Haringey, 27th October at Hounslow Library. Dates in Newham are TBC. They will allow participants to learn the basics of writing fiction from writer Preti Taneja, poet Avaes Mohammad and Children's author Sarwat Chadda, in areas of London where access to such workshops is often very limited.

Directors of the South Asian Literature Festival, Jon Slack and Bhavit Mehta, said, ‘It’s great to be back with a taster ‘pre-series’ for our third festival. New writing is an even stronger theme running through a lot of our activities this year, programmed alongside some wonderful established names. As well as the strong pool of talent in Britain, the steady growth of literary festivals in South Asia means more new writing from the region is coming to light.’
The third annual South Asian Literature Festival will take place in London from 1st - 11th November 2012, launching at the Bush Theatre for the festival’s opening weekend (1st-4th), and then partnering with the British Library, Commonwealth Club, Free Word Centre and Dishoom restaurants.

To find out more about the festival and to book pre-festival event tickets visit 


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