Literature Programme

Conversations, ideas and current affairs

At Asia House we believe that engaging with literature is an important way to gain understanding of the region and its varied cultures. Our Literature Programme events are designed to inspire debate, discussion and create a deeper appreciation of the cultural contexts and concerns of the countries we cover.

It provides unique and imaginative opportunities throughout the year for audiences to experience high quality, contemporary writing about topical issues and hear the inspired ideas of the leading Asian thinkers of the 21st century.

Since 2007, our on-going literature programme has been complemented by the only UK celebration of writing about Asia and Asians in a pan-Asian context, The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival. The 2016 Literature Festival took place between 4 and 18 May. Read about some of the highlights here. Details about the 2017 Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival will be announced here soon.

Together, the programme and Festival have welcomed an exciting variety of leading, emerging and debut writers from across the globe, including:

Authors: Michael Palin, Elif Shafak, William Dalrymple, Hanif Kureishi, Shashi Tharoor, Mohsin Hamid, Jung Chang, Xue Xinran, Azar Nafisi, Tariq Ramadan, Patrick French, Fatima Bhutto, Will Hutton, Frank Dikotter, Hanif Kureishi, Amitav Ghosh, Kamila Shamsie, Xiaolu Guo, Prajwal Parajuly, Amy Tan, Anita Anand and Nadeem Aslam.

Nobel Laureates: Shirin Ebadi and Amartya Sen

Man Booker Prize winners: Aravind Adiga and Kiran Desai

Man Asian Prize winners: Tan Twan Eng, Miguel Syjuco and Kyung-sook Shin

DSC South Asian Prize winners: Shehan Karunatilaka and Jeet Thayil

The Festival engages with literature in a variety of ways, through spotlighting the latest fiction and non-fiction, poetry, plays and language translations. It mixes panel discussions with more interactive events to create a programme which is at once dynamic and informative.

As part of the Festival, we produce a multifaceted outreach programme focused on engaging children, students and young adults.  Through interactive family days and library storytelling events we reach young families across the UK, facilitating their exploration of Asian cultures.  Our Schools Writing Workshops, mentoring programmes and our Student Writing Competition encourage young people to expand their literacy skills, develop self-confidence and interact with writing, publishing and communications professionals. All of the Festival’s Youth Engagement Programmes illustrate Asia House’s dedication to developing young readers and writers, and to promoting the understanding of the Asian cultures in our communities and our global society.

With the very generous support of the Bagri Foundation and our corporate sponsors, Asia House has developed the literature festival  and on-going literature programme to be vital fixtures on the UK literature scene.