The inaugural South Asian Literature Festival takes place in London from 15th – 25th October, followed by outreach events in Brighton, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester at the end of October.
SALF joins an emerging landscape of literature festivals located in South Asia including Jaipur, Hay Festival Kerala, Galle and Karachi Literature Festivals but is UK based and the only one to have the remit of focusing on South Asian writing exclusively.
Reflecting the diverse nature of South Asian culture,SALF is a multi-dimensional festival and will explore the politics, languages and literature of the region through music, spoken word, visual arts and literary performance.
Playing host to a stellar cast of authors, actors, poets, musicians – home-grown, international and from the sub-continent – and leading lights from the worlds of politics, academia and broadcasting, SALF looks forward to hosting top names such as prize-winning novelist Romesh Gunesekera; from two great political dynasties, Fatima Bhutto and Nayantara Sahgal; historian Michael Wood, acclaimed writer and musicianAmit Chaudhuri, Pakistan’s rising-star author Moniza Alvi, jazz musician Cleveland Watkiss and well-known broadcasters Mihir Bose and Hardeep Singh Kohli.
The aim of the festival is to ensure it covers a large cross section of South Asian culture, with several events of particular interest to Pakistani and Muslim audiences. With that in mind, I wondered if you’d consider highlighting these events on your website?
Power of the Pen: A Resolution for Kashmir?15th October, Richmix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA, 6.30pmAcclaimed writers Victoria Schofield, Justine Hardy and economist Lord Meghnand Desai will discuss the role of literature in the Kashmir conflict that has dominated one of the world’s most militarised regions for 60 years and whether the written word can help steer Pakistan and India towards a resolution.India and Pakistan: Literary Worlds Apart?17 October, Richmix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA, 3.30pmJohn Freeman, Farrukj Dhondy, Aamer Hussein and Mohammed Hanif debate the work of the new generation of Pakistani authors, asking what makes this one stand out and offering a comparison against the similar “corona burst” of literary talent from India in the 1990s.
Words Without Borders: Literature in a Time of War19 October, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA, 4pmAcclaimed Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif along with special guests from the region will offer their perspectives on the effects of war on South Asian writers. Can great literature thrive and new voices be found in this environment? What impact do conflicts have on freedom of expression?
From Fatwa to Jihad19 October, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA, 6pmAn examination of how the rise of terrorism in the last 20 years has led to a curtailing of freedom of expression and civil liberties in the UK. Writer and broadcaster Kenan Malik and journalist Shiv Malik explore multiculturalism, terror, free speech and the “culture of offence” in modern Britain.
Twin Dynasties21 October, Kings Place Hall 2, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG, 7pmTwo dynasties come together with Nayantara Sahgal and Fatima Bhutto. Nayantara descends from the Nehru family while Fatima is the granddaughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the niece of Benazir, both former Pakistani prime ministers. Both will meet for the first time and discuss their experiences of growing up in such powerful families.
Mushaira: Gathering of Poets
22 October, Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London, W1K 1HF, 6.30pm
Some of the most eminent Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali poets from London will recite their work with translations in English.
The programme can be viewed here.