DESIBLITZ LITERATURE FESTIVAL 2021

September 18 – October 1, 2021

The DESIblitz Literature Festival 2021 is the UK’s leading South Asian Literature Festival. Opening in Birmingham City Centre on 18th of September with a string of leading British South Asian and South Asian literary stars, the festival, with a mix of in-person and digital events and runs until 1st October. All tickets are free apart from three headline events at £2.99 per ticket with Sathnam Sanghera, Nikesh Shukla and a panel event on Cultural Representation in Literature. Live events will take place at the Rep Theatre and B Music (formerly Symphony Hall) in the city centre.

The festival is designed to encourage young and aspiring British Asian writers but is open to all. It provides a much-needed programme of author events, workshops, performances and panel discussions, showcasing the work ofBritish South Asian authors and poets, and international writers with South Asian heritage. As well as aiming to inspire new creative writers, the festival  provides an opportunity to highlight the way writers of South Asian descent have contributed to the literary canon across the world.

DESIblitz Literature Festival Director Indi Deol said: This is the third annual literature festival curated and produced by DESIblitz.com. As in previous years, the aim of the  festival is to provide a platform for new voices from within the British South Asian writing community, as well as feature existing British South Asian voices who are already successful as role models. As well as aiming to inspire new creative writers, it provides an opportunity to highlight the way writers of South Asian descent have contributed to the literary canon across the world. It has never been more important to showcase the incredible and multifaceted talent of Britain’s South Asian literary community.

Diversity in British Publishing

The British South Asian demographic is still hugely underrepresented in British publishing and panel events taking place at the festival will include “Diverse Characters Matter” a panel discussion about the importance of diversity in children’s books, with leading authors Bali Rai, Serena Patel, Sita Brahamchari and Monika Singh Gangotra; “Cultural Representation in Literature a panel discussion about the importance  of diversity in adult writing with Saima Mir, Pragya Agarawal and Sufiya Ahmed; as well as Women of Colour in Publishing a panel discussing the importance of diversity in British Publishing with Farhana Shaikh from Dahlia Publishing, and Hannah Chukwu from Penguin.

Workshops to Inspire and Ignite

Workshops taking place in person at the festival include: Genre, Setting and Character led by Bali Rai the award-winning children’s author, Writing Memoir led by Shyama Perera, Guardian and Channel 4 journalist and author of three nvoels, as well as a South Asian Poetry Masterclass with acclaimed poet Rupinder Kaur – a Birmingham Panjabi writer and performer whose debut poetry book Rooh (2018) was published with Verve Poetry Press.

Author Events

Highlights from the author programme include talks with the award winning Bangladeshi novelist and Granta Young Writer Tahmima Anam about her critically acclaimed 2021 novel The Startup Wife.

Bestselling author, journalist and screenwriter, Sarfraz Manzoor will be discussing his new book They: What Muslims and Non-Muslims Get Wrong About Each Other.

Nikesh Shukla bestselling author of The Good Immigrant, will talk about his new book Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home.

Social media influencer, podcaster and BBC presenter Anchal Seda will talk about her new book What Would the Aunties Say? A brown girl’s guide to being yourself and living your best life.

Acclaimed journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera, will talk about his latest book Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain.

Successful self-published author Preethi Nair will also host a talk on how to get published called “Being Published – Traditional or Indie. The pros and cons.”

Sci-Fi, Crime and Graphic Novels

Writer-painter Amruta Patil is India’s first female graphic novelist whose work sits at the cusp of ancient Indian philosophy and ecological-feminist stirrings. In 2017, she received a Nari Shakti Puraskar from the 13th President of India for “unusual work that breaks boundaries” in art and literature.

Samit Basu is an Indian SFF novelist. His most recent book, Chosen Spirits, a near-future anti-dystopian Delhi novel, was shortlisted for the JCB Prize, India’s biggest literary award.

Kia Abdullah is an author and travel writer from London. Her novel Take It Back was named one of the best thrillers of the year by The Guardian.

Saima Mir is a British Pakistani journalist who grew up in Bradford. Her essay for It’s Not About The Burqa(Picador) appeared in the Guardian and received over 250,000 hits online in two days. She will be talking  about her debut crime  fiction novel The Khan which is currently being optioned for TV.

Poetry

An evening of Poetry on Sunday 19th will showcase the work of leading South Asian Poets including Founder of Kiota Bristol, Shagufta K Iqbal is an award-winning writer, workshop facilitator and Tedx Speaker and will read from her poetry collection ‘Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam’, described by Nikesh Shukla as ‘a social political masterclass.’ One of the UK’s most exciting young poets and playwrights, Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi who is currently a Sky Writers writer in residence will read from her debut collection of poetry re;desire – longlisted for the Jhalak Prize.

In addition the world leading Pakistani poet Imtiaz Dharker whose work is part of both the GCSE and A-Level syllabus in the UK and has been described by Carol Ann Duffy as “If there were to be a World Laureate, then for me the role could only be filled by Imtiaz Dharker” will read from her extensive poetry collection.

Book your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

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