Our Lit Fest launches its 2014 Youth Engagement programme

Writing workshop as part of the Students Engagement programme

Students at Harrow High School took part in our Youth Engagement Writing Workshops as part of our Literature Festival in 2013

Our Lit Fest launches its 2014 Youth Engagement programme

04 April 2014

Media Release

In partnership with festival sponsor the Bagri Foundation, Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival has launched an extensive Youth Engagement programme for 2014 at schools and libraries in London and the Midlands.

Expanding on a successful, London-based inaugural programme in 2013, Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival’s Youth Engagement writing and storytelling workshops aim to reach more than 300 students in 2014, working with schools across London, Birmingham, Leicester and Manchester and at libraries including London, Leicester and Derby where large populations of Asian students are based.

Students will work with established authors and writer facilitators from programme delivery partner Eastside Educational Trust through a series of creative workshops in schools that will consider this year’s festival theme Changing Values.   A blog that links participating schools around the UK will reveal elements of the programme as it unfolds from March through to July 2014.

The books that feature in the 2014 schools programme are Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw, Land Where I Flee by Prajwal Parajuly, Marriage Material by Sathnam Sanghera, Revolt by Qaisra Shahraz and Please Look After Mother by Kyung-sook Shin.

Drawing inspiration from these works and other stimuli, students will be encouraged to develop their own creative writing and written pieces based on the theme of Values, which can then be entered into a Student Writing Competition sponsored by Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival.

Judges described the work of the 2013 competition winner, Max Vitelli, who won the Asia House Student Writing Competition 2013 at the time, as ‘a remarkable story’, ‘gutsy writing’, ‘a compelling, quirky tale’, ‘unconventional and compelling’.

Asia House Literature Festival and Youth Engagement programme Director Adrienne Loftus Parkins says:  “Our youth engagement programme helps to promote literacy, broaden geographical and cultural knowledge of the Asian diaspora and has been a popular strand to Asia House’s Literature, Learning and Outreach programmes. In 2013 over 100 students took part in our Literature Festival workshops. We will triple that figure for 2014 and aim to keep increasing these numbers and our geographical reach in years to come.”

Alka Bagri, director of the Bagri Foundation says: “From Rudyard Kipling to T. S. Eliot, Asian thought and culture has long wielded influence on the literary landscape of Britain. Through this series of youth engagement programmes, we hope to continue this tradition by engaging young minds with new and exciting writing from across the region. Such intercultural understanding is of greater importance in the century ahead than ever before.”

The Youth Engagement programme will also see Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival working directly with libraries to produce summertime interactive storytelling with an Asian or British Asian slant for younger children, and also offers the Young Reporters programme, mentoring for students aged 13-15 who are interested in learning the basics of interviewing, recording and working with digital media, facilitated by professionals working within the media industry. Young Reporters will cover the Family Saturdays and produce an online magazine.

The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2014 welcomes leading lights from the worlds of literature, politics, cookery and entertainment including Hanif Kureishi, Kamila Shamsie, Anil Gupta, Xiaolu Guo, Sathnam Sanghera, Shazia Mirza, Lord Parekh, and Kyung-sook Shin, and runs from 6-21 May 2014.


Website:  www.asiahouse.org

Facebook: Asia House Festival of Asian Literature

Twitter:  @festofasianlit


For all media enquiries and any requests please contact Annabel Robinson or Melody Odusanya at FMcM Associates on 020 7405 7422 or email annabelr@fmcm.co.uk / melody@fmcm.co.uk


Notes to Editors


  • Asia House is a centre of expertise on Asia and the leading pan-Asian organisation in the UK.  Through its unique programme of events on culture, policy, business and education, Asia House promotes understanding and the mutual exchange of ideas, building stronger relationships between the diverse communities of Europe and Asia.  Asia House is a non-profit, non-political organisation. www.asiahouse.org
  • The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity whose principal aims include the advancement of literacy, education and the arts, as well as the appreciation and understanding of Asian cultures. The foundation runs rich and diverse cultural programmes and collaborates with other organisations to further its own charitable objectives. www.bagrifoundation.org
  • Eastside Educational Trust is an award winning arts charity with a mission to engage and educate children and young people through direct participation in the arts www.eastside.org.uk
  • Asia House Literature Festival Youth Engagement initiatives – to find out more click here.
  • The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is also supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
  • Mentoring – The Young Reporters Programme provides opportunities to students aged 13-16 who are interested in learning the basics of interviewing, recording and working with digital media.  This programme provides media training with guest experts from the press and media and opportunities to report on Asia House Literature Festival events, interview authors and produce an online magazine called Rising Sun to feature their work.
  • Libraries – summertime interactive storytelling for young children, rolled out across the Festival’s targeted cities around the UK, with an Asian or British Asian theme, and in areas with high Asian populations.  In 2013 the programmes took place in libraries in Westminster, Harrow, Fulham, Hammersmith, Kensington and Chelsea.
  • Schools Writing Programme and Student Writing Competition – in 2013, Asia House piloted a Schools Programme focused on writing about the 2013 Festival theme Freedom. Working with partners the Festival developed and implemented a series of writing workshops in six London area schools reaching 100 students in a mixed demographic of British Asian and non-Asian populations. The workshops culminated in a Student Writing Competition, in which participants submitted 1,200 word stories about Freedom.  The authors of the five best pieces were offered one day mentoring opportunities with writing or communications professionals. These included publishers, a magazine, a weekly newspaper and a radio station. Read the 2013 Student Writing Competition winner’s piece here


For more details on the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival, click here.

To see an online version of the printed programme in chronological order, click here. 

To book a place on the free family fun day on Saturday, 17 May, which is suitable for children aged five plus click here. 

To book a place on the free family fun day on Saturday, 10 May, which is suitable for children aged five plus click here. 

For more information about joining the Young Reporters programme, find more information here or email su-lin.allen@asiahouse.co.uk.