Asia House rolls out its action-packed exciting 2016 literature programme

Myanmar (pictured) is one of the countries we are focusing on in our 2016 literature programme

Myanmar (pictured) is one of several countries that Asia House is focusing on in its 2016 literature programme

Asia House rolls out its action-packed exciting 2016 literature programme

05 January 2016

By Jemimah Steinfeld

2016 promises to be an incredibly exciting, action-packed year at Asia House as the organisation celebrates 20 years since its founding and 10 years of the literature festival. When it comes to literature in particular, the programme is going big in terms of themes and names and will offer something for everyone.

We are starting the year off with an evening celebrating the culture of Myanmar on Tuesday, 19 January. Tied to the launch of British scholar and writer Ellen Wiles’ new book, Saffron Shadows, there will be a discussion about the fast-changing culture of this fascinating country, performance art, food from the Mandalay Golden Myanmar Restaurant in London, Burmese photography, film and music.

Not just providing a taste of Burmese food, this night also provides a taste of things to come as in 2016 we are keen to spotlight countries in Asia that do not always receive as much media attention. Later in the year, focus days on the literature of Georgia and South Korea have already been scheduled, and plans are afoot for other countries as well.

And again as the cross arts element of the Myanmar event highlights, mixing more traditional book talks with other art disciplines will be a key part of this year’s programming.

As always the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is the highlight of our literary year. This will take place between 4 and 18 May with warm-up events in April. Like with past years, Asia House welcomes the best writers and thinkers to the stage. From Nobel Laureates, Man Booker and Pulitzer Prize winners to debut authors, emerging poets and storytellers, the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival showcases the most interesting conversations coming from or on Asia today. However unlike past years, in 2016 we are engaging performers, artists and writers from disciplines outside of the traditional literature arena to enhance the celebration.

Those with young children should look out for our family day on Saturday, 7 May, when the Jungle Book (being remade by Disney this year) will be brought to life inside our Marylebone headquarters.

We’re pleased to say that the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival still holds the title of being the only festival in the UK devoted solely to literature from across the whole of Asia. This means Asia House really is the best place to be in the spring.

We are also continuing our schools programme, which sees visits to over 10 schools around the country and a student writing competition.

As we think about how far Asia House has come over the past two decades, we also want to think more broadly about changes in Asia. Hence the 2016 edition of our literature festival explores evolution as one of its major themes. A particular focus is how the alternative or marginalised voice might have changed. More details on this festival will be released on this website in the coming weeks.

We also want to pay homage to other anniversaries in addition to our own this year. Amongst the most exciting of these anniversaries is 400 years since the death of Shakespeare.

The Bard has been extremely influential around the world, not just in the UK, including in many Asian countries. To mark this anniversary, we are teaming up with a host of experts on Shakespeare to present talks and screenings on Shakespeare in India. Events will take place at both Asia House and the British Film Institute in London between 27 and 30 April. Click here for a sneak peak of some of the speakers and films at that.

Read more about all the programmed upcoming literature events at Asia House here and keep an eye on the website for announcements about the literature festival line-up.

On 19 January Asia House will be hosting a night of Myanmar culture, food and literature to celebrate the launch of Ellen Wiles’ book Saffron Shadows and Salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar Under Censorship and in Transition. To book tickets click here.

On 28 January UAE MA in Creative Writing graduate Paul M.M. Cooper will launch his debut book River of Ink, published by Bloomsbury, and be in conversation with Arifa Akbar, Literary Editor at the Independent. To book tickets click here.