Exciting Asian books to look out for in 2014

Prajwal Parajuly

Prajwal Parajuly

Exciting Asian books to look out for in 2014

15 January 2014

Asia House Bagri Foundation Festival of Literature director Adrienne Loftus Parkins gives us a preview of the new and exciting Asian books coming out in 2014.

This year promises to be a good one for fiction about Asia and Asians.

Fiction Asian books to look out for in 2014

We will start the year with the January publication of Prajwal Parajuly’s first novel Land Where I Flee.  Prajwal earned the reputation of being “the next big thing” from India when his compilation of short stories, The Gurkha’s Daughter, was published last year. As the youngest Indian to be signed to a two-book deal by a UK publisher, we are expecting big things from his novel, a family story set in Sikkim.

Looking at February, we’re excited about The Last Word, written by the winner of the 2011 Asia House Award for Literature, Hanif Kureishi.  This book is already generating controversy because of its close resemblance to the story revealed in Patrick French’s biography of VS Naipaul. We will hear what Kureishi has to say about this when he opens the Asia House Bagri Foundation Festival of Literature on 6 May.

Hanif Kureishi

Hanif Kureishi

Also in February, a much-awaited sixth novel from award-winning Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie will be hitting the bookshelves.  I’ve not yet seen a proof of A God in Every Stone, but understand it is an epic that travels across the globe to tell a story of friendship, injustice and betrayal.

Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie

In March, award-winning Chinese American author Yiyun Li’s novel of changing values in China, Kinder than Solitude, is something we are eagerly awaiting. Don’t miss her visit to Asia House on 2 April.

Three fantastic writers who have appeared at Asia House will be returning during our Festival to preview their books, all of which will be published in the summer.

Noontide Toll is Romesh Gunesekera’s book of linked stories set in Sri Lanka as the country moves forward after nearly three decades of conflict.  One of Granta’s 2013 Best Young British Novelists Xiaolu Guo unravels the story of Chinese lovers separated by the Jasmine Revolution in I Am China.

Award-winning author and The Times literary critic Neel Mukherjee asks: “How do we imagine our place amongst others in the world?” in his powerful and emotional second novel, The Lives of Other People. Be the first to get a glimpse of these exciting books at the Festival.

Korean fiction will be making its mark on the UK this year too.  Asia House will be taking part in the British Council/London Book Fair initiative, Korea Market Focus in April, when a delegation of Korean novelists, writers and poets will be coming to London. Korean literature is unique and rich, but until now, difficult for us to access in English. To solve this problem, UK publisher Dalkey Archive Press will be publishing 25 Korean literary works in English by September, including novels by some of Korea’s best- selling authors.

Non-fiction Asian books to look out for in 2014

The non-fiction world of 2014 will be largely focused on commemorating the start of WWI with a great many histories bombarding us throughout the year. Look for a series of e-books being published by Penguin Australia in the Autumn with works by Jonathan Fenby, Paul French and others writing about aspects of China during the Great War. India’s contribution to WWI will be examined in The Indian Army on the Western Front by historian George Morton-Jack, published by Cambridge Military Histories in June.

Looking towards South Asia, in January the acclaimed author and historian, John Keay will be launching the first ever history of the subcontinent as a whole – Midnight’s Descendants: A History of South Asia since Partition.

John Keay

John Keay

Commonwealth Prize winner Rana Dasgupta publishes his first non-fiction book, Capital: A Portrait of Twenty-First Century Delhi, in March.

Rana Dasgupta

Rana Dasgupta

The world’s biggest democracy will be going to the polls in 2014 in the largest democratic election ever to be held.  Dr Mukulika Banerjee of LSE examines India’s democracy in Why India Votes – a timely and fascinating look at the motivations of ordinary voters, the electoral process and the voter’s role within the Indian democracy.

“Tiger Mother” Amy Chua returns in February with a study of what makes some Asian ethnic groups successful in The Triple Package, written in collaboration with Jed Rubenfeld.

Other books we recommend looking for this year are:


Decoded by Mai Jia – February

Mr Seddon’s Map of China by Timothy Brook – February

The River’s Song by Singaporean author Suchen Christine Lim – April

No Country by Indian author Kalyan Ray – May


North Korea: State of Paranoia by Paul French – March

Ten Cities That Made Empire by Tristam Hunt – March

Will China Dominate the 21st Century? by Jonathan Fenby – March

Packing Up by Brigid Keenan – April

The Last Yakuza by Jake Adelstein – April

The Benares Cookbook by Michelin star chef Atul Kochhar – April

Baghdad City of Peace – Justin Marozzi –  June

Memoirs by Nobel Prize laureate Amartya Sen – July

Many of these authors will be at Asia House in the coming months to discuss their books.

Watch our programme for these events and for the programme of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Festival of Literature, available in March.

You can book a pre-Festival event on April 2 here.