South Asian Literature Festival brings Bollywood and Fairytales to London

The third annual South Asian Literature Festival will take place from 1st to 11th November 2012 in London.

The Festival will feature over 80 novelists, journalists, performers and writers from the UK and abroad, participating in over 50 events across London.

Directors of the South Asian Literature Festival, Bhavit Mehta and Jon Slack said this year’s Festival will be bigger and broader than the previous edition. “There’s something here for everybody – South Asian media ethics; the Mughal empire; a tribute to the groundbreaking Urdu partition writer Manto. On top of that we’re launching several excellent autumn titles at the Festival and showcasing fresh writing from a host of outstanding new voices.”

For the opening weekend, the Festival will take over the Bush Theatre with four days of talks, theatre, workshops, comedy and even live cooking.

The Festival opens on Thursday November 1st with a discussion of Shakespeare in South Asia – a debate on how much influence the great Sanskrit Epics had on Britain’s best known playwright– and, conversely, how strongly the Bard’s work has influenced countless Bollywood storylines.

The Festival will also screen the performances of Taming of the Shrew in Urdu and Twelfth Night in Hindi, as seen at the Globeto-Globe series at Shakespeare’s Globe.

They will complement a discussion with Globe Festival Director Tom Bird and Theatre Directors Tim Supple and Iqbal Khan (currently touring the RSC’s Much Ado About Nothing), about the challenges of staging Shakespeare in South Asian settings.

Forty years on from the expulsion of 60,000 Asians from Uganda by Idi Amin, the Festival commemorates this occasion with a half-day symposium at the Commonwealth Club on Tuesday 6th November. Speakers include author Giles Foden, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, businessman Kamlesh Madhvani and former Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, Tarique Ghaf fur, CBE QPM.

The event also launches Exiles: a major new oral-history project funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, to record and
share the stories and experiences of the Ugandan-Asian community.

The politics and ethics of South Asia’s mass media will be debated at an event on Tuesday 6th November, with journalists asking: What would the Leveson Inquiry report look like if it were to examine media across the subcontinent? It will feature a keynote address from
Hameed Haroon – proprietor of Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English language
newspaper – plus, among others, journalists Andrew Whitehead and Nupur Basu.

The work of Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto, chronicling the partition of India, has left a lasting mark on contemporary novelists. The Festival celebrates the centenary of his birth with readings and reflections on his life and legacy at the Free Word Centre on Wednesday 7th November.

The full programme can be found online at

Tickets can be bought through the Festival website or by calling the Box Office on 020 7205 2510, between 10am – 6pm, Mon – Sat.

Follow the Festival on Twitter @SthAsianLitFest and at

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