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The Festival of Asian Literature - Asia House

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE FESTIVAL of Asian Literature, Britain’s first and only major festival of its kind, returns to Asia House for the second consecutive year – from May 12 to May 23, 2008.

Celebrating the newest and best of writing on Asia in a series of talks and discussions, The Festival of Asian Literature focuses on Asian and non-Asian authors writing about Asia, in a programme that covers a broad spectrum of fiction and non-fiction from a selection of Asian countries.

The 2008 Festival features some of the finest authors in the genre, including Ma Jian (Beijing Coma), Michael Wood (The Story of India), Charles Allen (Kipling Sahib – India and the Making of Rudyard Kipling), Sashi Tharoor (The Elephant, The Tiger and The Cell Phone) and Duncan Campbell (The Paradise Trail) with Pankaj Mishra.

Journalist and author Xinran, Man Asian Prize listed Cheiw-Siah Tei and detective novelist, Diane Liang Wei will share a panel to talk about the lives of Chinese women and how they portray them in their writing.

The Man Booker Prize short-listed author Mohsin Hamid (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) will join forces with BBC’s Mohammed Hanif, (whose A Case of Exploding Mangoes will be available in June), to discuss the challenges faced by Pakistani writers in the midst of political and social unrest.

While Will Hutton (The Writing on the Wall; China in the 21st Century) and Rob Gifford (China Road) examine the economic and social challenges facing China today.

Charlotte Pinder, Chief Executive, Asia House, commented: “We at Asia House are proud of our role to promote a deeper understanding of the diverse cultures of Asia. The Festival of Asian Literature will provide an unmissable opportunity to interact with some of Asian literature’s finest authors.”

And Adrienne Loftus Parkins, Festival Director supports this thought: “With the cultural diversity in Britain today, it is imperative that we understand and appreciate each other. What more accessible way to begin this process than through literature.”

While Shashi Tharoor, former Under Secretary General of the UN, said: “I’m delighted that Asia House is running a literary festival. It’s vital that Asian writing enjoys the support of a major institution in a global capital like London, and I’m happy to be involved.”

For more information visit the Asia House website.