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The DESIblitz Literature Festival: 12th–25th November 2022

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Wordspark

ADRIAN WHITE

The DESIblitz Literature Festival, the UK’s leading South Asian Literature Festival, will take place from 12th – 25th November 2022, featuring a line-up of leading British South Asian literary stars. The festival will be a mix of in-person events at The Mac in Birmingham and digital sessions. To encourage student attendance and public engagement during these economically challenging times, this diverse festival, featuring a unique series of events, will be completely free to attend.

Now in its fifth year, the festival offers author talks, panel discussions, workshops, and poetry performances, and aims to encourage young, aspiring British Asian writers. The festival showcases South Asian literary and cultural excellence, and demonstrates the remarkable contribution of South Asian writers, poets, and artists to the British cultural landscape.

A truly unique cultural festival, the DESIblitz Literature Festival will feature discussions with award-winning authors and journalists, acclaimed directors and screenwriters, renowned poets and more, tackling topics including overcoming challenges in publishing, advice for aspiring authors, and the importance of identity and heritage in the stories we tell.

The DESIblitz.com website has launched the careers of over 40 British South Asian journalists, and now uses the festival to inspire a younger generation of British South Asians to read and write more often.

DESIblitz Literature Festival Director Indi Deol said: This year we are excited to be supporting even more emerging authors, writers and presenters of colour than we have done in the past. The DESIblitz Literature Festival has never shied away from discussing important topics that impact our industry from breaking traditional stereotypes to discussing how the Partition of India has shaped our lives here in the UK and this year will be no different! We have a wide selection of events and workshops so there is something to suit everyone but the underlying theme is to support the next generation of talent who in the current economic climate is struggling now more than ever.

Diversity and Representation in British Writing

Sessions at the festival will tackle timely conversations around representation of South Asians in British writing, and the challenges faced by writers from these backgrounds trying to tell their stories. The panel event Migration Stories – 75 Years of Partition, hosted by Bhaskar Choudhary, will see Rakhshan Rizwan, Dr Bhuvan Lal and Usha K.R. discussing the storytelling coming out of India and Pakistan since they gained independence in 1947. Breaking Barriers: Characters in South Asian Literature will see authors Abda Khan, Shahida Rahman and Reshma Ruia discuss their careers and how they represent South Asian culture and voices in their work.

Author Events

Highlights from the 2022 DESIblitz Literature Festival author programme include:

Journalist and I Belong Here author Anita Sethi appearing in conversation with presenter Tommy Sandhu, discussing writing and representation in the Storytelling & Voices session.

Ready Steady Cook chef Romy Gill discussing writing about cookery in Romy Gill: The Art of Food Writing.

Betty Trask Prize and Desmond Elliott Prize winning novelist Anjali Joseph will talk about her latest novel Keeping in Touch with Aisha Farooq in Not Just Another Love Story.

Comedian Sadia Azmat sharing insights into her career and memoir in Sex Bomb LOL.

On Writing

A number of sessions across the Festival will see authors, publishers and other literary experts take to the stage to discuss books, writing and getting published.

Events on 13th November will provide an insight into the world of children’s books, with authors Bali Rai and Sufiya Ahmed appearing in discussion in Writing For Children. Rai will also run a workshop for aspiring authors, providing his advice in Creative Writing for Young Writers.

We Love Books Too! Author Recommendations will see journalist and crime author Saima Mir, debut novelist Abda Khan, comedian and novelist Sukh Ojla and Bali Rai discuss their favourite books, and Why Audio Books? will showcase the benefits of audio publishing, with appearances by novelist Anita Nair and audio producer Jessica Stone. Aspiring writers will have a chance to pitch their ideas to publishing experts in Pitch Session with Flame Tree Publishing, while a panel headed by Merky Books’ Assistant Editor Tallulah Lyons will offer practical advice around Overcoming Challenges to Get Published. Fans of comics and graphic novels will be treated to An Introduction to Writing Comics on 18th November, a workshop run by filmmaker, publisher and founder of Rattapallax, Ram Devineni.

The festival will also offer incredible insights into the world of writing for the screen. Film journalist and author Puneet Bhandal, artist Samir Bhamra and Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries Rajinder Dudrah will discuss writing for Bollywood in discussion session Bollywood Matters – Scripts, Writing & More!, while director Nathalia Siam will lead a Script Writing Workshop for aspiring screenwriters.

Poetry & Art

On 20th November, Poetry and Spoken Word will see Balraj Sohal host an event during which poets Rupinder Kaur, Shagufta Iqbal and Jaspreet Kaur will perform their work. The festival will close with an event called The Art of Poetry with Imtiaz Dharker, in which award-winning poet, artist and filmmaker Dharker will share her work, which handles themes around home, freedom, gender and cultural displacement.

World renowned Pakistani truck artist Haider Ali has been commissioned to create The DESIblitz Truck Art Bus, a mobile space to deliver arts activities to communities across the UK, providing accessibility to arts and tackling regional inequality. The bus will also provide exposure for British Asian authors and artists, building their profiles, amplifying their voices, and inspiring the next generation as they tour schools, colleges and universities.

See here for further information.

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