Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2017

East meets West: Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival announces 2017 programme

LONDON UK: At this time of overwhelming global change, the 2017 Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival will feature writers and thinkers inspired by topics including the human condition, social issues, and long-forgotten pasts. Leading foreign correspondent Christina Lamb will open this year’s Festival with a discussion on what life is really like reporting from the front line in the Middle East. Turkish author Elif Shafak, British-Pakistani novelist Nadeem Aslam, and award-winning playwright Sabrina Mahfouz are among the other thought-provoking speakers that make up the 2017 programme.

The Festival will run from Tuesday 9 May until Friday 26 May, with the majority of events taking place at Asia House’s central London headquarters. A selection of pre and post-Festival events will take place throughout April and May.

Now in its 11th year, the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is the only UK Festival dedicated to pan-Asian writing. With talks from a journalist living on the edge, an author credited with being the woman who reintroduced hard core sexuality into Bengali literature, and an investigative journalist covering North Korea, the 2017 Festival has a programme of events to suit all different tastes, interests and persuasions.

A new set of events has been introduced for 2017. The six talks taking place as part of the Sin Cities: Vice & Virtue Across Asia’s Urban Landscapes series will take audiences on a journey across Asia’s most controversial cities. From Beirut, the wild child of the Middle East, to Manila, a city at the heart of a Drug War, each event will shed light on these multifaceted metropolises through the eyes of everyday people. Through looking at the topic of sin and its flipsides of vice and virtue, the Sin Cities series will challenge perceptions and raise both important and exciting questions. Speakers include Filipino author Miguel Syjuco, Chinese writer, journalist, social commentator Lijia Zhang, and Korean-American investigative journalist Suki Kim.

There will be a number of books launched at this year’s Festival including Zeina Hashem Beck’s new poetry book Louder than Hearts, which has been described as a lens through which to see life in the Middle East; the English translation of Ece Temelkuran’s hugely popular novel Düğümlere Üfleyen Kadınlar or Women Who Blow on Knots, an empowering tale that challenges assumptions about politics, religion and Middle Eastern women; the English translation of Min Jin Lee’s book Pachinko, a novel that follows a Korean family through four generations; and Michael Dobbs-Higginson’s memoir A Raindrop in the Ocean: The Life of a Global Adventurer, an action-packed true story of the author’s life where he has been, among other things, a Buddhist monk, a drug smuggler and Chairman of Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific.

Hande Eagle, Literature Programme Manager, said of this year’s Festival: “We have put together a rich and diverse literary programme designed for all lovers of the written word in all its shades. For 2017 we have focused our efforts on giving voice and power to more women writers than ever as we pursue the human values of peace, compassion, inclusion and openness.”

For more information about the Festival and to see the full programme of events, please visit the Asia House website here. The Asia House Twitter handle is @asiahouseuk.

For press enquiries, please contact Lucy Tomlinson on or 0207 307 5451.


Asia House is the centre of expertise on Asia. Along with its comprehensive Business and Policy Programme, Asia House also supports a vibrant Arts and Learning programme that presents over 100 events a year, offering a rich selection of events to explore and enjoy the arts and cultures of Asia. It is the leading pan-Asian organisation in the UK, having built its reputation on its extensive network, its objectivity and its independence.

The Bagri Foundation is a UK registered charity whose principal aims include the advancement of literature, education and the arts, as well as the appreciation and understanding of Asian cultures. The Foundation runs rich and diverse cultural programmes and collaborates with other organisations to further its own charitable objectives.

The Asia House Bagri Foundation partnership was announced in January 2014 and has enabled Asia House to expand its schools and libraries programmes outside of London and to promote literacy in areas throughout the UK where there are large populations of Asians and British Asians. As part of this year’s Festival, there will be a number of youth engagement programmes including school workshops and a student writing competition. For more information about the partnership, click here.