DESIblitz Literature Festival returns with Shukla and Sanghera headlining

DESIblitz Literature Festival returns with Shukla and Sanghera headlining

The DESIblitz Literature Festival is returning to Birmingham for its third year this September, showcasing the work of the UK's leading British South Asian literary talent and headlined by Nikesh Shukla (pictured) and Sathnam Sanghera.

This year's event will run from 18th September to 1st October and will be a mix of in-person and digital events. All tickets are free apart from three headline events at £2.99 per ticket with Sanghera, Shukla and a panel event on cultural representation in literature. Live events will take place at the Rep Theatre and B Music (formerly Symphony Hall) in the city centre.

Discussions will cover fiction, poetry, history, politics, diversity, erotica, psychology, science and art as well as conversations around the lack of diversity in the publishing industry, with just 6% from a South Asian background, as well as workshops on how to break into publishing.

Festival director and founder Indi Deol said: "The aim of the festival is to provide a platform for new voices from within the British South Asian writing community, as well as feature existing British South Asian voices who are already successful as role models. As well as aiming to inspire new creative writers, it provides an opportunity to highlight the way writers of South Asian descent have contributed to the literary canon across the world. It has never been more important to showcase the incredible and multifaceted talent of Britain’s South Asian literary community." 

Discussions on diversity in British publishing include “Diverse Characters Matter” about the importance of diversity in children’s books, with leading authors Bali Rai, Serena Patel, Sita Brahamchari and Monika Singh Gangotra; “Cultural Representation in Literature” about the importance of diversity in adult writing with Saima Mir, Pragya Agarwal and Sufiya Ahmed; as well as "Women of Colour in Publishing" discussing the importance of diversity in British publishing with Farhana Shaikh from Dahlia Publishing, and Hannah Chukwu from Penguin.

Workshops taking place in person at the festival include "Genre, Setting and Character" led by children's author Bali Rai, "Writing Memoir" led by Shyama Perera, as well as a South Asian poetry masterclass with acclaimed poet Rupinder Kaur, a Birmingham Panjabi writer and performer whose debut poetry book Rooh was published in 2018 with Verve Poetry Press.  

Highlights from the author programme include talks with the award winning Bangladeshi novelist and Granta Young Writer Tahmima Anam about her critically acclaimed 2021 novel The Startup Wife (Canongate), author, journalist and screenwriter, Sarfraz Manzoor discussing his new book They: What Muslims and Non-Muslims Get Wrong About Each Other (Headline), Nikesh Shukla talking about his new book Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home (Pan Macmillan), and journalist and author Sathnam Sanghera, discussing his latest book Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain (Penguin).

There will also be an evening of poetry on Sunday 19th September, including founder of Kiota Bristol, Shagufta K Iqbal who will read from her poetry collection Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam (Burning Eye). Afshan D’Souza-Lodhi will also read from her debut collection of poetry, re:desire (Burning Eye), which was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize.

Tickets can be booked here