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#Celebration: Opium, Coolies, Lost Souls and Tea at Asia House Literature Festival 2015

Award-winning Indian authors Anuradha Roy and Amitav Ghosh have been confirmed for this year’s Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival.

Now in its ninth year, the event is the only UK Festival dedicated to pan-Asian writing and will include talks from some of the most exciting names in Asian literature and takes place across London from 7 – 18 May.

Booker-nominated author Ghosh will be discussing his new masterpiece ‘Flood of Fire’ – the third instalment in the author’s celebrated ‘Ibis’ trilogy of historical fiction. 

Set in first half of the 19th Century, the saga deals with the trade of opium between India and China run by the East India Company and the trafficking of Indian manual labourers to Mauritius.

Ghosh will be joined by Anuradha Roy, who will launch her new book Sleeping on Jupiter and be in conversation with Claire Armitstead, books editor for The Guardian and Observer.

British Indian author and broadcaster Anita Anand will be discussing her book Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary with literary editor of The Independent, Arifa Akbar.

The talk will look at the role women could play in shifting the political outcome. 

Officially opening the Festival on 7 May is Chinese writer Xinran, who will launch her hotly anticipated book Buy Me The Sky.

A former radio show host and author of The Good Women of China, Xinran shifts her gaze to the topic of China’s only children, those born after the implementation of the One Child Policy. Her talk will explore the heart of modern China, a nation of sprawling skyscrapers and quiet alleys, where the youth are confused, restless and difficult to define.

Other prominent figures at the Festival include Turkey’s bestselling author Elif Şafak; Hwang Sok-yong, one of South Korea’s most important modern writers; famed food and travel writer Jeff Koehler who will take an alternative perspective on Asian culture, launching his book Darjeeling: The Colourful History and Precarious Fate of the World’s Greatest Tea.

In addition, the Festival will feature creative writing workshops, a walking book club and a celebratory series on storytelling.

There will also be a number of events for children including a celebration of The Ramayana and other classic stories from Asia, where Asia House will be turned into a magical realm, with roaming mythical characters, workshops, face painting and a story from celebrated children’s writer Jamila Gavin.

Jemimah Steinfeld, Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival Manager, said of this year’s programme: “The countdown has already begun for what should be a truly exciting and inspiring Festival. 2015 is set to be one of our most diverse festivals to date, which we have packed full of fresh voices and new perspectives, alongside some of the most esteemed and established writers from across Asia. The programme invites attendees to really think about the world around them and how it is being shaped in the here and now. Mixing all of this with fun, interactive events will create a truly dynamic Festival, one in which words come alive both on the page and off.”

For more information about the Festival and to see the full programme of events, click here.

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