The DESIblitz Literature Festival
Indi Deol, founder of the festival. Photo courtesy of the DESlblitz Literature Festival.
Showcasing the breadth of talent and creativity in British South Asian literature today, the 2023 DESIblitz Literature Festival will take place across multiple locations in Birmingham from 20 – 29 October. Venues taking part in the Birmingham festival include B Music (formerly Symphony Hall), The Exchange Building, The Police Museum, Aston University, as well as libraries in both West Bromwich and Handsworth.
Themed events throughout the festival will feature crime fiction, children’s fiction, historical fiction, poetry readings, memoir, as well as discussions about diversity in British publishing, with a variety of music from Bangla to Punjabi Folk Music being performed. Tickets are free in line with the festival’s ethos of providing both access to the arts for all and equality of opportunity for careers in the arts. The one exception being the Opening Night event with the cast of Goodness Gracious Me and Ajay Chowdhury at The Police Museum. Ticket details are on the website.
Nina Wadia. Photo courtesy of the DESlblitz Literature Festival.
The festival’s headline event is a Goodness Gracious Me 25th Anniversary Panel featuring TV stars Kulvinder Ghir and Nina Wadia discussing why GGM was a watershed moment in British culture, with further stars to be announced.
Bestselling authors appearing at the festival include crime novelists Saima Mir and Ajay Chowdhury, children’s authors including GCSE set text author Bali Rai and Costa Prize Winning author Jasbinder Bilan. Non-fiction comes from former prison doctor Dr Shahed Yousaf, Justice of the Peace Nash Ramji talking about honour killings in the UK and lawyer Kavitha Rao talking about the legacy of female doctors in India.
Saima Mir. Photo courtesy of the DESlblitz Literature Festival.
There will also be live performances from some of the biggest names in Bhangra and Punjabi music including Channi Singh OBE the “godfather” of Bhangra in the West, as well as Harbans Singh Jandhu, Kulwant Singh Bhamrah from Punjabi folk singers the Grewal Twins and the master of bhangra dancing Sukhi Bart.
DESIblitz founder Indi Deol set up the DESIblitz Literature Festival because he wanted to create a platform that would establish writing as a viable career among British South Asian communities. The festival is now in its seventh year. At the heart of the festival is the desire to showcase the talents of established British South Asian writers to demonstrate to young minds and budding writers that it is possible to be a professional writer in the UK if you are from an Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan background. In order to make literature as accessible as possible most of the festival events are free. Tickets are available via Eventbrite, the DESIblitz Literature Festival website and through partner venues.
DESIblitz Truck Art Bus. Photo courtesy of the DESlblitz Literature Festival.
The DESIblitz Literature Festival also has a focus on bringing writing, storytelling and culture from South Asia to schools across the UK with the DESIblitz Truck Art Bus. The Truck Art Bus was decorated last year by world-renowned professional truck artist Haider Ali from Pakistan and has so far visited 11 schools and will be at the festival this year with a programme of storytelling from a range of South Asian cultures.
Bali Rai. Photo courtesy of the DESlblitz Literature Festival.
Festival Director Indi Deol said: "Our mission at the DESIblitz Literature Festival is to continue bringing together diverse audiences, transcending boundaries and celebrating the richness of cultures. With 90% of our festival events free to attend, we open doors to all, fostering inclusivity and accessibility. At the heart of our festival, we champion new and emerging voices, amplifying their stories and perspectives. We believe in nurturing talent and providing a platform for aspiring writers to shine. We invite you to explore the vibrant tapestry of storytelling, where renowned authors, thought-provoking panel discussions, interactive workshops, and mesmerising performances await. Mark your calendars and join us for a transformative experience that will leave you inspired, enlightened, and connected."