Blog DESIblitz Literature Festival
Indi Deol, founding director of DESIblitz tells us all about the DESIblitz festival!
About DESIblitz Literature Festival
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 and South Asian literary stars. A mix of in-person events at The Mac, Birmingham and digital sessions, festival tickets will be £5 each, available through the website.
Now in its fourth 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 representation 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.
Representation still matters now in 2022 as much as it did when I was growing up and at school as a child. When I was growing up, I hardly visited the library or connected with the books I was made to read because I could not see any references to my British Asian lifestyle being reflected in the books or in the authors.
The young people of today do have more choice and variety in the books they read than we did but change is still not happening fast enough. We now have a chance to change the narrative within literature and to become more reflective of the communities in which we live. A greater diversity in literature is vital as it will mean more people of colour reading and writing and that is exactly what we aim to accomplish with our festival.
What we need is a top-down approach with publishers taking more responsibility for implementing change at the very top including the makeup of the staff and retaining talent within their organisations. We all want to see people who look like us and who come from similar backgrounds working in the bookshops on the high street and again change is happening but much more needs to be done to get this right.
The educational system is barely recognisable since I was at school due to all the changes that have taken place over the last decade alone. What’s even more shocking than that is that what is being taught to our young people has hardly changed at all!
Penguin Random House did a recent study which highlighted the lack of inclusion in schools which showed that fewer than 1% of students at GCSE who study a book by a writer of colour. Are we deliberately being denied the opportunity to study writers of colour within our educational institutions? I would go further to say, that the curriculum being taught today is out of touch with society and certainly does not reflect the diversity of inner cities in which we live and this in turn hinders the emotional and intellectual growth of young people.
The Future of Literature
Now more than ever we need to achieve greater diversity within literature and greater inclusion within our curriculum for our young people in education. We at DESIblitz Literature Festival along with others will continue to push for positive change as we move ahead and I for one, truly believe it’s not too far away.
We certainly will not stop doing what we do in this space until every reader, writer, author, or young person has the best possible literary experience possible in the future.
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If you have found this blog post interesting and want to find out more, check out our blog on Diversity In Publishing here!Published: Fri 11th Nov 2022