DESIblitz Online Literature Festival Programme 2020

DESIblitz presents its online literature festival programme 2020 with virtual workshops and Q&A’s with established writers and authors.

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"We are keen to showcase writing and spoken word"

The DESIblitz Literature Festival 2020 will see a host of talented British Asian and South Asian writers and authors in exciting virtual workshops and Q&A sessions.

Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, DESIblitz wants to ensure everyone’s safety, hence it’s decided to bring it online for our viewers.

Previously, the festival was held in various venues across the city of Birmingham in the UK.

However, this year, viewers will be able to enjoy the programme from the comfort of their homes for free.

Supported by the Arts Council England, the DESIblitz Online Literature Festival for 2020 comprises of poetry workshops, in conversations, writing masterclasses, readings, Q&As and much more.

Sarfraz Manzoor, Hari Kunzru, Moni Mohsin, Bali Rai, Humza Arshad, and Amerah Saleh are some of the names in the festival programme. 

Poet Roshan Doug and chef Shamil Thakrar recently added their names to the line-up of authors who are taking part in the Online Literature Festival.

Not only that, but some of the amazing members of the DESIblitz editorial team including Faisal Shafi, Hiyah Zaidi and Aayushi Jain will be hosting various events.

Taking place between 19 September 2020 to 25 September 2020, the Online Literature Festival celebrates the launch of an exciting new DESIblitz Arts platform.

This new initiative was designed to promote and support the South Asian writing community.

We highlight the details of the festival events taking place online.

In Conversation

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DESIblitz will run several very special in conversation sessions with a range of renowned published writers and authors.

Invited authors include Serena Patel, Hari Kunzru, Shiv Ramdas, Manjeet Mann, Moni Mohsin, Jaspreet Kaur, Saz Vora, Sairish Hussain and Samit Basu.

Not only that but the co-founder of Dishoom restaurants, Shamil Thakrar will also be gracing the festival.

Children’s author of ‘Anisha, the accidental Detective’ (2020), Serena Patel takes readers on a captivating journey of mystery and mayhem.

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British Asian novelist, Hari Kunzru has delivered exceptional books including ‘The Impressionist’ (2002), ‘Transmission’ (2004) and ‘Gods Without Men’ (2011) to name a few.

Interestingly, his work has been translated into a staggering twenty-two languages for everyone to enjoy.

Indian writer, Shiv Ramdas takes his readers on a postcolonial fiction journey. His impressive novel, ‘Domechild’ (2013) is a futuristic Sci-Fi novel which transports readers to another world.

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Manjeet Mann is an artist of remarkably diverse talent. Alongside being an actress, screenwriter and more, Manjeet Mann released her debut novel, ‘Run Rebel’ in 2020.

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Author of bestselling novels, ‘The Diary of a Social Butterfly’ (2008) and ‘Duty Free’ (2011), Moni Mohsin shares insights into her writing career.

Speaking about why she chose to self-publish, author Saz Vora explores love, loss and family in her writing.

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Upcoming ‘Brown Girl Like Me’ (2021) author and poet, Jaspreet Kaur will be answering questions for our viewers. She explores what it means to be brown and British feminist in her works.

Born and raised in Bradford, Sairish Hussain will be interacting with our host Aayushi Jain to answer numerous questions.

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Co-founder of Dishoom restaurants, Shamil Thakrar will be talking about his magnificent cookery book, ‘Dishoom: “From Bombay with Love” (2019).

Novelist and screenwriter Samit Basu will be speaking about his successful writing career. Best known for fantasy and science fiction works, in 2020, Basu published his most recent novel, ‘Chosen Spirits’.

These exciting in conversations will provide an insight into some of the most successful South Asians writers and their incredible journeys.

Poetry & Spoken Word

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DESIblitz will also be running poetry writing workshops, Original Voices, Spoken Word Performance and poetry performance.

Joining this incredible line-up is Amerah Saleh, Roshan Doug, Raman Mundair and Arun Paul Kapur, Rupinder Kaur and Pratyusha.

Poet Amerah Saleh will be sharing various new techniques helping people create a form of poetry which they can share with others.

She will also be joined by her special friends to deliver a special spoken word performance.

If you enjoy amusement, then be sure to join Roshan Doug’s workshop about how you can avoid writing poor poetry.

Created to give poets and spoken word artists the occasion to have a far reach, Original Voices will feature original performances from Raman Mundair and Arun Paul Kapur.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Arun Paul Kapur said:

“This particular event opens up the discourse in bringing no judgements with spoken poetry and expression of your soul.”

“We all have identity and it needs to be normalised for all to be themselves. I am excited to be part of an event that helps push this idea forward.”

Presenting a recorded performance of their poetry, Rupinder Kaur and Pratyusha will entertain viewers with this original performance.

After that, the pair will be online to engage in a live webchat to answer much-asked questions.

Reading and Q&A  

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Alongside in conversations and poetry and spoken word workshops, we have reading and Q&A with two amazing authors, Bobby Mann and Humza Arshad.

Bobby Mann is known for her modern folktales for children. In 2018, the storyteller was also a runner up for the Lancaster Dukes Awards for playwrights.

Not only that but in 2019, Mann was selected to be a part of Belgrade Theatres ‘Critical Mass Course.’

Her impressive career is certainly admirable. During the Q&A, Bobby Mann will be talking about the tales and stories which influence her.

Many of his fans know him as Bad Man on YouTube, but Hamza Arshad is also an international celebrity and author.

The author has recently released his second book, ‘Little Badman and the Time-travelling Teacher of Doom’ (2020).

His impressive career has seen him travel the globe as well as have his own scripted comedy series on BBC Three in the mockumentary series, Coconut (2017).

Humza Arshad will be answering questions in relation to his second Little Badman book and much more.

Writing & Storytelling Workshop

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It does not stop here. DESIblitz also presents storytelling with the multi-award-winning author, Bali Rai.

Born in Leicester, Bali Rai grew up in a multicultural community. His upbringing led him to become a writer of children’s and YA fiction.

Interestingly, his writing allows the reader to access unheard voices from contemporary times and world history.

Bali Rai will be exploring the use of emotional arcs to build better stories.

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Join Sarfraz Manzoor for our special masterclass. The writer will be helping creatives with his personal tips and hints in order to carve a successful writing career.

Offering his insightful masterclass, Manzoor will also be discussing the trials he faced as a working-class British Pakistani.

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Another masterclass will be held with Wersha Bharadwa who is an author, journalist and playwright.

This talented individual will be introducing you to the skills required for long-form journalism as well as sharing her new short fiction collection.

She will also be speaking about her career in playwriting.

Diversity in Children’s Publishing

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Examining the difficulties regarding diversity and representation in children’s literature, this important event will feature some of the top worldwide publishers.

Panellists include Asmaa Isse from Penguin Random House Children, Hannah Rolls from Children’s Educational Fiction and Poetry Bloomsbury Publishing and Emma from The Emma Press.

The live debate will be led by DESIblitz editor, Faisal Shafi. The event will highlight how issues can be addressed for young readers to ensure better South Asian representation.

Online Literature Festival 2020 Schedule

Poetry Workshop with Amerah Saleh

19 September 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

In Conversation with Serena Patel

Hosted by Bali Rai

19 September 2020, 4:00 pm – 4.30 pm

In Conversation with Hari Kunzru

Hosted by Faisal Shafi

19 September 2020, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

In Conversation with Shiv Ramdas

Hosted by Tommy Sandhu

19 September 2020, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Storytelling – Emotional Arcs with Bali Rai

20 September 2020, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

In Conversation with Manjeet Mann

Hosted by Aayushi Jain

20 September 2020, 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

Reading and Q&A with Santoshi Mann

Hosted by Aayushi Jain

21 September 2020, 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Poetry Writing Workshop with Roshan Doug

21 September 2020, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

In Conversation with Moni Mohsin

Hosted by Faisal Shafi

21 September 2020, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Original Voices with Raman Mundair and Arun Paul Kapur

Hosted by Hiyah Zaidi

21 September 2020, 8:30 pm – 9:00 pm

Writing Masterclass with Sarfraz Manzoor

22 September 2020, 7:00 pm – 7:30 pm

In Conversation with Jaspreet Kaur

Hosted by Rubeena Kaur Mehat

22 September 2020, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Reading and Q&A with Humza Arshad

23 September 2020, 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Diversity in Children’s Publishing with Asmaa Isse, Hannah Rolls and Emma

23 September 2020, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

In Conversation with Saz Vora

Hosted by Rubeena Kaur Mehat

23 September 2020, 8:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Writing Masterclass with Wersha Bharadwa

24 September 2020, 5:30 pm – 6:00 pm

In Conversation with Sairish Hussain

Hosted by Aayushi Jain

24 September 2020, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Spoken Word Performance with Amerah Saleh & Friends

24 September 2020, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm

In Conversation with Shamil Thakrar

Hosted by Faisal Shafi

25 September 2020, 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

In Conversation with Samit Basu

Hosted by Tommy Sandhu

25 September 2020, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Poetry Performance with Rupinder Kaur & Pratyusha

25 September 2020, 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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Each of these events has been designed to ensure literature enthusiasts acquire the maximum amount of knowledge and information possible in various domains of the English language.

Literature Festival director Indi Deol says:

“We want this festival to show just how important it is to provide ways in which new creative writers or performers can be seen and heard, especially those who come from sectors currently under-represented in the wider literature and publishing worlds.

“As an already successful online magazine, DESIblitz is in the ideal place to bring these new authors to the attention of a much wider audience.

“Having internationally known and successful writers such as Humza, Hari and Moni involved is fantastic news for the festival, but highlighting newer talent is just as important for us and always will be.”

Celebrating the launch of DESIblitz Arts, Indi Deol added:

“We’ve created DESIblitz Arts and are launching it simultaneously with the festival to ensure that we continue to support and nurture emerging literary talent throughout the year.

“This platform has been especially created to develop a community of like-minded people who are in need of support to get recognition for their work, and we are keen to showcase writing and spoken word that has a British Asian connection to South Asia.”

For more information about the full Literature Festival line-up and to book tickets, visit the DESIblitz Arts website here.

Ayesha is an English graduate with an aesthetic eye. Her fascination lies in sports, fashion and beauty. Also, she does not shy away from controversial subjects. Her motto is: “no two days are the same, that is what makes life worth living.”

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