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Asia House

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63 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7LP
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Babita Sharma: Generations Apart? Reflections of a Second Generation Immigrant

This event is part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2019. #AsiaLitFest 'Britain is a nation of shopkeepers, and the story of corner shops is the story of who we are.'

BBC journalist Babita Sharma is a second generation immigrant who was raised in her parent's corner shop in Reading. Her book The Corner Shop provides an insight into how these shops mirrored the shifting British landscape - from the general stores of the first half of the 20th century to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe starting from the 60s.

Join us as Sharma explores the evolving place of the cornershop in the UK and examines wider British attitudes towards immigration and how these have continued to change. She will also discuss second generation immigrant identity and how the generational view on being an immigrant differs - and is at times at odds with - one another.

This event will include an audience Q&A and book signing.

We are pleased to be in partnership with the Migration Museum for this event.

About Babita Sharma Babita Sharma is a journalist, TV presenter and news anchor for the BBC. She presents Newsday on BBC World News, covering major global news events including the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore, the EU Referendum, the Rio Olympics and the award-winning BBC 100 Women series. Passionate about diversity and mental health issues, Sharma mentors BAME journalists and also works with the charity Mind.

Sharma presented BBC Two's Dangerous Borders: The Story of India & Pakistan. The documentary series took Sharma to the India/Pakistan border 70 years after Partition, following in the footsteps of her family who were directly affected. The Corner Shop is her first book. It follows her critically acclaimed documentary Booze, Beans & Bhajis: The Story of the Corner Shop, broadcast on BBC Four, BBC News Channel and BBC World News.

About the Migration Museum The Migration Museum stages exhibitions, events and workshops that explore how the movement of people to and from Britain across the ages has shaped who we are – as individuals, as communities, and as a nation. The museum is currently based at a temporary venue in Lambeth as it works to create an inspiring, permanent national Migration Museum, a nation-wide education programme, and a knowledge-sharing network of museums and galleries across the UK. For more information, visit

Tue 1 Oct

£10 (£8; Students free Limited Availability)

British Asian Women and Shakespeare

British Asian women have been doing revolutionary work with Shakespeare in theatre, film and literature. Join acclaimed actor Shobna Gulati and academic Dr. Koel Chatterjee for a lively discussion on presenting Shakespeare for modern audiences and the impact of British Asian women on popular culture Shakespeare productions.

About Shobna Gulati Winner of the best actress award at the 2019 Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Awards, Shobna Gulati is a British Asian actress who has been a part of three acclaimed Shakespeare productions – Richard II directed by Adjoa Andoh & Lynette Linton at the Globe (where she played York), Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Jatinder Verma at Tara Arts (Helena) and Romeo and Juliet directed by Nona Shepphard (Lady Capulet). She has also been celebrated for her performances in a range of theatre and TV productions such as Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Mamma Mia, Dinnerladies, Coronation Street and Dr Who, thus proving her versatility as an actress. Shobna is classically trained in Bharata Natyam and having studied at Trinity Laban she has choreographed A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the round at Stoke, New Vic and a critically acclaimed Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.

About Dr. Koel Chatterjee Koel was awarded her PhD in Shakespeare and Bollywood in 2018 from Royal Holloway, University of London and is currently working on a monograph on the history of Bollywood Shakespeares as well as an edited collection of essays on the impact of Shakespeare and Indian Cinemas in the West. She has interests in organising academic events and has co-organised India-Pakistan-UK: Intertwined Narratives, 2017 in collaboration with RHUL and Tara Arts, Indian Shakespeares on Screen, 2016 in collaboration with BFI Southbank and Asia House and the Shakespeare and Bollywood Conference at Royal Holloway University of London, 2014. She also has interests in crossover pedagogical practices in the classroom and in applying literary and pedagogical research to affect policy change.

This event is part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2019. #AsiaLitFest

Tue 24 Sep

£10 (£8; Students free Limited Availability)

Follow Me Akhi: The Online World of British Muslims

This event is part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2019. #AsiaLitFest

'A detailed and often witty journey through the online areas where Muslims congregate … Kesvani delivers a tableau of British Muslims wrestling with subjects ranging from clean eating and marriage to LGBT and gender rights.’

— The Observer

'Follow Me, Akhi provides an important first case study into the struggles of British Islamic identity, exploring how a new generation of young Muslims are using the internet to determine identity on their own terms.’

— i-D

What does it mean to be Muslim in Britain today? If the media is anything to go by, it has something to do with mosques, community leaders, whether you wear a veil, and your views on religious extremists. But as all our lives become increasingly entwined with our online presence, British Islam has evolved into a multidimensional cultural identity that goes well beyond the confines of the mosque.

Entering a world of memes and influencers, Muslim dating apps, and alt-right Islamophobes, Hussein Kesvani reveals how a new generation of young Muslims who have grown up with the internet are using social media to determine their religious identity on their own terms—something that could change the course of ‘British Islam’ forever.

Kesvani will be at Asia House to delve into the many identities of British Muslims today and to recount the multi-faceted stories that he uncovered during his research for the book.

This event will include an audience Q&A and book signing.

Hussein Kesvani is a journalist, editor and producer based in London. He is the Europe editor of MEL Magazine, and has written for BuzzFeed, Vice, The Guardian, the New Statesman and The Spectator, among others.

About Shelina Janmohamed

Shelina Janmohamed is the bestselling author of Love in a Headscarf, a memoir about growing up as a British Muslim woman. Her most recent book, Generation M: Young Muslims Changing the World, is an exploration of the rising group of global Muslims who believe that faith and modernity go hand in hand, and that they are going to have a disproportionate influence on our future world. She writes for the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the National and the BBC. She presented a programme on AI and Religion for BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief. Shelina is the vice-president of Ogilvy Noor, the world’s first bespoke global Islamic branding practice for building brands with Muslim audiences. She was named one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims, and specifically one of the UK’s 100 most powerful Muslim women. The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising named her as one of the ‘Future Female Leaders of British Advertising.’

Image courtesy of Jamie Drew

Thu 26 Sep

£10 (£8; Students free Limited Availability)

Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS

This event is part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2019. #AsiaLitFest

Based on years of immersive reporting, Pulitzer finalist Azadeh Moaveni has written a gripping account of thirteen women as they joined, endured and, in some cases, escaped life in the Islamic State.

On the date of publication, join us for the launch of Moaveni’s new book: Guest House for Young Widows: Among the Women of ISIS.

Women were essential to the establishment of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's caliphate, but among the many books trying to understand the terrifying rise of ISIS, none have given voice to the women who were part of it.

Responding to promises of female empowerment and social justice, and calls to aid the plight of fellow Muslims in Syria, thousands of women emigrated from the United States and Europe, Russia and Central Asia, from across North Africa and the rest of the Middle East to join the Islamic State. These were the educated daughters of diplomats, trainee doctors, teenagers with straight-A averages, as well as working-class drifters and desolate housewives, and they set up makeshift clinics and schools for the Islamic homeland they envisioned.

What is the line between victim and collaborator? How do we judge these women who both suffered and inflicted intense pain? Moaveni takes us into the school hallways of London, kitchen tables in Germany, the coffee shops in Tunis, the caliphate’s OB/GYN and its ‘Guest House for Young Widows’ — where wives of the fallen waited to be remarried — to demonstrate that the problem called terrorism is a far more complex, political, and deeply relatable one than we generally admit.

This event will include an audience Q&A and book signing.

About Azadeh Moaveni Azadeh Moaveni is a journalist, writer, and academic who has been covering the Middle East for two decades. She started reporting in Egypt in 1999, while on a Fulbright fellowship to the American University in Cairo. For the next several years she reported from throughout the region as Middle East correspondent for Time magazine, based in Tehran, but covering Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq. She is the author of Lipstick Jihad, Honeymoon in Tehran, and co-author, with Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening. In November 2015, she published a front-page piece in The New York Times on ISIS women defectors that was finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. Her writing appears in the Guardian, the New York Times, and the London Review of Books. She teaches journalism at NYU in London, is a former fellow of the New America Foundation, and is now senior gender analyst at the International Crisis Group.

Image Azadeh Moaveni courtesy of Mary McCartney

Thu 10 Oct

£10 (£8; Students free Limited Availability)

Karl reMarks: The Middle East - A Year in Review

This event is part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2019. #AsiaLitFest

Karl Sharro, the political and cultural online sensation behind the popular Twitter handle @KarlreMarks, will take a look back at the media’s depiction of key moments in the Middle East this year. Analysing the topical news and views of 2019, Karl will bring his wry observations and witticisms to a discussion with British-Lebanese writer Nasri Atallah.

This event will include audience Q&A and book signing.

About Karl Sharro Karl reMarks is a Middle East political and cultural online commentary with frequent forays into satire. It is written by Karl Sharro, whose work has been featured in the BBC, Al-Jazeera, The Economist, Ted-X Talks, Wall Street Journal and Guardian among others. In 2016 Karl’s video ‘the simple one-sentence explanation for what caused Isis,’ went viral, with 1.6 million views on Facebook alone. Alongside his role as a satirist and commentator on the Middle East, Karl has practised architecture in London and Beirut.

About Nasri Atallah Nasri Atallah is a British-Lebanese writer, television documentary presenter and producer. His writing has appeared in GQ, The Guardian, Little White Lies & Monocle, amongst others, and he is a regular guest on the BBC’s The Arts Hour.

Wed 9 Oct

£10 (£8; Students free Limited Availability)

SHAPESHIFTER: The Multiverse of Wallace Chan

SHAPESHIFTER: The Multiverse of Wallace Chan

First UK solo show by renowned artist Wallace Chan.

Sat 14 Sep


Sun 15 Sep


Mon 16 Sep


Tue 17 Sep


The Stories We Tell

This event is part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2019. #AsiaLitFest Tanika Gupta, Nish Kumar, Vinay Patel, Nikesh Shukla in conversation

Chaired by Nomia Iqbal

In TIME Magazine, Nikesh Shukla recalled his early experiences of seeking a publisher, and being told that his characters were not “authentically Asian enough.”

“Not all writers of colour want to write about race,” Shukla says, “they want to write sci-fi, or creative non-fiction about bee keeping.”

In this event, an impressive array of writers and performers will discuss the pursuit of creative freedom, literary acts of defiance, and the stories they are encouraged or allowed to tell.

Tanika Gupta has written for theatre, radio, film and television. Her stage plays have been performed at the Royal Court, National Theatre and Young Vic, and include Voices On The Wind, Skeleton, On The Couch With Enoch and The Waiting Room.

Nish Kumar is an acclaimed comedian, actor and presenter. He is host of the satirical news programme The Mash Report on BBC 2 and is a regular contributor to Q.I., Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You.

Vinay Patel is a writer for stage and sceen. His first piece for television, Murdered By My Father, was nominated for three BAFTAs. He has written for the Bush Theatre and the latest series of Doctor Who.

Nikesh Shukla is the author of three novels, is the editor of the bestselling essay collection, The Good Immigrant and the co-founder of The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.

Their discussion will be chaired by the journalist Nomia Iqbal.

This event will include audience Q&A and book signing.

We are pleased to be in partnership with The Royal Society of Literature for this event.

About the Chair Nomia Iqbal is an award winning journalist and broadcaster with BBC News. She has travelled across South Asia, Africa and Europe specialising in politics, governance and youth issues. She presents news and current affairs on BBC World Service, BBC 5live and BBC Radio 1, as well as reporting for domestic and international television.

Image courtesy of Shamphat (Nikesh), Helen Murray (Vinay)

Tue 15 Oct

£10 (£8; Students free Limited Availability)

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