September 22 2014
Popular author-readers jamboree postponed to secure ‘bigger and better’ event in 2015…
ONE OF THE MOST popular events on the UK South Asian arts calendar is not going to take place this year.
Bhavit Mehta, director of the South Asian Literature Festival (SALF), confirmed to www.asianculturevulture.com, there will be no UK edition of the annual celebration of south Asian writing in the west this year.
He told www.asianculturevulture.com: “We are going to return in 2015, bigger, better and stronger. We are reviewing our whole strategy as we want to take the festival nationwide – perhaps to four or five cities across the UK.
“We could have held a festival this year, we had the money but we wanted to do something bigger and better and that caused us to review our whole funding strategy.
Both he and fellow festival founder Jon Slack, who run the festival through Amphora Arts, considered hosting something more modest in scale this year.
“It was a hard decision but expanding the festival meant we needed the time to talk to more people about our plans,” Mehta explained.
There is now the possibilty that well-known authors may be able to participate in more than one event and be seen in cities such as Leicester, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
Mehta said he could not confirm which cities might be involved, but discussions were well under way and there had been a very positive response.
“We’re hugely excited about the prospects and it will allow more people to engage with more authors. We’re looking for corporate sponsors,” he disclosed.
The festival has enjoyed growing popularity and has more than 3,500 followers on Facebook, but since the first year it has not had major private backing.
Indian infrastructure company DSC supported the festival in its first year in 2010, and it also supported the inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival in India in 2008.
DSC is no longer the main sponsor of the Jaipur Literature Festival (Indian multi-national broadcasters ZEE are now) but does continue to fund the $50,000 South Asian Literature Prize, announcing the winner in Jaipur.
The South Asian Literature Festival was the first festival organised by Mehta’s Amphora Arts, which earlier in May this year produced the first ever Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts, in London, to great acclaim. It attracted audiences of more than 4,000 people and had the likes of 2013 Booker Prize Winner New Zealander Eleanor Catton participate.
“Yes, it was very successful but it had the full backing of the Australian and New Zealand governments.
“We had a 110 writers and it included Aboriginal and Maori authors among them and we could not have done that without major financial backing,” explained Mehta.
Last year’s South Asian Literature Festival saw blockbuster Hindu epic author Amish Tripathi and 2013 Booker nominee Jeet Thayil participate. The festival was held between October 23-November 1 2013.
The Jaipur Literature Festival takes place between January 21-25 2015 and among the authors announced in the line-up are VS Naipul and Hanif Kureishi.
Main picture: Bhavit Mehta (left) quizzes Amish Tripathi about his blockbusting novels in the Shiva Trilogy series at SALF 2013
- South Asian Literature Festival 201
- Jaipur Literature Festival 2014
- Hanif Kureishi