What festivals are on in London this May bank Holiday?

Interested in South Asian culture? Here’s what not to miss this May

The UK has long been known for its spectacular celebrations for art and literature across platforms. While traditional festivals like the Bath Literary Festival is celebrating its 70th anniversary with the likes of Susie Orbach, Amanda Palmer and SparkFest, comparatively younger festivals, such as the Bradford Literary festival includes songwriters and Manga workshops to give it a more contemporary touch.

Against this highly charged literary scene, we bring to you two festivals this May! Alchemy, a festival celebrating the cultural connections between South Asia and the UK and our own annual Litro Weekender festival to celebrate literature arising from the heart of the Korean and Indian culture.

With a spectacular mix of the new and the old, from the 4th May to the 7th May, Alchemy will titillate the senses of the audiences with a plethora of sights, sounds and smells. For 4 days at the South Bank Centre, they will host music, dance, performance and comedy events that will not only entertain you but also whet your appetite for the KERB Street Food Market for a scintillating taste of South Asia. 

Lose yourself as the vibrant team of Shiamak Davar, SHIAMAK UK DANCE TEAM, takes the stage to enthral you with gorgeous costumes and flamboyant moves or listen to The Ska Vengers for a refreshingly new take on music that blends elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap.

Highlights of the festival include a musical tour by Jarvis Cocker of the pop sensation ABBA, a solo dance performance by Akash Odera who combines Kathak dance with theatre, comedy and spoken word and much more! Take your pick from the mix of free and ticketed events to enjoy a weekend of music and dance from South Asia!

And that is not all this May! Our literary festival Litro Weekender’18 will bring to you 4 days of engaging events that explore questions on translating the Indian experience and discovering the Soul of Seoul, from 24th May – 27th May with panels on The Power of Translation across Fiction and Borders, Film Screening of The Old Garden, Negotiating the Net in an age of Fake News, discussions on the MeToo Movement, masterclass on writing, poetry reading sessions, and in an event chaired by female rights activist Sadaf Saaz, award winning translator Bae Suah will discuss how women are reclaiming the canon with journalist and commentator Suki Kim and award winning author Krys Lee.

 We will be joined by renowned writers and artists such as Suki Kim (The Interpreter), Krys Lee (How I Became a North Korean), Tishani Doshi (Countries of the Body) poet and dancer, Bae Suah (Recitation) contemporary Korean Author, Sadaf Saaz (Sari Reams) poet and director of Dhaka Literature Festival, writer Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay (Abandon), Anjali Joseph (The Living), Mary Lynn Bracht (White Chrysanthemum) and the Jaipur Literary Festival who will guest curate the events of the concluding day.a Two of our latest World Series installments Translating India (guest edited by Shashi Tharoor) launched in January at the Jaipur Literary Festival and Korean Women Grab Back due to be launched at the Litro Weekender at SOAS University, will carry in print the voices of writers from the two vibrant and undeniably diverse cultures.  

Litro’s founder and Editor-in-Chief Eric Akoto says, “Translating India and Korean Women Grab Back draws from a pot of languages and lives.”

So for 4 days this summer immerse yourself in the dazzling wonder of the rich heritage of these cultures!

“I’m looking forward to seeing other people engage with women writers from South Korea. ”

                                                    – Mary Lynn Bracht

Access full list of events and book your tickets here 


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