Two Leicester authors are set to headline a UK literary festival dedicated to writers, poets and broadcasters of South Asian descent.

DESIblitz Literature Festival will take place in Birmingham from September 18 to October 1, and will feature Bali Rai and Farhana Shaikh.

Born in Leicester to Punjabi parents, Bali Rai is an award-winning author and writer of more than 40 culturally diverse young adult, teen and children’s books.

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His latest book Mohinder’s War is set in World War II France, when a young French girl meets Mohinder – an Indian born RAF pilot.

Bali will be taking part in a panel discussion ‘Diverse Characters Matter’ with fellow children’s authors Serena Patel, Monika Singh Gangotra and Sita Brahamchari.

Farhana Shaikh is a writer, publisher and journalist born and bred in Leicester and who lives here with her two children and husband.

She is the founder of Te Asian Writer, an online magazine championing Asian literature and also established an independent press called Dahlia Publishing, which aims to nurture regional and diverse writing talent. She’ll be running a panel discussion about Women of Colour in Publishing.



Leicester author Bali Rai

DESIblitz will feature a mix of in-person and digital events. Most events are free, with the exception of three headline events – with Sathnam Sanghera, Nikesh Shukla and a panel event on Cultural Representation in Literature.

The festival is designed to encourage young and aspiring British Asian writers but is open to all.

It provides a programme of author events, workshops, performances and panel discussions, showcasing the work of British South Asian authors and poets, and international writers with South Asian heritage.

As well as aiming to inspire new creative writers, the festival provides an opportunity to highlight the way writers of South Asian descent have contributed to the literary world.

Organised by the DESIblitz.com website, one of the festival’s core aims is to create an incubator for British South Asian literary talent, inspiring and encouraging the British South Asian writers of the future.

According to the organisers, DESIblitz.com has launched the careers of more than 40 British South Asian journalists, and the festival was started three years ago to encourage a younger generation of British South Asians to read more books and to become writers.

DESIblitz Literature Festival director Indi Deol said: This is the third annual literature festival curated and produced by DESIblitz.com. As in previous years, the aim of the festival is to provide a platform for new voices from within the British South Asian writing community, as well as feature existing British South Asian voices, who are already successful as role models.

“As well as aiming to inspire new creative writers, it provides an opportunity to highlight the way writers of South Asian descent have contributed to the lliterary canon across the world. It has never been more important to showcase the incredible and multifaceted talent of Britain’s South Asian literary community.”

Click here for details of all events, and for tickets, visit the festival.