Over 600 young people from schools across England (in London, Manchester, Leicester, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham) discover new writing from across Asia annually as part of the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival schools writing programme. Delivered by Eastside, the writing programme is drawing inspiration from the theme of 'Difference and Conformity' and aims to create awareness of great fiction written by Asian writers, to provide an opportunity for young people to explore other cultures around the world and to inspire them to write their own stories and essays about the chosen theme and what it means to them.
During the workshops which are led by writers on Eastside’s creative team, participants explore Asia, its geographical expanse and diversity and examine issues and social mores in Asian countries. Areas of focus this year include: China, Japan, India and Pakistan as well as exploring the lives of Diaspora communities from these areas.
As a culmination of the outreach programme, participants produce their own original writing ready for submission to Asia House’s competition for young writers. In 2016, writers can submit in three categories: fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The young writers’ work is shortlisted by a panel from Asia House and final winners are selected by students’ peers and the general public through an online poll. Winners are announced at a celebration event taking place at Asia House at the end of June, where students will also be able to meet with published writers and poets and work with facilitators on discussing and debating difference and conformity within society creating their own manifestos.
The winners of the 2016 schools writing competition are:
2016 Festival featured books and authors: