What we're about

This meet-up has been running since 2008 and has a community of people interested in Books, Literature and Asian culture. The group is open to all nationalities and ethnicities. There is a variety of meet-ups and events organised for this group, all related to books, literature or Asian culture in some way. The aim of this group is to provide a forum for debate and discussion, to socialise and to inform.

The meet-ups in this group generally belong to one of the categories below:

1. Monthly Book Club meeting.

This is a structured book discussion, held once a month, on a weekend. It is held in the afternoon on a Saturday or a Sunday at a Central London Location. It is hosted by different members in the group. The host selects a book for the discussion and posts it on the meet-up site 1 to 3 months in advance. The book can be fiction or non-fiction, anything that is likely to generate a good debate and discussion. The books are mostly from the Indian sub-continent but regularly also from elsewhere in Asia, whether the middle east or south Korea, and also includes diasporic writing. The host chairs the discussion with the objective making the discussion participatory, thought provoking and fun.

The book club meetings last for 1-2 hours, with the formal discussion followed by social drinks and sometimes dinner. Each meet-up is expected to have 10-20 people.

2. Meet the Author

From time to time we invite authors to sit in on a discussion of their work. The meet the author events can be on a weekend or a weekday and last for 2 to 3 hours.

It is expected that between 15 and 25 people would attend a Meet the Author Events

The meet the author events appear as featured events with the prefix Meet the Author followed by the name of the Author.

3. Events

Any member is free to suggest and set-up an event which they feel may be of interest to other members of the group. These could be talks, exhibitions, films, cultural events or any other occasion remotely connected to books, authors or Asian culture. The events can be hosted events, where the host takes the responsibility of co-ordinating and managing the meet up or posted as for information only, that is not hosted, members can choose to go to these events if they wish but there will be no person co-ordinating or managing the meet-up.

Hosted events are posted on the meet-up with a prefix Event (hosted), the RSVP feature is enabled and the host is responsible for providing all the details of the events, such as tickets, where to meet and other details.

Non Hosted events will appear with a prefix Event (for Info). RSVPs to these events are blocked. If you are planning to go to one of these events you can post a comment and arrange to meet other people going to these events.

4. Special Events (Trips and Parties)

The book club also organises special events such as trips to literary or art festivals, in the UK or overseas. Each year there is a regular trip to the Hay-on-Wye literary festival in May and the Edinburgh fringe festivals in August, and other trips to places like Italy and India have also been organised in the past. These are fully organised trips, all the details including prices, itinerary, what to expect are posted on the meet-up site and it is advisable to book these well in advance as places are limited.

The book club also has a few large group social get-togethers every year. Traditionally there has been a book club anniversary party in October and a Christmas Party in December, however parties or picnics to mark other occasions may also be organised from time to time. These parties are at various venues around London.

All Special Events appear with the prefix Special Event and are marked as featured events and will appear on top of the list of meet-ups.

Upcoming events (5)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This month, we will be reading an Indian author, but a different kind of Indian author: the most famous of American-Indian/Native American writers - Sherman Alexie (I am going to do one non-Asian-but-still-somehow-related book a year and this is the pick for 2019). Topping the list of books Americans wanted censored in 2014 (it was one of the books readers tried hardest to remove from the shelves of America’s libraries), this is a young adult novel that tells the story of Junior, a young boy who wants to be a cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on 'the rez' to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, candid, frank and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is based on the author's own experiences, chronicling the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

The Good Immigrant USA

The Heights Bar

From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as 'lively and vital', editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be in the US is under attack. Chigozie Obioma unpacks an Igbo proverb that helped him navigate his journey to America from Nigeria. Jenny Zhang analyzes cultural appropriation in nineties fashion, recalling her own pain and confusion as a teenager trying to fit in. Fatimah Asghar describes the flood of memory and emotion triggered by an encounter with an Uber driver from Kashmir. Alexander Chee writes of a visit to Korea that changed his relationship to his heritage. These writers, and the many others in this singular collection, share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, troubling and uplifting, the essays in The Good Immigrant USA come together to create a provocative, conversation-sparking, multivocal portrait of America now. This meetup will be a joint meetup with the African Caribbean Book Club.

Hay Festival

Needs a location

Our annual trip to the Hay Literary Festival (hayfestival.org). We will stay in a hotel within easy travel range to the site. Cars will leave London at 9am Sat 25th May and we will be back by 7pm on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 2019. Approx cost £250 per person for accommodation and travel.

Ants Among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla

The Heights Bar

"My stories, my family's stories, were not stories in India. They were just life. When I left and made new friends in a new country, only then did the things that happened to my family, the things we had done, become stories. Stories worth telling, stories worth writing down." Like one in six people in India, Sujatha Gidla was born an untouchable. Her mother and uncles were born in the last days of British colonial rule. They grew up in a world marked by poverty and injustice, but also full of possibility. In the slums where they lived, everyone had a political allegiance. Rallies, agitations and arrests were commonplace. The independence movement promised freedom but for untouchables and other poor and working people, little changed. In candid, rich, novelistic prose, Ants Among Elephants tells Gidla's remarkable family story, detailing her uncle's emergence as a poet and revolutionary and her mother's struggle for emancipation through education. A moving portrait of love, hardship and struggle, Ants Among Elephants is a personal history of modern India, told from the bottom up. 'Outstanding in the intensity and scale of its revelations... Gidla's book achieves the emotional power of V.S. Naipaul's great novel A House for Mr Biswas.' --Pankaj Mishra, New York Review of Books 'The most striking work of non-fiction set in India since Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.' -- Economist 'The story Gidla recounts is so urgent and affecting that it is easy to overlook the extraordinary literary skill with which she tells it.' Literary Review 'Unsentimental, deeply poignant... Gidla writes with quiet, fierce conviction.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Book Review 'This is a vital and illuminating book. Sujatha Gidla tells it like it is. She rips the pious mask off a society that institutionalises injustice and inhumanity in the name of ancient culture and religious practice. We need libraries full of books like hers.' --Arundhati Roy

Past events (464)

The Plotters by Un-Su Kim

The Heights Bar

Photos (435)