About the Mumbai Literature Festival

Conceptualised in 2010, the Mumbai Literature Festival was introduced by writer and columnist, Anil Dharker who felt the need for a festival that was a celebration of global writing and introduced the best of world literature to the city. In 2015, the British Council proudly partnered with the Tata Mumbai Lit Live to bring three UK authors and one female performer to the festival .

With new awards such as the Book of the Year (Fiction and Non Fiction) as well as Business Book of the Year the sixth edition proved to be very interesting. There was also a new category of a Poet Laureate citation to honour that most sublime form of literature.

Schedule of events with authors: Jon Turney, Rachel Holmes, Laura Bates and performance by Hannah Silva 

Dates Venue Authors Theme for the sessions                                                            
Thursday, 29 October  Little theatre, NCPA John Turney

No Man's Land, Imagining the Earth without humans


Friday, 30 October Sea View room, NCPA John Turney

Writing Science: Engaging the Reader


Friday, 30 October Experimental Theatre Hannah Silva

Performance (Schlock) 


Saturday, 31 October Easel, workshop, Juhu Laura Bates

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates


Saturday, 31 October  Godrej Theatre, NCPA Rachel Holmes 

Under the skin The Art of writing Biographies

Sunday, 1 November Experimental Theatre, NCPA Rachel Holmes and Laura Bates

He Surfs, She Surfs Sexism in the age of digital media 


Sunday, 1 November Prithvi Theatre, Juhu Hannah Silva

Performance (Schlock)



Rachel Holmes in Kolkata:

The author of Eleanor Marx: A Life (Bloomsbury, May 2014) was in conversation with Malavika Banerjee, producer of the Kolkata Literary Meet at the British Council office in Kolkata. She also held a talk at the Department of English and Culture Studies at The University of Burdwan for students and academics from the University. 


Author: Professor John Turney

PROFESSOR JOHN TURNEY: John Turney has been a science writer, editor and reviewer since the early '80s, with spells as a journalist (Times Higher Education Supplement), academic (UCL) and publisher (Allen Lane). He now mainly writes books – past writing or editing efforts are arrayed on the left here -and take on other freelance commissions which are interesting or serve causes I support, or even both. His most recent was a look at 50 years of heart disease research and therapy, written with Julie Clayton for the British Heart Foundation’s anniversary in 2012.

Author: Rachel Holmes

RACHEL HOLMES: She is the author of Eleanor Marx: A Life (Bloomsbury, May 2014), serialised on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and rated one of the best reads of 2014 by The Telegraph. She is the winner of a 2015 Gladstone’s Library Writer-in-Residence Prize (November 2015) and currently shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize. She is also the author of The Hottentot Venus: The life and death of Saartjie Baartman (Bloomsbury) and The Secret Life of Dr James Barry (Viking & Tempus Books). In 2013 Holmes co-edited, with Lisa Appignanesi and Susie Orbach, their much-discussed Fifty Shades of Feminism. She is editor of the companion volume, I Call Myself A Feminist, a collection of 25 young British feminists under 30, which will be published by Virago in November 2015.

She was co-commissioning editor of Sixty Six Books: 21st Century Writers Speak to the King James Bible (Oberon, 2011) with Josie Rourke and Chris Haydon.  In 2010 she received an Arts Council cultural leadership award as one of Britain’s Fifty Women to Watch. She is one of the 80-strong Writers at Liberty group of British writers currently focused on supporting the Liberty campaign to save our Human Rights Act. She is now writing a book about Sylvia Pankhurst.

In 2014, Holmes was Guest Editor of Beautiful Resistance: A Wasafiri Special Issue on Palestine. She is a graduate of PALFEST and was Writer-in-Residence teaching on the PALFEST Palestine Writing Workshop from 2009-2013. She has worked with and for British Council literature festivals and international programmes since 2000. Since 2012 she has been the UK chair of the Iraq Literature Festival. She was recently chosen to be one of the writers on the literary tour for the UK - Russia Year of Culture.  She is currently curating the Nelson Mandela Festival at the Southbank Centre (July 2015) and Amongst Women in Belfast (August 2015), the first cross-border festival, taking place in west Donegal (21st - 23rd August) and Belfast, 27th - 31st August.

As an academic, Holmes held Lectureships at the University of London and the University of Sussex and was a visiting fellow at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. As an online entrepreneur, she was one of the founding launch team of amazon.co.uk in 1998. She was director of Literature & Spoken Word at London's Southbank Centre where she pioneered the annual London Literature Festival. Holmes piloted the first Palestine Writing Workshop established by the Palestine Festival of Literature (PALFEST) in 2009 and was Writer in Residence and a regular tutor on the programme for four years. She has taught courses for the Arvon Foundation and was a tutor on the West Dean Creative Writing MA awarded by Sussex University.

She serves and has served on various boards, including Oxfam GB, English PEN and Wasafiri.   She writes regularly for the UK national press and international publications and regularly features across the cultural and political media. 



Author: Laura Bates

LAURA BATES: She is the founder of the award-winning Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 100,000 testimonies of gender inequality, which has been described as “one of the biggest social media success stories on the internet”. The project has now expanded into 18 countries worldwide. Laura has an online following of over 200,000 and appears frequently on television and radio programs and writes regularly for The Guardian, and The Independent.

She was the recipient of the Georgina Henry Women in Journalism award at the 2015 British Press Awards. She is also Contributor for Women Under Siege, a New York-based organisation working against the use of rape as a tool of war in conflict zones worldwide, and she is Patron of Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, part of the Rape Crisis network. Laura’s first book, Everyday Sexism, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2014 and will be published in the US by St Martin’s Press in 2016. It was shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year award and Political Book Awards Polemic of the Year, and named one of the Bookseller’s Top 10 Non Fiction Books of the Year. Laura was a judge for the 2015 Bailey’s Women’s Fiction Prize.


About the performer: Hannah Silva

HANNAH SILVA: She is a poet, playwright and performer known for her innovative explorations of form, voice and language in performance. Her work explores a wide range of subjects: from political rhetoric (Opposition) to paranormal science (Total Man), teenage sexual identity (Orchid) to long distance running (Marathon Tales). Her current performance, Schlock!, is a editation on pain, the body and the self, consent, complicity and ownership, splicing the language of Fifty Shades of Grey with a novel by Kathy Acker. Schlock! premiered at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and is performed using British Sign Language, soundscapes and poetry.

Her debut poetry collection Forms of Protest (Penned in the Margins, 2013) has been widely praised and was Highly Commended in the Forward Prizes. She won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Drama Script with her verse play Marathon Tales (co-written with Colin Teevan for BBC Radio 3) and has been shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Total Man.

Silva’s texts and performances play on the borders of artforms, drawing on her background in music (Conservatoriam van Amsterdam), choreography (Dartington College of Arts) and theatre (MFA Exeter University). She has shown her work throughout the UK and internationally including at the Tokyo Design Centre, Krikri International Festival of Polyphony in Belgium, Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Southbank Centre, Sage Gateshead, and the Lowry. She is currently Associate Lecturer in Poetry and Playwriting at Birkbeck, University of London, and Associate Artist of Penned in the Margins.