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Founders of AIM Literary Festival say ‘inclusivity should be the norm, not the exception’

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AIM festival returns to normalise diversity and offer a stage for marginalised writers

The AIM (Author In Me) Literary Festival, is returning following huge success in 2022. The festival, which is founded by Ekta Bajaj and Monica Sood, strives to empower diverse voices and promote inclusivity in publishing. It aims celebrate storytellers, launch new books, and foster a vibrant literary community.

One of the key focus of the festival is to normalise diversity and offer a stage for marginalised writers, spanning all age groups, in their battle against stereotypes and restricted opportunities. To foster this significant change, this year’s AIM Literary Festival (ALF) takes place on 19 November at Brent Civic Centre with Shrabani Basu who is a Sunday Times best-selling author and journalist delivering a keynote speech.

Speaking to Asian Standard Ekta Bajaj said: “We believe that every good storyteller, regardless of their age, gender and cultural background should get the opportunity to share their story and every reader can find themselves reflected in the pages of a book. To accomplish this goal, we work tirelessly and take several initiatives.”

Co-founder Monica added: “In our pursuit to champion the stories that often go unheard, we offer a stage for emerging authors to present their work alongside seasoned industry experts. This not only enriches the festival but also provides a rare opportunity for new voices to be heard and acknowledged.”

Fostering the idea that inclusivity should be a norm, this great initiative hopes to be the voice for South Asian writers in London. This year, the theme – #LetsShareOurStories focuses on celebrating a day with inspiring storytellers, new book launches, expert talks, exciting creative writing workshops, and a StoryGarden bookshelf to showcase special picks.

“Our expectations are anchored in the belief that inclusivity should be the norm, not the exception, in the literary world. Through “Story Garden,” we aspire to showcase that every good story deserves recognition and a place on bookshelves across the country, regardless of the author’s cultural background, age, or gender. We want to send a clear message: diversity should be normalised,” shared Ekta, emphasising the festival’s dedication to celebrating diversity.

With the inception of the AIM Literary Festival, it created a vibrant forum where the literary community gathers to engage in meaningful dialogues about the significance of diversity in literature, supporting marginalised writers and the ways to integrate it into the mainstream seamlessly.

“There’s a tendency for these writers to be stereotyped into writing about specific topics or in styles that conform to narrow industry expectations, which can stifle their creative genius. Established Literary Festivals rarely give a chance to debut authors and it is even challenging for South Asian writers due to limited receptivity. AIM (Author In Me) actively combats these challenges by providing a robust platform for marginalised voices through initiatives like the AIM Literary Festival, which fosters discussions on diversity in publishing and promotes emerging authors, “said Monica.

Ekta further adds, “Our collaboration with local bookstores, media and PR companies aims to put a spotlight on emerging authors. Our podcast ‘Inspiring Conversations’ gives additional opportunities to reach a global audience.  By doing so, we ensure that diverse authors break through and receive the marketing support and industry connections necessary to amplify their stories and maximise their reach.”

AIM is dedicated to empowering emerging writers to discover and hone their unique voices as it offers a comprehensive support system that guides them from the initial spark of an idea through to the publication of their book.

With bigger plans in the pipeline AIM plans to enhance the literary festival, making it an even more influential platform for underrepresented writers. Next Year, AIM plans to host the festival at multiple locations in the UK to reach wider communities and to foster meaningful connections within the literary community.

 

 

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