UK's first festival of Muslim culture, literature and ideas launched today

Elif Shafak, Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic and Kamila Shamsie among highlights of the 2018 programme

The UK’s first dedicated festival of Muslim culture, literature and ideas, MFest, will take place at the British Library, in central London, on 27-29 April 2018.

MFest brings together Muslims and non-Muslims to celebrate the richness and plurality of Muslim cultures, and explore contemporary Muslim thought through the breadth of its heritage, politics, and communities. The new annual festival aims to provide a platform for emerging and established writers, performers and artists to present their works and bring together Britain’s diverse and vibrant Muslim population.

Tufyal Choudhury, Director of MFest, said:

“We are delighted to launch a festival of books and ideas that recognises the diversity, differences and dynamics of Muslim cultures and lives. MFest challenges a fundamental feature of Islamophobia, which sees Islam and Muslims as a monolithic, static block.”

Nearly 30 events will make up the MFest programme, including poetry readings, workshops, performances, discussions, after parties and family events. The award-winning novelist and political commentator Elif Shafak will give the 2018 keynote speech, following music by the acclaimed Palestinian singer Reem Kelani.

Contributors to the Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic book come to MFest with a stand-up comedy night, and Kamila Shamsie will be in conversation with the journalist Razia Iqbal.

The journalist Remona Aly leads a discussion on Islam and evolving feminisms, and independent publishers discuss the ins and outs of selling works by Muslim writers, chaired by BAME in Publishing co-founder Sarah Shaffi.

Rai, AlexReads, and Derek Owusu discuss the intersection between literature and pop-culture as they create a live version of their podcast, Mostly Lit, and Malia Bouattia, former president of the National Union of Students, looks at the future of Muslim activism.

The consequences of the Grenfell fire for activist movements are discussed by community organiser Pilgrim Tucker, Emma Dent Coad MP, and the grime artist Saskilla, and the cultural critic Ziauddin Sardar is part of a panel investigating Sheikh Google and how knowledge about Islam is shaped by algorithms.

MFest will see the dancer Akram Khan in conversation, and amongst a series of workshops and activities, there is a poetry workshop with the poet, essayist and literary researcher Momtaza Mehri, DIY magazine making with the Khidr Collective, and a drumming workshop with Louai El Hanawi.

MFest is sponsored by the the Aziz Foundation, an independent grant-making body seeking to support the most disadvantaged communities in Britain, and DeepMind, the world leader in artificial intelligence research.

Book tickets and join the conversation at: mfest.org | twitter.com/MfestUK

For all media enquires please contact Daniel Kramb and Stephanie Speight at FMcM Associates on 0207 405 7422 or, danielk@fmcm.co.uk, stephanies@fmcm.co.uk

 

About MFest | The UK’s first dedicated festival of Muslim culture, literature and ideas. Sponsored by the Aziz Foundation and DeepMind, MFest brings together Muslims and non-Muslims to celebrate the richness and plurality of Muslim cultures, and explore contemporary Muslim thought through the breadth of its heritage, politics, and communities. The new annual festival aims to provide a platform for emerging and established writers, performers and artists to present their works and bring together Britain’s diverse and vibrant Muslim population.

About Tufyal Choudhury | As a researcher and academic working on human rights, discrimination  and social inclusion, Tufyal Choudhury spent the past decade exploring the experiences of Muslim communities across Europe and north America. His conversations with political activists, community organisers, writers and thinkers, have left him with a sense that there are huge shifts happening below the surface, as young Muslims are exploring the ideas and identities that will shape this century.

About Aziz Foundation | The Aziz Foundation is an independent grant-making body seeking to  support  the most disadvantaged communities in Britain. It aims to do this through supporting community empowerment, leadership development and greater public engagement by them in wider society. The Foundation seeks to support individuals and projects, strengthen organisations and networks, and help incubate innovative ideas that will ultimately improve the conditions in and for these sections of our society.

About DeepMind | DeepMind is the world leader in  artificial intelligence research and its application  for positive impact. DeepMind was founded in London in 2010 and backed by some of the most successful technology entrepreneurs in the world. Having been acquired by Google in 2014, they are now part of the Alphabet group. DeepMind is based in London, with additional research centres in Edmonton and Montreal, Canada, and a DeepMind Applied team in Mountain View, California.