Skip to content

Nikita Lalwani and Aliya Ali-Afzal in conversation with Sarah Shaffi

We are excited to be hosting this special virtual event with two fantastic authors – Nikita Lalwani and Aliya Ali-Afzal – alongside journalist Sarah Shaffi. Read on to find out more about their new books and how to register your free ticket.

About the event

Tuesday 29 June, 7-8PM
60 mins

Nikita Lalwani is the Desmond Elliott Prize-winning author of the novels Gifted and The Village. Her new novel, You People, centres around a group of people, many illegal immigrants, working in a London pizzeria. Would I Lie to You? is Aliya Ali-Afzal’s page-turning and funny debut about Faiza, whose carefully crafted life begins to unravel when her family is plunged into financial insecurity. They will appear in conversation with freelance literary journalist and editor Sarah Shaffi.

The two authors will speak to Sarah about their writing, their respective careers, and their novels’ shared themes of life in a big city, family, friendship, identity, the pressures of fitting in, and what it means to seek out a better life for yourself.

About Nikita Lalwani and You People

Nikita Lalwani was born in Rajasthan and raised in Cardiff. Her first novel, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and won the Desmond Elliott Prize. She was also nominated for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. She lives in London.

The Pizzeria Vesuvio looks like any other Italian restaurant in London, except half the kitchen staff are illegal immigrants. At the centre is Tuli, the restaurant’s charismatic proprietor, who promises to help anyone in need. Welsh nineteen-year-old Nia, haunted by her troubled past, is running from her family. Shan, having fled the Sri Lankan civil war, is desperate to find his. But when Tuli’s guidance leads them all into dangerous territory, each is faced with an impossible moral choice.

Pre-order a copy of You People (Viking, 8 July) from The Reading Agency’s shop, where sales will support The Reading Agency’s work and independent bookshops.

About Aliya Ali-Afzal and Would I Lie to You?

Aliya Ali-Afzal has a degree in Russian and German from UCL and worked as an Executive MBA Career Coach in London. While helping her clients to pursue their dream lives and careers, she decided to take her own advice and become a writer. Her writing has been longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, the Mslexia Novel Competition, the Mo Siewcharran Prize, and the Primadonna Prize. Aliya has lived in London all her life since moving there from Pakistan as a young child.

At the school gates, Faiza fits in. Now the snobbish mothers who mistook her for the nanny treat her as one of their own. When her husband Tom loses his job, he stays calm. But when Tom’s redundancy package ends, Faiza will have to tell him she’s spent it all. Until she doesn’t… Now Faiza has six weeks to find £75,000 before her lie spirals out of control

Pre-order a copy of Would I Lie to You? (Head of Zeus, 8 July) from The Reading Agency’s shop, where sales will support The Reading Agency’s work and independent bookshops.

About Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance literary journalist and editor. Her work has appeared in publications including Stylist, Vogue Australia, Boundless and The New Arab. She is editor-at-large at independent children’s publisher Little Tiger Group and co-founder of BAME in Publishing, a networking group for people of colour in publishing.

Click here to register your free ticket

You will be emailed a link to join the event via Zoom after registration.


Log in or Sign up to add a comment


Keeping your reading group active while social distancing

Are you wondering how your reading group can continue to meet, even while you’re social distancing? With many people at home with family, flatmates or on their own, we know that books are so important to provide comfort, solace and escapism. Staying socially connected, and keeping your regular reading group meetings in your diary, is going to be very important in keeping up morale and supporting everyone’s mental health as we adjust to a new way of living.


How to start a reading group

Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started.


Hive and The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency loves books, in every form, and we know you do too. We love it when people borrow books in every format from their brilliant local libraries. We love it when reading groups get exclusive free proofs from our publisher partners. We love it when readers pick up a pre-loved book from a second-hand bookshop for a song. And we also love it when you buy yourself or someone else a brand new book from a high street bookshop. We also know that buying online is quick and convenient...

View our other programmes