Be My Guest

Reflections on Food, Community and the Meaning of Generosity

Maybe food really is the simplest way for people anywhere to share with each other. Eating is the one universal, daily activity that underpins human life. However much or little we think about it, food is a force – and shared its power may be amplified.
Be My Guest by Priya Basil (eBook ISBN 9781786898500) book cover

Available as eBook, Downloadable audio

A meditation on the meaning and limits of hospitality today, from the shortlisted author of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

‘A brave and beautiful exploration into food, race, memory and the very meaning of life. I read it greedily - and so will you’ Meera Sodha, author of Fresh India

The dinner table, among friends, is where the best conversations take place – talk about the world, religion, politics, culture, love and cooking. In the same way, Be My Guest is a conversation about all these things, mediated through the sharing of food. We live in a world where some have too much and others not enough, where migrants and refugees are both welcomed and vilified, and where most of us spend less and less time cooking and eating together. Priya Basil explores the meaning and limits of hospitality today, and in doing so she invites us to consider that how much we have in common may depend on what we are willing to share.

“An intimate, delicious and thought-provoking story, told with warmth, humour and generosity”
Nigel Slater

See more reviews

“A powerful meditation on hospitality … Packed with such brilliance”
observer, Best Food Book Of The Year

“[Basil’s] notion of “unconditional hospitality” could save the world … Her views are radical and persuasive, rooted in the knotty, sensual, frequently funny complexity of her peripatetic life … compellingly beautiful”
financial Times

“The subject of food and its many-threaded associations – of generosity and privation, sharing and hoarding, diversity and denial, pleasure and fear – is the starting point for this absorbing meditation on the interface of self with other in contemporary Europe. Priya Basil writes with honesty, clarity and wit about what it means to be hospitable in a culture of selfishness, and the problems and possibilities of commonality”
Rachel Cusk

“A brave and beautiful exploration into food, race, memory and the very meaning of life. I read it greedily - and so will you”
Meera Sodha

Priya Basil was born in London to a family with Indian roots and grew up in Kenya. She is a novelist and essay-writer whose work has been nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She is the co-founder of Authors for Peace, a political platform for writers and artists. She lives in Berlin.