Asia+n writing in English

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Singapore: NLB to create ‘more transparent review processes’

National Library Board CEO Elaine Ng says it has found a “means and method” to put controversial children’s books in the adult section of the library: CNA

The National Library Board (NLB) will move the children’s titles that have been the subject of recent controversy to the adult’s section, and plans to create “more transparent review processes” for its books, CEO Elaine Ng said on Friday (July 18). The announcement follows instructions from Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim to reinstate the books in a separate section. Continue reading

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Book Review: The Gypsy Goddess by Meena Kandasamy

Spare, incandescently passionate, straining conventions, Meena Kandasamy reignites the Kilvenmany massacre: Urvashi Butalia in The Outlook

Gypsy GoddessThe Gypsy Goddess is clever, serious, witty, devastating, unusual and breathtakingly varied. In the first 30 or 40 pages, you read your way through the author’s anxieties about how to tell her chosen story. As this somewhat exten­ded, witty reflection on the writer’s relationship to the story, her choices of the standpoints from where to construct the narrative closes, you find you are already acquainted with the characters you will now meet, and indeed how the story will unfold. Continue reading

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“It’s the writer’s job to provoke, stimulate— perhaps even titillate”: Samrat Upadhyay

In this interview with Kitaab’s fiction editor Oindrila Mukherjee, Samrat Upadhyay, a fiction writer of Nepali origin, discusses his journey in the world of fiction.

SamratupadhyayHis first book, the short story collection Arresting God in Kathmandu (Houghton Mifflin, 2001) has been translated into French and Greek and was the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award as well as a pick for the 2001 Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers Program. Upadhyay’s stories have been read live on National Public Radio and published widely as well as in SCRIBNER’S BEST OF THE WRITING WORKSHOPS and BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1999. Upadhyay’s novel The Guru of Love (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2003, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2003, and a BookSense 76 collection. The novel was also a finalist for the 2004 Kiriyama Prize, and has been translated into several European languages. Upadhyay’s story collection, The Royal Ghosts (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), won the 2007 Asian American Literary Award, the Society of Midland Authors Book Award, and was declared a Best of Fiction in 2006 by the Washington Post. The book was also a finalist for the Frank O’Connor Int’l Short Story Award from Ireland and for the Ohioana Book Award.

His second novel Buddha’s Orphans (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) has been called a novel of “ambition and heft” by The New York Times and “beautifully told” by Publishers Weekly, which gave it a starred review. The novel has been translated into German and Czech. It was also longlisted for the DSC Prize in India. The City Son, Upadhyay’s fifth book and third novel, was published last month by Soho Press.

He is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana University.

Are you really the first Nepali writer writing in English to be published in the West as Wikipedia says? And if so, why? What was happening in NEW before you? Continue reading

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Singapore: NLB to put two withdrawn books into adult section

Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information has also instructed the National Library Board to review their processes for dealing with such titles: CNA

Two books pulled off the shelves of the library’s children’s section will not be pulped, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told the Straits Times. Instead, they will be moved to the adult section. Continue reading

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India: International conference for literature lovers in Dec

Lovers of literature and language will have an golden opportunity as a city based research institute in language, Institute of Advance Studies in English (IASE) is planning to organize a three day long International Conference on Literature, Language and Culture in the city.The Conference will have renowned professors and authors from across the globe who will present papers on contemporary language, literature and culture and their centrality in the human life.While speaking to dna, the Director of IASE, Dr Ashok Thorat said that imminent professors from various universities in India and other countries like England, United States of America and other several countries will present their papers on diverse subjects under Digital Humanities, New Media Studies and Future of Humanities Studies tracks.

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Singapore: Suchen Christine Lim lashes out at NLB at Asia Pacific Writers’ Conference

The National Library Board (NLB) should have held discussion before destroying books, says Suchen Christine Lim at the 7th annual gathering of AP Writers and Translators in Singapore: CNA

SuchenLocal writer Suchen Christine Lim on Thursday (July 17) spoke out against the National Library Board’s (NLB) recent decision to withdraw and pulp three children’s titles deemed as not pro-family.

No public institution should destroy books, especially on family, without discussion, she said, adding that she was “dismayed, disappointed and angry beyond words”. Continue reading

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Wole Soyinka on Boko Haram: ‘Islam is not in danger’

The Nigerian Nobel laureate discusses Boko Haram, organised religion, and the current state of his country: Aljazeera

In a time when Nigeria is facing its toughest security crisis in decades, Wole Soyinka discusses the issues surrounding Boko Haram:

“Those who unleashed Boko Haram on the nation are not poverty stricken. They are politicians …. desperate for power, intelligent enough or perceptive enough to recognise that the cocktail of politics and religious fundamentalism can only yield them dividends. They think they have nothing to lose. But the foot soldiers have been indoctrinated for years, from childhood. And they believe that their religion [Islam] is in danger … But Islam is not in danger. It is the pervert followers who are being used and who use others and proclaim that they are fighting for Islam …. Continue reading

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Literature lovers camp out overnight as Hong Kong Book Fair begins

Hundreds of bookworms poured into the convention centre in Wan Chai this morning as the biggest event in the city’s literary calendar kicked off: SCMP

Hundreds of bookworms queued up in Wan Chai on Wednesday morning for Hong Kong’s biggest annual book fair, with some having camped out overnight to be among the first to hit the booths.

The Hong Kong Book Fair, which has run for the past quarter of a century, is open from today until next Tuesday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. There are 570 exhibitors from 31 countries and regions. Continue reading

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National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS) issues statement on the withdrawal of judges from Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) Non-Fiction category

The National Book Development Council Singapore (NBDCS) has issued a statement on the resignation of three judges from Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) Non-Fiction category. Here is the statement:

“The National Book Development Council Singapore (NBDCS) regrets the decision of three of the 36 judges involved in this year’s Singapore Literature Prize (SLP) to resign in protest of the recent decision of the National Library Board (NLB) to withdraw and pulp three children’s book titles.

However the NBDCS would like to clarify its relationship with the NLB. Neither organisation is involved in the day-to-day decision making of the other.

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