Asia+n writing in English

Leave a comment

Report: Panel discussion on “Conflict and Literature” held in India

Report by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose


On Thursday, 16 Oct 2014, H.E. Ambassador Feilim McLaughlin of Ireland hosted a literary soiree at his residence. It was organized to commemorate the centenary of World War I.  The event consisted of an exhibition on the Irish poet W.B. Yeats and a panel discussion on “Conflict and Literature”. The panelists were three Indian authors/journalists—Paro Anand, Samanth Subramanian and Amandeep Sandhu and the discussion was moderated by Ambassador McLaughlin. Ambassador of Ireland Feilim McLaughlin said the event was intended to explore the role of the writer in portraying or interpreting conflict, drawing parallels between the experience in Ireland and South Asia. The evening was curated by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose. Continue reading

Leave a comment

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature: Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’, Khaled Hosseini’s ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ among books in longlist

jhumpa_lahiri-620x412Four Indian authors including three poets are among ten writers longlisted for the US $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Popular novelists Khaled Hosseini and Jhumpa Lahiri have also made to the longlist for their books And the Mountains Echoed and The Lowland. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Kitaab Review: Vinod Rai’s Not Just An Accountant—The Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper

Readers will be left wondering if the story of Vinod Rai’s who at the apogee of his life with his vast background and experience is to be judged by the referred case studies alone or he will have a second take, let the unsaid unfold and another volume touching untouched or less touched areas of his life will soon be with them, writes K. K. Srivastava.

Vinod RaiNot Just An Accountant—The Diary of the Nation’s Conscience Keeper
by Vinod Rai
Rupa, New Delhi
Pages-267/ Hard-bound
Price-Rs 500/

Let an anecdote precede the beginning. “It is impossible to clean the kind of clothes we wear today!”  It is Franz Kafka writing from his Trip to Weimar and Junghorn dated 9th July 1912. On 10th February 2010, I communicated this line to a group of my literary friends telling them that I felt it was the crux of Kafka’s diaries and sought their interpretation. Much to my chagrin none responded. Two and half years later on 17th June 2012, one writer named dan zafir enlightened and this is what he says—‘Clothes, I think, are the psychic layers… They were made “pret a porter” by our parents, society, peers, etc…not necessarily in our ‘true size’ As about dirtying them, we got them already dirty, and it is one’s job to clean or change them with ‘clothes’ of one’s true size. Now I have a question for you! Who made the Emperor’s clothes?’ The answer has eluded me thus far. Continue reading

Leave a comment

From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Central: The Case of Hong Kong by David Graeber & Yuk Hui

From the LARB

Sometimes it seems as if every time Occupy has been declared dead in one place, it crops up somewhere else. From Nigeria to Turkey, Brazil to Bosnia, and most recently, now, Hong Kong, where a sudden and unexpected revival of “Occupy Central” — the movement that set up camp on the ground floor of the HSBC headquarter in Central in 2011 in solidarity with the occupation of Zuccotti Park in New York — has paralyzed the city for over a week.

This is not just a change of language or tactics by those engaged in social protest. 2011 marked a moment where the very notion of what it means to organize a democratic revolution permanently changed. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Mike Meginnis’ ‘Fat Man and Little Boy': If you’d nuked a city, you’d feel guilty too

Fat manThe author T.C. Boyle in the preface to his book “Stories II” published last year made a convincing argument that runs counter to the conventional wisdom to “write what you know.” Boyle said: “A story is an exercise of imagination — or, as Flannery O’Connor has it, an act of discovery.”

Enter Mike Meginnis and his novel “Fat Man and Little Boy,” which takes the bombings of Hirsohima and Nagasaki as the nexus for an oddly impressive debut novel. The book follows the two bombs — the eponymous brothers who have been made flesh — as they grapple with the enormity of what they did, their earthly forms and what is to come.

Read More

Leave a comment

Why Indian English literature owes a lot to Raja Rao’s Kanthapura

kanthapuraIf you were to ask the average Indian reader today whom they consider the pioneer of Indian writing in English, most answers would point to an author with the initials ‘CB’. If you were to ask a student of Indian English Literature, chances are that Raja Rao’s name would never come up as an answer. In fact, even for those who have heard of him, their engagement with his work is usually limited to hearing a passing mention in a ‘History of Indian English Literature’ class. It was the case with me. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Chen Xiwo: Author provocateur

Chen Xiwo, whose works often tend to be interpreted as erotic and violent, might actually be a closet romantic, as Chitralekha Basu and Sun Li discover.

Chen XiwoEven as he looks to get feedback on The Book of Sins, a collection of seven novellas (translated into English by Nicky Harman and recently published by Forty-six Books in the United Kingdom and in Hong Kong), Chen Xiwo is equally keen to talk about being a writer in present-day China.

Chen, 52, is the first Chinese writer to become a part of Leeds University’s Writing Chinese project that attempts to showcase distinguished Chinese literary voices in the UK.

Read More

Leave a comment

The Son of an Untutored Philosoher: An excerpt from ‘IQBAL’ by Zafar Anjum

iqbal frontIn a wide green field, a crowd chases a pretty, white pigeon. The pigeon circles above the heads of the chasing party. The crowd, in a mad dash, tries to capture the bird in flight. Now the bird flies high and now it descends down, teasing those who are sprinting after it. At last the pigeon swoops down into the lap of a tall and handsome 40-year-old man who accepts it as a gift from the heavens.

Shaikh Noor Muhammad, the man dreaming this dream, wakes up with a smile in a house near Do Darwaza Mosque in Kashmiri Mohalla in Sialkot, a border town of the Punjab located by the Chenab river, at the foot of the Kashmir hills.

It is a cold night in early November and he sees his wife Imam Bibi sleeping peacefully next to him under a warm blanket. She is expecting again and he interprets the dream to be a divine indication that he will be blessed with a son whose good fortune it will be to serve mankind. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Chinese Sci-fi bestseller to be translated into English

“Ball Lightning”, one of the bestselling recent Chinese science fiction novels, is to be released in English.

The novel, first published in Chinese in 2005, was written by Liu Cixin, China’s most prolific and popular science fiction writer.

Liu said he was delighted to have reached agreement about theEnglish version of his novel, describing it as a good chance to show Chinese people’s thoughts about space and the universeto global readers.

Read More

Leave a comment

China, Arab states vow closer ties between libraries

China and the League of Arab States on Monday agreed to strengthen ties between their libraries and establish a long-term cooperation mechanism for information and literature preservation.

The two sides plan to hold a biennial conference of library, information and literature preservation professionals, according to a communique released after a forum attended by representatives of both sides.

The two sides will also set up a network between major centers to jointly create a directory of information, literature and books, according to the communique.

Read More


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,860 other followers