Asia+n writing in English

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Assailants hack to death Bangladeshi writer Avijit Roy, wife injured

Avijit-Bonya_FBPolice said the couple came under assault near TSC intersection at Dhaka University around 9:30pm on Thursday.

Witnesses said they were on a rickshaw returning from the Amar Ekushey Book Fair when two attackers stopped it, dragged them onto the footpath and started hacking them.

They were rushed to the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) where doctors declared Avijit dead during an emergency surgery, its police outpost Inspector Mozzamel Haque told

DMCH casualty department’s Residential Surgeon Riaz Morshed also confirmed about Avijit Roy’s death.

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Computer reads between lines to find the six plot shapes in literature

THOMAS Hardy’s Return of the Native is happy-sad-happy-neutral-happy. James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist is first happy, then extremely sad, then a bit happy, then neutral. And Moby Dick has a similar plot, emotion-wise, to a 1990s pulp crime novel: The Australian

An English professor has identified the six basic plots of our literary canon. But unlike other English professors who have claimed similar feats, he has done so through quantitative analysis of more than 40,000 novels.

Matthew Jockers, from Stanford University, uses computer programming to gain insights into literature. His program, Syuzhet, looks for the emotional content of texts, and records how it changes over time. What he found was that there appeared to be only a few natural plot archetypes. Continue reading

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Another author in Tamil Nadu attacked for book

Last month, Tamil author Perumal Murugan’s self-proclaimed “death” following protests against his books spurred a debate about freedom of expression. Now another author has been attacked in Chennai by activists who allege that his book has portrayed their community in poor light.

Pulliyur Murugesan’s book, a collection of short stories, has upset members of the Kongu Vellalar community, who have demanded a ban on it. Continue reading

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s turn to fantasy

Dragons, ogres, pixies? It’s not what is expected of Kazuo Ishiguro, but they feature in The Buried Giant, his first novel for 10 years. Behind the turn to fantasy, however, lies his familar fascination with the past and individual moral choices. He talks to Alex Clark about film, memory – and his taste for tea and cake: The Guardian

BuriedGiantNovelists might appear to be in charge of their invented worlds, but they often have to wait a surprisingly long time to do what they want; fiction isn’t quite as malleable as it may seem. Kazuo Ishiguro – for all that tight authorial control he is associated with – is no different. For a long time, he tells me, as we sit in his Cotswolds cottage on a bright, wintry afternoon, he’s wanted one of his novels to feature a man and his horse. Now, with the publication of his seventh, The Buried Giant, he has finally had his way. “That lone rider figure has always done it for me,” he laughs. Continue reading

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Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean: a collaboration between Indian and Australian writers

Eat the skyViolence against women has spurred a collaboration between female writers in Australia and India.

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean (Allen and Unwin) is a collection of speculative fiction stories and graphic stories.

It’s aim is to imagine another world and future for young women and has an explicitly feminist intent. Continue reading

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Hachette India is looking for interns

IMG_9399According to a statement by publishing house Hachette India, they are looking for interns for their Publicity Department.

The ideal candidate should have a good command over English, a flair for reading, a penchant for design and should be well versed with social media. “We are especially on the lookout for candidates who would like to get some experience of the publishing industry,” the statement noted.

For more details, please write to

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Murty Library aims to publish new editions of great Indian literature from 20 languages

Five handsome volumes begin an ambitious project to share with modern readers the rich, diverse treasures of Indian literature going back two millennia: The Independent, UK

MurthyclassicsListen to this woman speak: “The hairs on my head were once curly,/ black like the colour of bees./ Now because of old age/ they are like jute.” Feature by feature, she itemises a once-gorgeous but now-dilapidated body, “like an old house, the plaster falling down”. She even drags wry humour from this litany of decline: “Once, my breasts were beautiful,/ full, round, close together, high./ Now, they sag down/ like empty water bags made of leather.” But no complaints, and no regrets, since “it’s just as the Buddha, the speaker of truth, said”.

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Review: Urdu Poetry’s Seamless Journey

By Anees Ayesha
(Translated and Introduced by Zafar Anjum)
Kitaab International Ptv. Ltd., 10 Anson Road # 26-04
International Plaza, Singapore – 079903
Year 2013, 247pp, Singaporean Dollar25
Paperback (ISBN 978-981-07-8055-5)

Review by Asif Anwar Alig

While Urdu became victim of prejudices in its birthplace – India, it brimmed in the far off regions. An original Urdu work of Anees Ayesha, Urdu Poetry: An Introduction is an English translation by Singapore based author Zafar Anjum. Presenting the knowhow of Urdu poetry to Singaporean readers, it is a valuable addition to literature on Urdu poetry for those willing to learn Urdu poetry’s distinct features or stages of development.

Prejudices have relentlessly shrunk Urdu in its country of birth. But it has advanced worldwide in many forms, especially by translations to give strong message. Anjum’s translation is an archetypal effort for English readers to learn the richness of Urdu poetry. This book briefs Urdu’s role from its inception to shaping Indian societies and cultures since the 17th century to the colonial British period and its challenges while encouraging nationalistic revolutions and spreading the message of Islam.

This book introduces multiple forms of Urdu poetry through highlighting its pivotal role to nourish cultures – socio-religious and revolutionary movements to Sufism. Contributions of prominent poets in the subcontinent are credible introductions which turn this book into a summarised encyclopaedia. Continue reading

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Kannada version of six books on Adil Shahi literature to be released this week

The long wait is finally over and the day has come for the release of the books of Adil Shahi literature in Kannada, the ambitious project which was started in March 2013.

“We will be releasing the first volume of six books on February 27 at BLDEA ground. This is certainly a proud moment for us,” said Krishna Kolhar Kulkarni, the director of Adil Shahi Literature Translation Committee set up by the Department of Kannada and Culture. Continue reading


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