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Jaipur Literature Festival Announces First List of Authors

An initial list of 165 authors, including global writers set to participate in the mammoth Jaipur Literature Festival scheduled in January 2016 has been announced today.

The ninth edition of the five-day literary extravaganza set to begin on January 21 at its usual historic setting of the Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur Headline names set to attend this year are Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, Indian author Ruskin Bond, American photographic Steve McCurry, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson and Stephen Fry from Britain. Continue reading

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Nobel literature crown again eludes Japan’s hope, Haruki Murakami

MurakamiIt’s a plot that could almost have come from Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, the wildly popular author known for writing about disillusionment, who has been a top pick for the Nobel Literature prize for nearly a decade – in vain.

To the bitter disappointment of fans gathered around Tokyo, the jinx persisted yet again on Thursday, despite Murakami being ranked number two on British betting site Ladbroke’s.

The prize went to Belarusian Svetlana Alexievich.

“This is really too bad, I thought he’d get it this year,” said one man in his 30s, gathered with a group of about 40 at a shrine in a Tokyo neighborhood frequented by Murakami in his youth.

“When I heard the news, tears just came welling up.”

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India: After Nayantara Sahgal, Poet Ashok Vajpeyi Returns Award, Takes on PM

After writer Nayantara Sahgal returned her Sahitya Akademi award protesting against what she called a “vicious assault” on India’s diversity and debate, poet Ashok Vajpeyi has also given up the prestigious literary honour.

“It is high time that writers take a stand,” Mr Vajpeyi, a former chairperson of the Lalit Kala Akademi, said. Continue reading

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The Stagnation Of eBooks Due To Closed Platforms And DRM: TechDirt

Craig Mod has a fascinating article for Aeon, talking about the unfortunate stagnation in digital books. He spent years reading books almost exclusively in ebook form, but has gradually moved back to physical books, and the article is a long and detailed exploration into the limits of ebooks today — nearly all of which are not due to actual limitations of the medium, but deliberate choices by the platform providers (mainly Amazon, obviously) to create closed, limited, DRM-laden platforms for ebooks.  Continue reading

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Iran threatens Frankfurt book fair boycott over Rushdie speech

Minister says The Satanic Verses author’s scheduled address next week ‘crosses one of our red lines’: The Guardian

Salman RushdieIran is threatening to boycott the forthcoming Frankfurt book fair because organisers have invited Salman Rushdie to deliver the keynote address at the opening press conference.

In February 1989, Rushdie was the target of a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic and the country’s former supreme leader, over the publication of The Satanic Verses, which was described as blasphemous against Islam. His fatwa provoked an international outcry and caused the UK to sever diplomatic relations with Iran for years.

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India: Nayantara Sahgal to return Sahitya Akademi Award

Her protest is “in memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty”: The Hindu

To register her protest against what she described as “vicious assault” on India’s diversity, noted writer Nayantara Sahgal has returned the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.

In a statement issued in New Delhi Ms. Sahgal, said her protest is “in memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty”.  Continue reading

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Four poems by Lachlan Brown

Four Poems by Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown is the author of Limited Cities (Giramondo, 2012) which was highly commended for the Dame Mary Gilmore Award. He has been the recipient of a Marten Bequest for poetry and an Emerging Writers’ Grant from the Australia Council for the Arts. Lachlan’s poems have appeared in journals including MascaraSnorkelHeat, and Rabbit. He teaches at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga and is currently working on a poetry manuscript which explores some of his Chinese-Australian heritage.

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The afterlife of a caress: A poem by Saeed ur Rehman

I killed her hand by touching it.
She hastily buried it
in her clothes
I offered some prayers 
for its deliverance 
from the world of the sinful, 
hoping for its resurrection.
Her hand stayed stubbornly godless.
There was no afterlife.
Saeed Ur Rehman has a PhD in postcolonial theory and teaches South Asian literature and creative writing at the Lahore School of Economics. His work has appeared in New Literatures Review, Kunapipi, Cultural Dynamics, and Mississippi Review.

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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Grace Chia Krakovic

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Grace Chia Krokovic PixLet’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

My soul will itch if I don’t. My mind will self-destruct if I don’t stitch up its chaos with the linearity of language and an ordered narrative. Writing is good psychological housekeeping. Or akin to sleep writing.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

I’m usually working on a few things across genres to keep my writing limber, which makes each project that much longer to complete, but also means each project has a taste of the other. I am writing short stories for a collection, poetry for a collection, editing an anthology and an online journal and other side projects. Writers are very much attuned to their environment, which involves society, which hinges on culture and politics, which is lived reality – or nightmare. My writing reflects my chance encounters with any topic that piques me at the very moment when my fingers bleed ink (or digital ink, which is black, and now I’m thinking of squid ink so perhaps I’ll write about linguine or octopus erotica). Continue reading

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Kitaab kicks off its Asian Literature in Translation Project with Isa Kamari’s seminal novel, “Intercession”

IntercessionOne of the aims of Kitaab is to celebrate Asian writing through translations, and make great literature available in various Asian languages.

Kitaab made its foray into publishing with a book of Urdu poetry, translated into English. Urdu Poetry—An Introduction was published in 2013 and was released at the Singapore Writers Festival in the same year.

“We are kicking off Kitaab’s Asian Literature in Translation Project with Isa Kamari’s seminal novel, Intercession,” said Zafar Anjum, founder-editor of Singapore-based publishing company, Kitaab. The novel was published in Malay as “Tawassul”.

Kitaab will get the novel translated into Urdu and Hindi languages and will get it published.

Singaporean writer Isa Kamari is a Cultural Medallion winner (2007) and has written nine novels in Malay: Satu Bumi, Kiswah, Tawassul, Menara, Atas Nama Cinta, Memeluk Gerhana, Rawa, Duka Tuan Bertakhta and Selendang Sukma. Seven were translated into English: One Earth (Satu Bumi), Intercession (Tawassul), Nadra (Atas Nama Cinta), Rawa (Rawa), A Song of the Wind (Memeluk Gerhana), 1819 (Duka Tuan Bertakhta) and The Tower (Menara). He has also published two collections of poems, Sumur Usia and Munajat Sukma, a collection of short stories, Sketsa Minda and a collection of theatre scripts, Pintu. Isa has also been honoured with  the S.E.A. Write Award (2006) and the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang (2009).

“The publication of Tawassul (Intercession) in Urdu and Hindi is indeed a breakthrough after 13 years of its first publication,” said Kamari. “I would like to thank Kitaab for this wonderful opportunity to present it to an audience that it deserves and beyond. It is timely and crucial. You have to read it to understand why.” Continue reading


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