Asia+n writing in English

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Kitaab interview with Dr. Usha Bande

downloadDr. Usha Bande is an Indian writer and critic who lives in Shimla. She writes in Marathi, Hindi and English and translates short stories from Marathi into Hindi. She has several research papers and more than a dozen books to her credit including Writing Resistance: A Comparative Study of Women Novelists. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories, A Box of Stolen Moments (Lifi Publications, 2014).

Kitaab recently interviewed her through email.

When did you start writing short stories? 

Long back.  I was in school when I wrote my first story but it was never published. In fact, I did not know where to send, how to send and all that. I mean tricks of the trade. In 1960s we were not much aware and smart as youngsters today are. Anyway, I wrote a small piece in Hindi for a story writing competition when I was in college; it was published in Navbharat Times and I got a third prize. It motivated me but again there was a gap of several years. My first real story which got published in English was “Painter Sahib”, included in my collection A Box of Stolen Moments. And I like this story as it has a kind of soft touch to it. It is partly real.

Tell us about some of the interesting stories in this collection and what inspired you to write them?

A very relevant question, indeed though a little difficult to answer! Continue reading

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Hong Kong: Book fair addresses high-tech demand

The Hong Kong Book Fair hosts a range of literary and cultural events. This year the focus was on high-tech trends, as paper books give way to e-readers and cellphones. Annie Cheung and Zhang Jing report from Hong Kong.

With one simple scan, teacher Gladys Lau fed into her handset information about an exhibition featuring Hong Kong’s literature and writers at the Hong Kong Book Fair, which was held from July 16 to 22. Continue reading

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Chinese journal reaches English audience

ChinesejournalForeign readers may soon be able to read an influential Chinese academic journal on literature, history and philosophy in English online.

The journal has entered into a partnership with academic publisher Brill to “introduce China’s social sciences to people across the world”. Continue reading

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China: More Chinese reading online, but fewer willing to pay

Thanks to the development of digital mobile technology, Chinese are becoming more willing to read online via electronic reading devices, but their awareness of copyright protection still lags.
According to a survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, more than 50 percent of Chinese readers had tried reading online by the end of 2013, while the rate was only 24.5 percent in 2008. Continue reading

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China: Star power publishing

When singer-actor Jimmy Lin from Taiwan attended a promotional event for his autobiography Have Patience for Time, in June, thousands of people crammed into the bookstore to meet their idol and buy his book. When news broke late last year that the star, widely known as Lin Zhiying on the Chinese mainland, was writing a book about his life, including his 22 years in the entertainment industry, the country’s social media went wild with speculation. Fans snapped up 200,000 copies of the book within a week of its release. Continue reading

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China: Beijing International Book Fair to open

The 21st Beijing International Book Fair (BIBF) will run at the new China International Exhibition Center in Beijing’s Shunyi district from August 27-31, 2014.

The five-day book fair includes the following exhibition areas: domestic publishing, overseas publishing, digital publishing and the med pavilions. Continue reading

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China: Authors find wealth through Internet publishing

Writers used to have to approach publishers in the hope of having their work read by the public. Now they can simply post their offerings online and find an instant audience of millions. Liu Xiangrui reports.

After breaking up with her boyfriend in 2009, Bao Jingjing, then 22, started “making up” a love story simply to distract herself from her heartbreak. Her story progressed quickly, so she decided to post it online as a serial. Continue reading

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Bangladesh: Disposable Rags Of Humanity

It is more than one year since a major industrial devastation rocked Dhaka. Jeremy Seabrook examines in The Song of The Shirt why the horror can happen again, writes Pradyot Lal in Tehelka

the-songWhen the Rana Plaza catastrophe happened and killed more than 1,300 garment workers in Dhaka last year, all that it merited was a sense of outrage, which never went beyond telling us how bad and horrible the whole thing was. There was hardly any attempt to go beyond the mundane obvious, to tell us why it happened and why it could happen again. For those seeking such basic answers, this volume does singular service. The admirable Jeremy Seabrook has come up with this necessarily grim volume detailing the sheer tragedy of those who create such wonderful and fashionable garments for the elite, but who themselves live a life bereft of even the most basic of comforts. Continue reading

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Review: The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

the-lives-of-othersNorth Calcutta—a place of jostling alleyways and people and tall, crumbling hou­ses inhabited by squabbling families and divided by the whims of inheritance. Add to this the explosion of the Naxalbari revolution—with its fulcrum in the city on College Street, also in North Calcutta—which stead­ily infiltrated the homes of the middle class, depriving them of young, many bright, men. Neel Mukherjee stays away from the landed zamindari backgrounds and turns instead to business families, those directly affected by trade unionism and the steadily growing grip of Communism on West Bengal. For Bengalis, the family Mukherjee describes inThe Lives of Others and the minutiae of their lives, except for some gross aspects, is very identifiable. The girl tiptoeing up to braid her hair on the terrace in the early evening, secure in the knowledge that a young man on the opposite terrace will be eyeing her, was an inextricable part of growing up in the city. Continue reading

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Indonesia Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation

How do you make 260 million people on 6,000 islands feel like they are all the same nation? Elizabeth Pisani takes a look at post-independence Indonesia: The Guardian

Indonesia-etc“Exploring the Improbable Nation” is the subtitle of Elizabeth Pisani’s Indonesia Etc. At first, I thought this ill‑advised, as I think you can make a case for all nations being improbable in their own ways. But I soon saw that she had a point, and it would even have been fair to call it something like the Really Improbable Nation or the Ludicrously Improbable Nation. Continue reading


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