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New Release: Mrs C Remembers by Himanjali Sankar

mrs cThis June Pan Macmillan India will release Himanjali Sankar’s Mrs C Remembers, a piercing exploration of the limits of submission, of illness and upheaval and the unfathomable powers of the human mind.

Mrs Anita Chatterjee, wife to one of Kolkata’s most successful men, has lived a bustling life managing her husband’s large household and mingling regularly with the rich and powerful. Now, after forty years of a life of unquestioned compliance, the only thing she can do is try to forget.

Her daughter, Sohini, is an artist living in Delhi with an unconventional partner. As Mrs C begins to engage with their ideas, she finds she can no longer ignore the tumultuous world outside. Soon she is diagnosed with a formidable medical condition, one that will allow her to let down her guard and come into her own.

About the Author:

Himanjali Sankar grew up in Kolkata. She studied English Literature at JNU, New Delhi and taught English at the University of Indianapolis in the US. She has worked with various publishing houses and is currently an editor with Bloomsbury India. Two of her books, The Stupendous Time telling Superdog and Talking of Muskaan, were shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Children’s Literature. Mrs C Remembers is her first novel for adults.


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Readers on rise, mostly in digital

By Mei Jia

Chinese adults read an average of just under eight books in 2016 – a tiny increase of 0.02 percent over 2015 – while a rapid increase of 6.1 percent was seen in the number of people reading digital content.

“We’ve seen fast growth in digital reading for eight consecutive years,” said Wei Yushan, head of the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, who announced the academy’s major findings from the 14th survey of Chinese reading habits on Tuesday, ahead of World Book Day, which falls on Sunday.

Of the nearly eight books read by an average adult in 2016, about five were in print form and three were digital. Wei said similar surveys of readers from European countries and the United States show that they read 10 titles a year, while Japanese read 12. Read more

Source: The China Daily


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The Karachi Literature Festival heads to London to celebrate Pakistan’s 70th birthday

The famous literature festival will take place at Southbank Centre on 20th May in celebration of Pakistan’s 70th birthday, states KLF’s website.

Mohammed Hanif will kickstart the event with unique insights into Pakistan’s history, hopes, and dilemmas. The extensive list of speakers includes designer Maheen Khan, writers Kamila Shamsie and H M Naqvi, PPP member Sherry Rehman, actor Nimra Bucha, among others.

Khumariyaan, Saif Samejo, lead vocalist and founder of the band The Sketches and Lahooti Melo will be performing at the festival.

This is the first time the KLF will be taking place outside of Pakistan. Read more

Source: DAWN


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Book Review: An Ode to Shimla by Sanjeev Bansal

By Nilesh Mondal

ode to shimlaWhen Ernest Hemingway was famously quoted as saying “there is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”, you can well assume he was either being sarcastic, or making an understatement of epic proportions. Writing poetry, especially, is a task both arduous and more often than not, unrewarding. It boils down to the understanding of one’s own perspectives, expertise in the observation of occurrences both mundane and trivial, and with the deftness of an artist, the ability to weave them into happenings at once exaggerated but magical.

Sanjeev Bansal, in his debut collection of poetry attempts to do the same with places and people he has long formed a sturdy emotional attachment with. However, despite his efforts, his poetry doesn’t dazzle but leaves a strong sense of unfulfilled expectations at the end of his book.

The title of the book, An Ode to Shimla, is aptly chosen since almost all of the poems in this collection speak of Shimla, which is also the place the poet spends his weekends at and has a strong connection to. His poems sound almost like little love letters written to the place, heavy with metaphors that speak of Shimla’s beauty, appeal and the surprises it hides in itself and offers only to those who seek them. Although his sentiments for Shimla are commendable, what makes it really hard for readers to relate and connect to his intended emotions, is how he chooses to write his poems. Sanjeev’s poems lack the translucency that is the essential mark of passionate writing. They are cryptic and hard to decipher, and reading through the poems is like peeking into his secret diary — an act that feels more uncomfortable than exciting. The poem “Poet of Crowned Oak Tree”, for example:

“In the scented perfume, magnifying when night desires of melancholic hunger,
But my mind’s beautiful Chimera fades,
And time’s epoch returns me to boisterous towns again,
Where the color of Serene comes in spots among moldings of an Entablature”

There were two recurring problems with the narrative that however remain unresolved. First is Sanjeev’s use of archaic words (mostly pronouns) like thine, thee, ye, etc., in the midst of poems clearly contemporary in nature. While it adds no added value to the narrative itself, the use of these words are distracting as well for the readers. Secondly, he chooses to use words that are long and complicated (mostly adjectives) and don’t advance the narrative or add beauty to the imageries itself, but instead sound cluttered and out of place while reading through the poems. An example of this is the poem “Change my Origin Oh Mother”:

“Change my circle O daystar, towards Mother Karma,
Downpour the showers from the archaic thick forest,
Rebound me to the redolence in the form of perished blade
Into the divine cloistered field of peace and silent rock,
Where perspiration from the bank of margin rivers,
Scented the wave of deciduous leaves, lives in heart again,
That beats among the throng of prodigious Scots pine”

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China: Online writers find path to become millionaires

By Li Hongrui

Online writer Tangjiasanshao, or Zhang Wei, took the crown again on the latest income ranking list of Chinese online writers.

Receiving 122 million yuan ($18 million) in royalties, the writer comes in at first place for the fourth time.

Born in 1981, Zhang once worked for a small IT company after graduating from Hebei University. He got fired by the slumping company in 2003.

In 2004, Zhang started writing his first online novel, Guang Zhi Zi, or Son of Light. In 2012, the young writer was crowned on the royalties ranking list for the first time.

Many web writers, such as Tiancantudou (Li Hu) and Wochixihongshi also rose to fame because of their work and enviable royalties.

A series of popular TV series, animations and games have been adapted from their writings, including Nirvana in Fire and The Journey of FlowerRead more

Source: China Daily


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India: Pune to host first Marathi e-authors Sammelan

By Partha Sarathi Biswas

Over the last few years, a large number of bloggers, social media influencers and other authors have emerged who use the Marathi language. Aiming to bridge the gap between the virtual and real world, e-book platform bookhungama.com has organised the first ever literary meet — called Nukkad Sammelan — exclusively for such writers, and it will be held in Pune. Vikram Bhagawat, co-founder of bookhungama.com, said a need was felt for this interaction so as to enable them to chalk out the future course of the genre. “These authors have a cult following and act as agents of change on the various platform they are active on. While these authors do interact among themselves virtually, a real meeting was felt necessary,” he said.

The emergence of social media, Bhagawat said, had given rise to newer forms of writing, which has made its effect felt. Facebook in particular has helped democratise literature while the e-book format has helped many budding authors to publish their own work. “The journey of bookhungama.com had in fact started from a Facebook page. We had started a page about the letters which we never got about writing and asked people to contribute to it. Now, that page has more than 76,000 ‘likes’,” he said. Similarly the Nukkad blog, another initiative of the team, is a platform for people to write short and very short stories. Read more

Source: The Indian Express


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Author Meghna Pant wins Bharat Nirman Award

01-meghna-pant

Meghna Pant, the award-winning author of ‘One & A Half Wife’, was felicitated with the prestigious ‘Bharat Nirman Award’ for her contribution to the field of literature. The award was given to her by the Bharat Nirman Foundation during the 3rd edition of the Asiad Literature Festival 2017, which aims to reward and empower women and promote the beauty of Indian literature.

The Asiad Literature Festival seeks to felicitate individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in their field of expertise. The noted author was bestowed with the award for her work and contribution as a pioneer amongst women writers. Read more

Source: The Indian Panorama


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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Ghayath Almadhoun

By Aminah Sheikh

ghayath 1 (1)

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

To survive.

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

I just finished my new Arabic poetry collection Adrenaline. As I say, I try to survive, like Shahrazad in One Thousand and One Nights, who keeps telling the king stories to not get killed.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

I don’t know really, but I can feel it have a strong effect on people.

Who are your favorite authors?

From the thinkers: Edward Said.

From the short story writer: the Iraqi Hassan Blasim.

In poetry: Amjad Nasser, Ghassan Zaqtan, Saadi Yousef and Salah Faik.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

My poem “Schizophrenia”, which I wrote after Assad’s chemical attack on Syrian civilians. I got the chance to stay for two weeks in the city of Ypres, invited by “deBuren” and “citybooks”. The visit coincided with the centenary of the first chemical attack in history, which occurred in Flanders Fields during the First World War. I remember that I visited most of the 170 cemeteries that surround the city of Ypres and hold the bodies of 600,000 soldiers that were killed there. I was listening to The Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate which is held every evening at Menin Gate for the past 89 years, and after that I wrote Schizophrenia, moving between Ypres (the past), Damascus (the present), Stockholm (the peace that I enjoy) and Palestine (the dream).

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Islamic romance novels set hearts aflutter in Bangladesh

Abubakar was inspired to take up the pen in the late 1970s, when as a bookseller he lamented that most novels obsessed with the cosmopolitan lifestyles of modern, elite Bangladeshis

Kasem bin Abubakar was told nobody would buy his chaste romance novels about devout young Muslims finding love within the strict moral confines of Bangladeshi society.

And yet his tales of lovers whispering sweet nothings between calls to prayer sold millions in the 1980s and proved a huge hit among young girls from Bangladesh’s rural, conservative heartland.

Now his work is undergoing something of a renaissance as Bangladesh slides from the moderate Islam worshipped for generations to a more conservative interpretation of the scriptures.

“Girls write me love letters with ink dipped in their own blood. Some were desperate to marry me” Abubakar told AFP, recounting his surprise at young women making a traditional gesture of intense devotion to a greying author. Read more

Source: Dhaka Tribune


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Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2017: Catching up with award-winning Egyptian writer Mohammad Rabie

By Ben East

It was one of the most memorable book reviews of last year. As our critic pondered the English translation of Mohammad Rabie’s award-winning tale of a futuristic Egyptian dystopia, she concluded by saying that “reading Otared is, by and large, like having a hand grasping the back of your head, forcing you to look through photos from hell”.

Seven months later, Rabie is not only familiar with the quote, he also seems to quite like it.

“That was the intention of the book,” he says. “Part of what I wanted to do is draw a painting of a modern hell to the reader.”

He certainly does that. Otared begins with a horrific murder in contemporary Egypt. It then moves forward to an incredibly bleak 2025, with Cairo split into areas occupied by the Knights of Malta and a resistance led by the Egyptian police. But the police are corrupt and their hero is the titular Otared, a sniper shockingly ambivalent about his targets.

The book deservedly earned Rabie a spot on the International Prize for Arabic Fiction shortlist last year, which means the 38-year-old Egyptian will be one of the major draws at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which starts on April 26 and continues until May 2 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Read more
Source: The National