“Nature writing was once considered to be the rock and roll of literature. In the last few decades it has shown a steady decline. There is a pressing need to restore this literary art. The best way to do it is through stories.”
— Sumant Batra, Founder, Fellows Of Nature
Like all extinctions, nature writing’s gradual disappearance represents a profound loss. Writing in this category is born out of love, respect, and awe of nature. It finds its subject during days of close observation of the beauty of the natural world. Writing about the close relationship between humankind and nature plays an important role in creating interest and building respect for it amongst book lovers and others.
The FON SOUTH ASIA SHORT STORY AWARD an initiative of Kumaon Literary Festival (under the umbrella body of NHP centre) was launched on February 15, 2016 amidst enthusiastic readers and writers at the Oxford Bookstore (Delhi) with the objective of promoting nature writing and building a community of nature writers.
Submission of short stories based on the theme of nature is invited from South Asia region in accordance with the contest guidelines set by the FON steering committee which comprises of the lead project partners: The French Institute in India; Wild Life Trust of India; Wisdom Tree publishers, Kumon Literary Festival and the Taj Colloquium. The committee is chaired by the founder of FON, Mr. Sumant Batra and also includes Indian author and poet Sujata Parashar who is spearheading the project.
The 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist has been announced – including seven Asian writers.
The prize – which aims to “brings stories from new and emerging voices, often from countries with little or no publishing infrastructure, to the attention of an international audience” – received nearly 4,000 entries from 47 countries this year.
26 stories by writers from 11 countries make up the shortlist.
The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction in English, translations also eligible. Five winners from the five different Commonwealth regions are selected, winning £2,500 (about R53,000) each, with the overall winner receiving £5,000 (about R106,000).
The 2016 Commonwealth Short Story Prize shortlist (Asian writers in bold):
It’s unprecedented. Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has walked away with the gold in four out of the five formal regional categories at this year’s USA Regional Excellence Book Awards.
The winning titles include: Phat Planet Cometh (Glass Lyre Press), The Wrong/Wrung Side of Love (Glass Lyre Press), Singular Acts of Endearment (Grey Sparrow Press), Babel Via Negativa (Ethos Books), I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist (Math Paper Press), Sanctus Sanctus Dirgha Sanctus (Red Wheelbarrow Books), and Eye/Feel/Write: Experiments in Ekphrasis (Squircle Line Press). In fact, had the anthology Ars Moriendi won under the category of Anthology (Southeast Region) instead of its placing as a finalist – Clay Stafford’s Killer Nashville Noir: Cold-Blooded bagged first place – Desmond would have placed wins in all five territories.
In total, this veritable coup for the author looks at a sweep of seven wins under Adult Fiction, Anthology, Poetry, and Spirituality in four territories (Northeast, West, Midwest, Southwest) at the Awards.
A Southeast Asian-language literary award helps promote diversity and cultural understanding.
On Aug. 30 last year, the halls of the National Taiwan Museum in Taipei were flooded by a sea of color and the sound of many languages speaking at once. The mood was light and the crowd diverse, with a variety of clothing on display, from the elegant, ankle-length ao dai of Vietnam to the Muslim hijab, which can take many forms but is often a headscarf or veil. The visitors to the museum had gathered to attend the second annual Taiwan Literature Award for Migrants. “Anyone who could utter a word of welcome in a Southeast Asian language—whether the Thai sawadee ka or the Indonesian apa kabar—was welcome to take part,” says Chang Cheng (張正), organizer of the award and co-founder of Brilliant Time, a bookstore in New Taipei City that focuses on Southeast Asian-language publications.