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Ipaf winner Mohammed Hasan Alwan’s A Small Death set to be a life-changer

By Saeed Saeed

Mohammed Hasan Alwan looks slightly worried as he holds a buzzing mobile phone.

“I think it is going to explode,” he says. Such is the concern when you have just been announced as the winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

The Saudi Arabian author triumphed at the landmark 10th edition of the awards, held in the capital on Tuesday evening.

The success – for his dazzling and meditative novel A Small Death – firmly positions the 38-year-old as one of the leading lights of Arabic literature.

It comes after years of being on the cusp of greatness. This was his second time on the Ipaf shortlist; his novel The Beaver made it to the last six in 2015, and was named the best Arabic novel translated into French that year.

Alwan was also selected as one of the 39 best Arabic writers by the Hay Festival and Beirut World Book Capital, with his work published in the long-running Beirut39 anthology series. Read more

Source: The National


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The European Union and LASALLE College of the Arts launch inaugural European Union Writers Festival

As the European Union marks 60 years, the European Union Delegation to Singapore deepens its cultural connections with Singapore. On May 25-26, together with LASALLE College of the Arts, the EU launches its inaugural European Union Writers Festival (EUWF).

With EUWF, the EU Delegation to Singapore and LASALLE College of the Arts join their efforts to create a platform showcasing European authors based in Singapore. Through an opening event and a full-day of panel discussions on May 26, this festival will use literature and words to add to the rich Singapore-Europe dialogue and deepen long-established European connections in the city-state.

Says Dr Michael Pulch, European Union Ambassador to Singapore: “We celebrate literature with our inaugural European Union Writers Festival.”

Discussions to launch this festival started nine months ago and Dr Pulch adds the “aim is to create a platform for European writers and publishers based in Singapore to discuss their work and the many ideas that inspire writing in many forms.”

“We are delighted to partner with LASALLE College of the Arts. As we mark 60 years of the European Union and 40 years of EU-ASEAN ties, this collaboration strengthens our long- established connections with the city-state. It adds to the rich artistic and cultural dialogue between Europe and Singapore,” says Dr Pulch.

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Explore the workings of the brain at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival

By Malavika Vettath

Ever wondered how thoughts form inside our head? Or how and why we feel a range of ­emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger or jealousy?

Find out at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, where visitors will be taken on a journey inside the human mind.

Brain: The Inside Story is one of the highlights of this year’s festival, which runs from Wednesday until April 29 at the Sharjah Expo Centre. Presented in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, it promises to reveal the secrets of the human brain using state-of-the-art interactive installations.

The journey begins with a look at a three-pound ­preserved brain. Visitors then head through a “tunnel of firing neurons”, an installation created by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar. He uses lines of light projected onto hanging wires to highlight the brain’s electrical impulses and connectivity.

There are also brain-scan ­images and brain-teaser games designed to entertain and enlighten children and adults alike.

 Why put such a focus on the brain during a festival about books and reading?

“We wanted to show how the brain creates the critical faculties we use to process and make sense of the written word,” says Ahmed Al Ameri, chairman of the ­Sharjah Book Authority, which organises the annual festival.

“It also covers the emotional aspect of the brain, which is responsible for allowing us to enjoy different forms of literature.” Read more

Source: The National


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Rushdie stresses importance of literature

By Brittany Ruess

Salman RushdieIn times when the politically powerful attempt to smother speech, renowned author Salman Rushdie said writers often ask themselves how to keep pushing forward.

The answer is to keep writing, he said.

“If we are not making the beauty, we have nothing to defend,” Rushdie said.

The keynote speaker of the second annual Unbound Book Festival, Rushdie spoke to a crowd packed inside Jesse Auditorium on the University of Missouri campus Friday about the “ancient conflict” between writers and politicians. While both tell stories, Rushdie said, writers are upfront about their fiction and politicians often don’t tell the truth while pretending that they are. Read more

Source: Columbia Tribune


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Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2017: Highlights include China as ‘Guest of Honour’, The Audiobook Experiences, and more

By Rym Ghazal

This year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair will be a special hub of philosophical exchanges as it hosts China, the home of Confucius, and honours one of this region’s most known scholars and philosophers, The Great Sheikh Muḥyiddin Ibn Arabi.

China’s literary participation in the 27th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF) will be the country’s largest in foreign book fairs to date, and its pavilion is expected to reflect its cultural depth and weight, with special participation of Chinese publishers, elite authors, artists and others from all fields of creativity.

“We hope the public will gain a better understanding of our culture and its many features,” said Xiao Guanglu, the representative for China as ‘Guest of Honour’.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Mr Xiao listed some of the activities to be held inside the Chinese pavilion from April 26 to May 2. Read more

Source: The National

 


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AFCC to showcase Singaporean children’s authors and illustrators at a pre- festival event Makan & Mingle

For the first time ever, the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), an annual children’s literary event organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore (NBDCS), is putting together a showcase of Singaporean children’s authors and illustrators at a pre- festival evening event, the AFCC Makan & Mingle.

This one-of-a-kind event is a lead-up to the eighth edition of the AFCC 2017, set to take place from 17 to 21 May 2017 at the National Library Building, Singapore.

Makan & Mingle will be held on 18 April 2017, at L5, The Treetop, *SCAPE, from 7–9pm, and will showcase more than 100 children’s and young adult titles created by Singaporean authors and illustrators, published in the last two years.

Titles will range from popular books penned by award-winning authors like Emily Lim, Hidayah Amin, Don Bosco and Neil Humphreys, to works by comic artists like David Liew and Evangeline Neo.

Translated titles, as well as several titles written in other Mother Tongue languages, will also be featured. Participating publishers include Epigram Books, Ethos Books, Math Paper Press, Armour Publishing, Bubbly Books, Crimson Earth, Pepperdog Press, World Scientific, Balestier Press, and others.

“We hope that Makan & Mingle will become a regular showcase for the talent and works of Singaporean authors and illustrators,”says Mr Kenneth Quek, Festival Director of AFCC 2017. “We are excited to be able to display these home grown works in one space, and to highlight them to the industry as well as the general public in Singapore, as a precursor to UNESCO World Book and Copyright Day which falls on April 23.”

Guests include local writers and illustrators, publishers, pre-school and primary school teachers, parents and general readers. At the free-to-enter event, guests can browse through the book exhibits, interact with the authors and illustrators, and also purchase titles from the pop-up bookstore set-up by Closetfulofbooks.

Publishing professionals and representatives from partner organisations in the industry, such as the National Library Board, POPULAR, and The Select Centre, will also be present. Members from other key organisations like ECDA have also been invited.

The AFCC Makan & Mingle, which doubles up as an important networking opportunity for industry players, will conclude a cocktail reception and the announcement of the shortlists for the 2017 Scholastic Picture Book Award and the 2017 AFCC Asian Children’s Book Award by Genting Singapore, both of which are managed by NBDCS.

For more information, please see visit www.afcc.com.sg

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Raza Foundation, Delhi, launches India’s first poetry biennale

T. S. Eliot in his rather little-known essay, Dante (1929), wrote ‘It is a test that genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood’. While Eliot’s own poems may not have always passed the test, he did — before everyone else — see the future of poetry as being something of a merging of cultures and even language. The Raza Foundation, in an attempt, to facilitate the seamless interlocking of these poetic landscapes within India, is organising VAK (meaning speech in Sanskrit), the first ever Biennale of Indian Poetry. And true to its ambition, it intends to bring together on a single platform, through 15 languages, a number of poets, who will read, share, discuss and debate.

Poetry readings and literary festivals have been around for ages. But they have almost always been driven by themes restricted by language (English and Hindi mostly) rather than driven by its role in creating literature of value. India’s first-ever poetry biennale may finally address the issue. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2017

Gender divides, social issues and the human condition are just some of the key topics to expect at the Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival 2017.

Now in its 11th year, the festival welcomes a diverse array of writers and thinkers to Asia House’s London headquarters for a series of literary events between 9th and 26th May 2017.

In addition to the Festival events in May, Asia House will also run several key pre-and post-festival talks in April and June. Read more

Source: DesiBlitz.com


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South Indian literary festival from April 9

To commemorate contribution of Kesari to Malayalam language

Writer Sethu will lead the maiden Kesari Memorial South Indian Literary Festival that will get under way at Madavanaparambu, the resting place of the maverick thinker and writer Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, on April 9.

The three-day festival will see participation by about 50 writers, poets, journalists and critics from the five south Indian languages.

Held primarily to commemorate the stupendous contribution of Kesari to Malayalam language and culture as also to celebrate the rich cultural and trade heritage of the Paravur region wherein the erstwhile port of Muziris falls, the festival will uniquely discuss the writings of Kesari, the contemporariness of literature, new fiction and reading, issues of art depiction and freedom, tradition and secularism and the present state of literature in the south besides the heritage of Paravur. Read more

Source: The Hindu


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Clemson Literary Festival to celebrate 10 years with another Pulitzer-winner

By Ken Scar

For the sixth consecutive year, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author will visit Clemson to participate in the Clemson Literary Festival.

This year, 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of “The Sympathizer” and “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War,” will headline the 10th annual Literary Festival March 29-April 1.

Nguyen has also won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association, the First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction, a Gold Medal in First Fiction from the California Book Awards and the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award from the Asian/Pacific American Librarian Association. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California.

Nationally recognized authors of fiction and poetry Camille Rankine, Brando Skyhorse, Paul Guest, Wendy Xu and Shobha Rao also will read their works and serve on panels and in roundtable discussions during the festival. Read more

Source: Newsstand.clemson.edu