A competition has been launched for Chinese readers to translate stories by novelist David Mitchell.

The contest is part of a new collaborative project between Douban Read, which is part of Chinese-language social networking site Douban, and Nesta, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Council and The Literary Platform.

The translation project is designed to help further understanding of the Chinese market for British writing.

shehan_KHow does a reader ‘discover’ an author/book? Today digital technology is rapidly becoming a unifying factor in the coming together of print and electronic forms of publishing. It is also responsible for the “discoverability” of a book. Traditional forms of discovery – curation in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, word-of-mouth recommendations, libraries, second hand bookstores, gifts, book reviews in newspapers and magazines and book clubs continue to be significant. Literary prizes too are important.

Communist Vietnam is to ban bloggers and social media users from sharing news stories online, under a new decree seen as a further crackdown on online freedom.

Blogs or social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter — which have become hugely popular over the last few years in the heavily-censored country — should only be used “to provide and exchange personal information”, according to the decree.

Zealot
Zealot

Author Reza Aslan believes that Jesus probably lacked the education to read a book like the Bible. Or the Torah, or any other written text for that matter, no matter the language.

Aslan’s new book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” is a revisionist take on the life of Jesus, arguing that his message of love was aimed more at a Jewish audience than a global one, that his attitude toward violence was “far more complex” than is generally thought, and that he was “very likely” illiterate.

Farah-GhuznaviIn 2010, I was amazed and delighted when my flash fiction piece ‘Judgement Day’ won Highly Commended in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. At the time, entries to the competition consisted of no more than 600 words; and while those words could in theory be written on any topic, the organisers did provide a theme each year to assist the undecided writer.

In 2010, the theme was ‘Science, Technology and Society’. When I heard about it, my heart sank. I knew very little about writing flash fiction, and even less about science and technology! By default, my focus would have to be on the ‘society’ part of that equation. Anyway, I’m not quite sure where the original idea came from, but I ended up writing a piece exploring how the institution of marriage might change in the future as a result of advances in science and technology, and what might remain disturbingly familiar to us today – a kind of futuristic fable.