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AALITRA Translation Prize 2018

The Australian Association for Literary Translation (AALITRA) now invites entries for the AALITRA Translation Prize.

The AALITRA Translation Prize aims to acknowledge the wealth of literary translation skills present in the Australian community. Prizes are awarded for a translation of a selected prose text and for a translation of a selected poem, with the focus on a different language each time the prize is offered.

In 2018, the focus language is Indonesian. The prose text for translation is by Sapardi Djoko Damono. The poetry text is by Amir Hamzah. Each text is available from our website.

At an Awards Ceremony later in the year, winners will be awarded a cash prize, a book prize, and one year’s membership of AALITRA. Prize-winning entries will be read aloud at the Awards Ceremony, and will be published in AALITRA’s peer-reviewed open-access journal, The AALITRA Review, along with a few words from each of the translators.

Closing date: Friday 11 May 2018

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Chinese bookstores abroad show pow

By Yang Yang

A TV documentary sheds light on how far Chinese bookstores abroad have come, Yang Yang reports.

Running a bookstore abroad isn’t only about making profit, especially when the books you sell appear foreign to local readers.

In the past few decades, many Chinese bookstores have faced such a situation in the United States, Britain, France, Australia and Japan.

Besides ringing up sales, the outlets have tried to bridge cultural gaps and cross political barriers so readers in different countries can enjoy Chinese books.

Recently, Tianjin TV started to air a 12-episode documentary series titled Overseas Bookstores.

It tells the stories of seven Chinese bookstores in six countries on five continents. It shows how the stores survived difficult times and have contributed to cultural communication between China and the related countries. Read more

Source: China Daily


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Chris Mooney-Singh: Of home and indentities

Interview with the Australian poet in the Ceylon Today

Chris MooneySingh“Having returned to Australia after two decades to complete a creative writing Ph.D, I now see that identity and adoption of other cultural influences have been concerns of mine from an early age. They led me away from Australia to seek a more integral understanding of myself in the light of Eastern philosophy, and other traditional life and culture.

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Australia: Tim Winton and Richard Flanagan on 2014 Miles Franklin Award longlist

There could hardly be a more carefully balanced longlist than the 11 Australian novels chosen for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

The judges included Aboriginal authors, women, veterans, newcomers and a generous interpretation of the award’s search for depictions of ”Australian life” in a strong but unexpected line-up that so far allays past concern about male dominance of the $60,000 award. Continue reading


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Writing requires a kind of retreat into oneself: Ken Spillman

Kitaab’s fiction editor Monideepa Sahu interviews the multi-faceted author from Australia

Ken SpillmanKen Spillman is a multi-faceted author from Australia, whose writing has won legions of fans across Oceania, Asia and the world. With over 35 books spanning many genres to his credit, he is also an editor and a critic. Dr Ken Spillman is an examiner for doctoral and masters degrees. An entertaining and uplifting speaker, he has captured the hearts of tens of thousands of children in Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines and Singapore.

Ken Spillman’s Jake series is a smash hit with younger readers. His adventure series, The Absolutely True Fantasies of Daydreamer Dev is attracting many fans in India, as is his novel Advaita. His widely appreciated Young Adult novels, Love is a UFO and Blue have captured the hearts and minds of teenagers.

His writing has been shortlisted for a WA Premier’s Book Award five times in four different categories – for two wins. His impressive list of literary honours includes:

Creative Development Fellowship, Department of Culture and the Arts, Western Australia, 2010

Top 5 listing, The Australian critics’ Books of the Year, 1997

Winner, Fellowship of Australian Writers’ National Literary Award.

Over to Ken Spillman, as he shares some exclusive insights with Kitaab.

Your books are widely read and appreciated by readers all over Asia and worldwide. What’s your magic formula for infusing your writing with such universal appeal?

I don’t really think there’s a magic formula. Good stories well written travel all the time – after all, we read to enter other worlds. For a writer coming from outside the US and UK, however, finding global markets is difficult. For me, fun is the key. Sometimes I ask audiences, “Who likes fun?” – and of course they all raise their hands enthusiastically. I have a sense of fun and, beyond that, I can only say that I’ve worked hard for a long period, been patient, had some luck, and benefited from the guidance and example of others.

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Australia: Australian literature and summer – books that sizzle

Stephanie Green on the summer reading pleasures in Australia: The Conversation

Summertime and reading always went together in my family. Whether we were sunbathing on hot silky beach sand or cooling off in the back yard under a shady plum tree, our books came too. In those pre-digital days, the best Christmas presents were books – the paper and cardboard kind, with a spine you could crack. Ideally, something that’d last the distance so we wouldn’t run out of good reading before the end of the holidays. Continue reading


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The turbaned minstrel

Chris MooneySinghIt was a rare sight. When a ruddy Caucasian Sikh with a full flowing beard, dressed in loose Punjabis and wearing a turban, comes on stage and full-throatedly recites divine poetry – one sits back feeling that things must still be somewhat well in the world. Enter Chris Mooney-Singh, another revelation of The Goa Art and Literary Fest 2013. Poet, novelist, dramatist, musician, teacher, events organizer, journalist and broadcaster; life as led by Mooney-Singh seems to be a wonderful example of how following one’s passion can lead to a very broad band of experience. Continue reading


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How children’s literature shapes attitudes to Asia

Australia’s relationship with Asia has always been a focus for heated debate and, often, misunderstanding. What role do books play in moulding this relationship?

A research project underway at the Queensland University of Technology seeks to answer that question by investigating the role of children’s literature in shaping young readers’ attitudes to Australia’s past, present and future relations with Asia. Continue reading


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Mind-bending stuff from the Melbourne Writers Festival

Jane Sullivan on this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival in The Age

One of the things I love about the Melbourne Writers Festival is its unpredictability. We come to hear authors talk, right? Yet last weekend, with one audience I sat in silent meditation for several minutes, and with another I passed around a Julia Gillard doll.

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