by Aparna Amte Bhatnagar
The moment that Shalini had waited for years had arrived. It was no longer a wait as the event was unfolding before her eyes…Accomplishment had never tasted more satisfying.
She took a deep breath as she sipped cold beer from a can and indulged in a bout of nostalgia…
Jolly Club had been the place where the richest families of Bhopal had gathered for their Sunday lunches. The club, situated in the heart of the city, housed the only restaurant that overlooked a shiny, turquoise swimming pool. During winters, the families preferred to be seated outdoor near the pool. These seats would be abandoned in summers as the affluent moved indoors to lounge in air-conditioned comfort. It was a busy place – the restaurant.
The lavish menu of kebabs was deemed to be among the best in town and the most popular feature. The resplendent exhibition of the most expensive sarees worn by women dining in the restaurant was the best in town too. Read more
Elif Shafak, the award winning Turkish- British writer, who writes in Turkish and English, is under investigation by prosecutors from Turkey along with other writers, for infringing obscenity laws. Said the writer:
“In the World Economic Forum’s gender gap report, Turkey ranks 130 of 149 countries. Only around 15% of child and adult sexual abuse cases are reported. The number of child brides is alarming. We need to talk about our problems rather than pretending they do not exist. The art of storytelling should dare to talk about difficult subjects.
“In all my novels I have tried to give voice to the voiceless. I have written about outcasts, minorities, the displaced and exiled … I wanted to make their stories heard. So I really find it tragic that instead of changing the laws, building shelters for abused women and children, improving the conditions for the victims, they are attacking fiction writers. That is very sad.” Read more
The sea with its moods, vibrancy and colours has been a source of fascination for countless poets, writers, photographers and artists.
Break, Break, Break, Alfred Tennyson’s elegy, written for his friend Arthur Hallum in 1835 and immortalised over centuries, uses the violence of waves to express the grief and the sense of helplessness caused by loss. Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) brought the ocean to our doorstep and subsequently on to the silver screen.
The Slave Ship by Turner
Around the same time, in 1867, Matthew Arnold , a British poet, published Dover Beach, which again plumbs into the darkness and the depth of the sea, some critics say to express “ a stand against a world of broken faith”. A little earlier than Mathew Arnold artist William Turner also expressed his fascination for the sea with his paintings The Slave Ship and Dawn after the Wreck (1840). Read more
(From The Guardian. Link to the complete article given below)
The furore over Penguin’s wise and brave decision to “reflect the diversity of British society” in its publishing and hiring output seems to have awoken the usual knuckle-dragging, semi-blind suspects with their endlessly repeated terrors and fears. They appear to believe that what is called “diversity” or “positive action” will lead to a dilution of their culture. Their stupidity and the sound of their pathetic whining would be funny if it weren’t so tragic for Britain. You might even want to call it a form of self-loathing; it is certainly unpatriotic and lacking in generosity.
The industries I’ve worked in for most of my life – film, TV, theatre, publishing – have all been more or less entirely dominated by white Oxbridge men, and they still mostly are. These men and their lackeys have been the beneficiaries of positive discrimination, to say the least, for centuries. The world has always been theirs, and they now believe they own it.
Some of us have been fortunate enough to force a way through the maze and make a living as artists. It was a difficult and often humiliating trip, I can tell you. There was much patronisation and many insults on the way, and they are still going on.
By P.N. Balji
Title: Asia Reborn
Author: Prasenjit K. Basu
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Asia reborn… but what next?
He is a keen watcher of Asia, having spent the last 25 years putting the economies of this wonder continent under his microscope. Economist Prasenjit K Basu is eminently qualified to write this weighty tome, which runs into 680 pages. His research is painstakingly done with the notes and references alone going into 41 pages.
At first flush, Asia Reborn is intimidating. The title doesn’t seem to tell anything new and the voluminous nature of the book might put off many potential readers who want information on the go. Still, those interested in a deeper perspective of Asia and why some countries succeeded and others failed will find it worthwhile to plumb through its pages.
The author’s style is engaging; he makes sure that his research findings don’t interfere with his prose. He adds spice to his narrative with anecdotes that will keep the subject matter alive. For example, he brings to life one about Lee Kuan Yew. The former PM was among other students at Raffles College when they heard an explosion at the Causeway. The Allied forces had blown a hole in the Causeway to stop the Japanese army from moving into Singapore during the Second World War in 1942. The principal asked the students what the explosion was about. LKY’s reply: ‘That is the end of the British Empire.’
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
Until this week, I thought that at least we could be consoled by fiction. That we still had the borderless joys of stories to fend off the dark forces of xenophobia and insularity. Culture is crucial in times of political uncertainty or crisis, and encountering other people’s stories in fiction seems like the surest way to keep our inner, imaginative boundaries open.
Except that we’re not encountering other people’s stories because they’re not being published. At least, not in Britain. The novelist Robyn Travis this week gave an inspirational talk on his struggle to find a publisher for his debut novel, Mama Can’t Raise No Man, about prison life and masculinity, and then to fill the 1,300-seater Hackney Empire in London for its launch this autumn. Go Robyn. Less inspiring was the fact that Travis, according to his publisher Crystal Mahey-Morgan, was most likely the only male black debut novelist to have been published in Britain this year.
Mahey-Morgan says there must be a “flaw in the industry” but no one in publishing should claim to be particularly shocked. A survey earlier this month by the Bookseller magazine found a “shockingly low” number of black, Asian or minority ethnic authors among the UK’s top 500 titles. Before that, a 2015 report, Writing the Future, found a glaring lack of inclusion across every level of a stubbornly white, middle-class publishing world. Read more