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South Korean writer, Hang Kan ,who was the winner of the Man International Booker prize in 2016 for her novel The Vegetarian, has joined the ranks of literary greats who are giving their writing for the Future Library Project in Norway started by artist Katie Paterson in 2014.

Katie Paterson, an award winning Scottish artist known to play with and find inspiration in nature using her imagination to create unique artworks based on natural phenomenons like glaciers,stars and the universe itself, planted one thousand spruce trees in the Nordmarka forest, just outside Oslo in Norway. The paper from these woods will be used in 2114 to print the books of the literary greats who are participating in the project, which include literary giants like Margaret Atwood and multiple award winning novelist David Mitchell and whose ranks Hang Sen joined last month.

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By Aminah Sheikh

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

Because eventually we will all be reduced to nothing – and that is something I refuse to accept, or believe.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

Epigram Books released my first novel, Kappa Quartet, in September 2016. It was a conscious effort on my part, I believe, to have my first novel encapsulate who I was/am as a writer. For instance I believe in the essential premise of irrealism – that a gap exists between the infinite possibilities of the universe and the limited ability of our consciousness to perceive or understand it – and that a writer of fiction really shouldn’t be viewed as an oracle, or a sage, or provider of solutions. But I did, on a basic level, want to explore the various ways in which people learn to live and cope with feelings of emptiness; it was the baseline on which I built my stories and characters for the novel.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

As an observer of the world I believe in immanence; as a member of human society I believe in interconnectivity, diversity, and the power of shared experience; as a craftsman of words I lean towards simplicity, a lightness of touch, and a good clip, a steady pace.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favourite authors are Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham, and Haruki Murakami. And I will always be in awe of Stephanie Ye, David Mitchell, and Yoko Ogawa.

The only dead person I will credit as a favourite is Willa Cather, for Death Comes for the Archbishop.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

It’ll have to be my current project. Titled Lovelier, it’s a book-length project that intertwines poetry with short stories to tell a complete but broken tale about a cast of millennials. They’re creative, ambitious, and yet constantly prone to failure, and so I adore them. I could have gone with a simpler structure, of course – I could have gone with one or the other, poetry or prose – but that’s just me. The pieces are all there, and I’m still waiting on the decision to cut half of it away or keep them all.

Chair of judges, AC Grayling, says it has been ‘vintage year’ for competition which this year includes US writers for first time: The Guardian

the-lives-of-othersHoward Jacobson, David Mitchell and Ali Smith are among the British heavyweight writers who will compete for the Man Booker prize in its first incarnation as a global literary award, it was announced on Wednesday, along with David Nicholls, writer of the bestsellers Starter for Ten and One Day.

Thirteen novels were named on the longlist for the prize, which for more than 40 years has rewarded only Commonwealth and Irish writers. The rules changed last year, sparking fears that it would quickly be dominated by Americans.

In the event, judges chose four Americans: Joshua Ferris, Siri Hustvedt, Karen Joy Fowler and Richard Powers. An almost American, Joseph O’Neill, who is an Irish-born US resident, was also named one of what is known as the Man Booker “dozen”.

ruth-ozekiAuthors, editors, publishers and translators gather with book fans this week to celebrate the second Tokyo International Literary Festival, which features 10 days of readings and workshops alongside more than two dozen events at venues ranging from coffee shops to embassies.

Participants who attended the inaugural event last year waxed lyrical about its ability to bring people with a common interest together to discuss current trends in the industry. “I think the interaction at the event has the potential to take root and influence Japanese literature,” Akutagawa Prize-winner Mieko Kawakami told The Nippon Foundation.