With the literary festivals season blossoming around Asia, Singapore will host its 22 nd writers’ festival from 1st to 10th November  with big names dropping in, including Pico Iyer. Pico Iyer, who has spent the last three decades in Japan will be talking on ‘Beyond Borders, Beyond Words’. Iyer will reflect on human connection and belonging. After his talk, he will be in dialogue with acclaimed novelist who has spent a large part of her life in Japan too and now lives in Singapore, Meira Chand.

This year Pico Iyer has been the writer in residence for the newly renovated Raffles Hotel in Singapore. He penned down a book on the Hotel called This could be Home. the novel was launched on 5th august. Long ago in history, this heritage hotel had housed the likes of great writers like Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham.

Pico Iyer was born Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer in 1957. His great-great-great-grand father was a Gujarati writer-reformer in the late nineteenth century, Mahipatram Nilkanth . His parents were Indian academics who moved to England to study. Iyer’s unusual name is a combination of the Buddha’s name, Siddhartha, with that of the fifteenth century Florentine neo-Platonist Pico della Mirandola and the last name is that of his father. Schooled in Oxford and Harvard, Pico Iyer is known for his brilliant essays and travel writing. He has written a few novels too.

By Mitali Chakravarty

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Nidhi Mishra, CEO and founder of Bookosmia

Nidhi Mishra is an ex-banker who pivoted from a ten year banking career to her passion for reading and luring others to read (admittedly, at times forcibly). Nidhi studied at Lady Shri Ram College , Delhi University, to pick up an Honours in Mathematics and a feminist flair on the side. An MBA from IIM Lucknow took her to a decade long career in the financial sector, finally quitting as VP, HSBC as she wanted to do something more meaningful with her time, which led her to found Bookosmia. Bookosmia (smell of books)  is a children’s content company hoping to make children fall in love with reading, writing and everything else around Indian stories. Over the last two years, the company has built a significant spread of content, across formats- physical books, digital stories and audio stories with one common thread — to curate homegrown, relatable and fun content for Indian children. In this exclusive, Nidhi talks of their present and future, how she feels book publishing is still viable and needed…

Mitali: You have founded a publishing firm, which took up a challenge and pulled it off… selling 1000 copies of a book that was seen as a failure by others in a week. What made you take up the book?

Nidhi: At Bookosmia, we look to not publish more than 2-3 physical books every year. A very strong driver for us is to be able to find the topic / basic storyline meaningful and one that moves us. It helps to start out being very clear to yourself and the team that book publishing is not about making great money — it is about using books as a medium to amplify reach of a certain cause. We took up this book because we were excited about the challenge of using a children’s story book as a medium to spread awareness of a dying Indian dance form in a fun way and we were confident that we would be able to tap into our steadily growing network of parents /schools/ organisations that engage with kids across India.

by Dan Bloom

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Taiwan sits on a piece of colourful and multi-splendoured island real estate, south of Japan and east of Hong Kong and China. As an independent, sovereign nation since 1945, it has produced its share of Asian literature since the beginning of the Japanese Colonial Period (1895-1945) to the present. In this brief essay, I want to introduce two Taiwanese writers; one a novelist with an international reputation, Wu Ming-yi, who writes in Chinese, and the other a short story writer based in Taipei, Jane Wu, who writes in English and has recently published a collection of nine stories about the martial law period of Taiwan history (1949 to 1987).

Nature writer and university professor Wu Ming-yi  (吳明益) wrote a popular novel titled The Man with the Compound Eyes in 2011, with translations in English and French following in 2013 and 2014. Largely ignored at first for the novel that was published in Chinese, Wu’s eco-fantasy later  attracted attention overseas in translated editions, thanks for the eagle eye and savvy marketing skills of Taipei-based literary agent Gray Tan, who took Wu under his wing and introduced the novel to agents and publishers in Europe and America.

Tintin

HONG KONG. – 11 October 2017 – HOCA Foundation is proud to announce a landmark exhibition exploring the adventures of global icon Tintin. The largest presentation in Hong Kong to date, it showcases 8 albums from the renowned “The Adventures of Tintin” series. The immersive experience, featuring vivid scenography, celebrates the imaginative world created by the Belgian illustrator and creator of Tintin, Hergé. Presented in collaboration with the Hergé Museum, “THE WORLD OF TINTIN,” will run from November 17 – December 26, 2017 at the new ArtisTree, venue sponsored by Swire Properties. A public two-day conference, as well as a series of educational comic art workshops will run in parallel, tailored for students in collaboration with local schools.

Created in 1929, the Tintin adventures have been translated into over 100 languages and sold more than 230 million copies worldwide. Each thematic section of the exhibition has been designed by HOCA Foundation to bring the intrepid boy reporter to life. “THE WORLD OF TINTIN” traces Hergé’s path from his first stories to his mature works, following Tintin as he crosses continents between North America, Africa, Asia, Europe and beyond.

A cultural touchstone of the 20th century, the canonical series of Tintin albums featured include Tintin in America; Cigars of the Pharaoh; The Blue Lotus; The Broken Ear; King Ottokar’s Sceptre; The Shooting Star; The Red Sea Sharks and Tintin in Tibet. Packed with gripping adventures, action and page-turning humor, the show highlights Tintin beyond the fictional narrative, offering a lens into the social and political contexts of its time. Visual art has played an important role in documenting historical events, and the series serve as vehicles to express Herge’s views on the conflicts and topics of his time. Ushering a new dimension in comic strips, the Tintin series has since been recognized as an important work of art that reflects the changing perspectives of its audience throughout the 1900s.

The welcoming exhibition also includes three specially created models of Tintin scenes, including a model of Tintin’s apartment; a large diorama of the ticker tape parade in Chicago from Tintin in America, highlighting Hergé’s sophisticated use of perspective; and a collector’s model of a street scene populated by signature Tintin cars, accurately rendered from the automobiles of the time. Flanked by colorful scenes set in vinyl throughout the space and reconstituted as the show’s wallpaper, the exhibition design transforms Hergé’s motifs into a compelling environment that befits his trademark characters and evokes the illustrator’s magical world and limitless imagination.

Committed to art education and enabling access to art for the wider public, HOCA Foundation also presents a 2-day public conference exploring the importance of comic art in contemporary society. The free event will feature panels exploring Tintin’s legacy, as well as a keynote lecture by Michael Farr, the world’s foremost ‘Tintinologist’. In collaboration with local schools, a series of comic art workshops, led by local illustrators will also activate families and students to engage with and be inspired by Tintin stories. All educational events are generously sponsored by blueprint and Semeiotics, with additional support from the ticket sales of Freespace at Taikoo Place, co-presented by Swire Properties and West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. (Please refer to Appendix I for full details of Educational Program)

To celebrate the first full-scale exhibition of Tintin in Hong Kong, 3 pop-up shops will also be presented around Hong Kong, at ArtisTree, CityPlaza and Central, presenting a wide range of Tintin gifts, books and memorabilia.