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April 2018 bestseller lists from China: Young readers cheer a celebrity-powered World Book Day

(From Publishing Perspectives)

Our colleagues at OpenBook in Beijing and Trajectory in Boston point out that although Yu Hua’s To Live claimed the No. 1 spot on China’s Overall Fiction list for April, the two titles that follow it are warhorses of the market’s bestseller lists—both from outside China.

OpenBook’s analysis of the strong positioning for Yu Hua’s work points to a particularly robust World Book Day program in China on the 23rd of April.

As it happens, an 18-year-old celebrity named Yi YanQianXi—Jackson Yee to English-language fans—took to his Weibo social media channel to recommend the author’s To Live. Yee may be a book’s best friend: when he appealed for more reviews of the book, some 100 other celebrities jumped in, and more than 2 million followers were quickly following.

Before the activity was over, author Yu Hua had written a public message to Yi YanQianXi, addressing the generation of Chinese citizens he writes about, saying, in part, “You are a unique generation. You are in a period where the future has come and the past has not yet passed.”

The 57-year-old Yu Hua has at times written what’s described as postmodern Chinese fiction, sometimes with elements of magical realism, stories of young people in various eras, particularly building the context of small people in great times and their importance in society and culture. Yu Hua’s work supports the idea that the young Chinese citizens of today will be the leading consumers of pure literature in the future.

Read more at this link

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Divya Marathi’s Marathi Literature Festival, Nashik

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Independent thinking includes the ability to engage in reflective and critical thinking. This ability to think independently without any bias is the very foundation of our democracy. To strengthen and promote this very idea of independent thinking, Divya Marathi organized the second edition of Marathi Literature Festival under the theme ‘Confluence of Independent Thinkers’ in Kusumagraj SmarakThe 3-day festival concluded on 5th Nov 2017 with a live performance by neo-fusion rock band Kabir Café. This rock band successfully fused the mystic saint’s age-old independent philosophy with a modern outlook. The festival also witnessed entertainment packed live performances of Music Maestro Hariharan and Illusionist Abhishek Acharya.

This 3-day festival comprised of 72 eminent speakers participating in 26 sessions and 6 workshops on diverse subjects ranging from Democratic Polity, Literature, Mythology, Medical Ethics in Literature, Literature and Social Movement, Graphic Arts, Tea and Book Pairing, Fake News and even Food Archaeology.

Mr. Girish Agarwal, Director, Dainik Bhaskar Group said, ‘We are happy that Marathi Literature Festival has been able to entice our Marathi readers by marking a confluence of independent thinkers and achievers. This will surely give impetus to our efforts of enabling our readers to think independently without being prejudiced and influenced.’

A special segment ‘Celebrating the power of Independent Thinking’ saw 12 independent thinkers of Maharashtra being felicitated for their passion and being change drivers. Eminent speakers included Mr. Devdutt  Pattanaik , Ms. Savi Sharma , Mr. Sheshrao More, Mr. Rajiv Dogra , Ms. Sheela Reddy, Ms. Neelima Dalmia Adhar, Mr. Nilotpal Mrinal, Mr. Aabid Surti , Mr. Niranjan Chapalgaonkar, Mr. Sambhaji Bhagat, Mr. Uday Deshpande, Mr. Virag Gupta, Mr. Ashish Chaudhary , Dr. Neelima Chauhan, and Mr. Mahesh Kothare.

This festival also hosted interesting sessions on the disappearing traditional games of India by Sreeranjini (Founder-Kavade), Blind Photography by Partho Bhowmick (Founder-Blind with Camera) and Tea & Book Pairing by Snigdha Manchanda (India’s first and finest Tea Sommelier). Workshops on Blogging, ‘Kavya Katta’ and Reading Pleasure added vigour to the literary sessions. A Special edition tea, Landour Gold Tea, was released  as an ode to the beautiful mountains that is the home and inspiration of legendary author Ruskin Bond. Honouring his love for nature, pure green tea was blended with herbs and blooms native to the Himalayas – chamomile, sage, and lemongrass.

To know more visit http://marathiliteraturefestival.com/en/


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China Reinvents Literature (Profitably)

Smartphones may be killing print in China, but they’re revolutionizing literature. Last year, 333 million Chinese read fiction written for their phones and other devices, according to government data. Some is written by hobbyists and some by professionals. Increasingly, though, it’s hard to tell the difference, as China’s “online literature” morphs into a $1.3 billion industry.

Investors have taken note. On Wednesday, China Literature Ltd., the country’s biggestonline publisher, will go public in Hong Kong, with a market value expected to exceed $6 billion. Its success should put the rest of the publishing industry on notice that the future of the book is being written in China — and it looks nothing like the past.

For decades, China’s publishing industry was dominated by government-owned companies that steered clear of subject matter that might cause controversy. Politics was just the most obvious topic. But sex, romance and violence — the stuff of so much popular entertainment — were also generally discouraged. Good books still managed to get published, but formal and informal restrictions severely inhibited creative expression.

Then the internet offered a back channel. In the late 1990s, authors began posting serialized novels to online forums and bulletin boards. It was an informal and largely uncensored way to publish, and some of the early books — especially romances — became sensations. Among other factors turning these early serials into hits were the online forums themselves. They were the social media of their time, and parallel commentaries and discussions organically sprung up around this new literature, becoming as much a part of the experience of reading as the story itself. In many cases, these commentaries influenced how the authors wrote, and thereby drew in even more readers eager to be a part of the story-making process.

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The Representation of the Syrian Revolution in Literature

“These literary works depict the political, social and religious realities of Syria before and after March 2011 in order to draw a more comprehensive picture of Syria’s culture. These cultural details lay the foundation and act as necessary components for the development of the narratives and their relation to the current situation in Syria.”

…..

The need for writing

It would be inaccurate to assume that the literature centering on Assad’s family regime only started with the outbreak of the 2011 revolution. Some Syrian authors and dramatists have always addressed Assad’s politics in their works despite the fact that their criticism was indirect. They employed historical figures and events, constructing allegorical works so that they met the expectations of the censor. For example, some works were crafted to revolve around an event in pre-Islamic, Islamic or medieval Arab history and they exposed the ways the Arab kings ruled the masses. Through the interactions between the masses and the king, the monopoly of power alluded to the current politics of Syria and its corruption. Authors such as Mohammad al-Maghot, Mamduh Udwan, Sadallah Wanus and Zakaryya Tamer did not miss a chance to criticize the Syrian regime. however, there were not any explicit attempts to condemn that regime or its head.

With the outbreak of the revolution, the allegorical style would be abandoned because of the flooding of news of demonstrations, attacks, shelling and most importantly, the daily killing of innocent Syrians. Such incidents brought a radical change to literature. Due to the pace of news coming out of Syria, the media had to handle it in a way that served the needs of its audience, delivering the most up-to-date news without necessarily pinpointing the background of the revolution or taking into consideration the different constituencies that supported the revolution.

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Media centre: Study in Europe 2017 — EU’s Annual Education Fair in Singapore on September 30

In its 11th edition, Study in Europe (SIE) seeks to connect students in Singapore with universities in Europe and provide them access to information about institutions they might be interested in studying at, the application process together with details of various bond-free scholarships. Nations from across Europe will be represented at the annual Study in Europe education fair that presents the many diverse study programmes on offer throughout Europe and highlights a range of scholarship options that could make studying in Europe easier for students.

Study in Europe 2017 will be held in Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre. Organised by the European Union (EU) Delegation to Singapore, this fair brings together 13 European countries. The countries represented at the fair are Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.

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Asymptote’s Blockbuster Summer Edition

Asymptote’s Summer issue presents new writing from 27 countries. An exciting journey through stories and poems with master story-tellers and contest winners.

Asymptote’s blockbuster Summer edition features new fiction by master story-teller Finalized_Summer_2017_FB_announcementMercè Rodoreda, interviews with Kafka translator Michael Hofmann and 2017 Prix Net Art winner Bogosi Sekhukhuni, as well as the first love poems by Nobel front-runner Ko Un, who poignantly captures the longing of “the world…in want of the world.”

Asymptote also announces — and showcases — the 2017 Close Approximations contest winners, picked from a total of 343 entries by David Bellos and Sawako Nakayasu.

Find out which six emerging translators walk away with a total of 3,000 USD in prizes by reading the judges’ citations here.

Watch out for the journals’ fabulous content on FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr.

Discover new work from 27 countries + contest winners at http://asymptotejournal.com

 


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LiterASIAN, North America’s First Asian Literature Festival, Celebrates Asian Canadian Culture, History, Storytelling

On the weekend of September 21, the streets of Chinatown will play host to a literary feast. On the menu is a collection of stories exploring the Canadian experience. Yet this isn’t the stereotypical western spread — attendees will be diving into an often-untold side of Canadian culture and history: the Asian Canadian experience.

LiterASIAN, an annual festival of Pacific Rim Asian Canadian writing, is the first Asian literature festival in North America. Founded by the late Jim Wong-Chu — his 1986 poetry book, Chinatown Ghosts, was one of the first published by an Asian Canadian — the four day-long festival is packed with panel discussions, workshops, and a variety of book launches from acclaimed writers like Jen Sookfong Lee.

“LiterASIAN is a grassroots festival that celebrates Canadian diversity,” says co-founder and Festival Director Allan Cho. “For a long time, literature has presented the Canadian experience as the British experience. This means that many of us have not seen the other side of Canada. Part of the festival is to showcase unique stories, stories that find their inspiration in Chinatown, Japantown, and Little India. It intends to give a full-bodied Canadian experience.”

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The importance of literary translation for global recognition

 

Before the establishment of the Lontar Foundation, there was virtually no place in the world where one could find translated versions of Indonesian literature. (Lontar Foundation/File)

Since 1987, the Lontar Foundation has been one of the most active independent institutions in translating Indonesian works into English, quietly developing and making local literature accessible abroad as a result.

Before the establishment of the Lontar Foundation, there was virtually no place in the world where one could find translated versions of Indonesian literature, and the foundation itself has remained the only organization since 2009 that focuses on promoting translated Indonesian literature abroad.

But while the foundation itself had a productive few decades behind it, as it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, Lontar has also fallen victim to the indifference of Indonesians toward the importance of translating those works into English.

Lontar Foundation co-founder John McGlynn once mentioned that even after three decades and the support of many notable Indonesian authors, it remains hard for the arts in general to get sponsored by the government or private investors due to the fact that it has to compete with more lucrative fields that can guarantee higher returns on investment, such as sports.

“The fact is that sales of our books only account for one third of our income. The rest of it comes from contributions from friends and projects that we get asked to do. For example, if someone comes up to us with a book that’s very interesting and is willing to pay us a lot of money, we’ll do that,” McGlynn explained.

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India: Assam govt to hold seminars on Rabindra Jayanti from next year

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today described Rabindranath Tagore as a great humanist and said Tagore made indelible contribution to glorify Indian literature at the world stage.

He was speaking at a Rabindra Jayanti celebration organised by the Greater Guwahati Rabindra Jayanti Celebration Committee in association with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs.

The Assam government would hold seminars on Rabindra Jayanti across all districts in the state from next year, the chief minister said. Read more

Source: India.com


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Calcutta Club USA to host Third Annual Sanskriti LitFest and Book Fair on June 10th

ACTON, MA–Calcutta Club USA will host its third annual Sanskriti LitFest and Book Fair on Saturday, June 10th, at Parker Damon Building in Acton MA from 12 PM to 5 PM, the organizers said in a statement.

This novel event in North America, which brings together literature, art, cuisine, thought leadership and family fun within a single venue, has risen in prominence in just three years and attracts the top literati and South Asian authors to participate either in person or over videoconference, the statement said.

Books of prominent Indian sub-continent authors are available for purchase in English, Bengali and Hindi. A key innovation of the book fair is the Authors’ Direct program – the popular platform to reach Boston’s reading community leveraged by over 50 rising authors.

The Keynote Speaker will be the globally renowned Shashi Tharoor, India’s bestselling author, former UN UnderSecretary General and member of parliament, who is traveling to Boston to speak at the Calcutta Club USA book fair. Read more

Source: India New England News