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‘The Best Asian Short Stories, 2017’ from Kitaab

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The stories in this anthology by Asia’s best known and well-respected contemporary writers and promising new voices, offer fresh insights into the experience of being Asian. They transcend borders and social and political divisions within which they arise. While drawing us into the lives of people and the places where they come from, they raise uneasy questions and probe ambiguities.

Explore Asia through these tales of the profound, the absurd, the chilling, and of moments of epiphany or catharsis. Women probe their own identities through gaps between social blinkers and shackles. A young Syrian mother flees from war-ravaged Aleppo into a more fearsome hell. The cataclysmic Partition of India and its aftershocks; life and death in a no-man’s land between two countries; ethnic groups forced into exile; are all part of the wider Asian experience.

Life flows on in the pauses between cataclysms, bringing hope. Fragile dreams spread rainbow wings through the struggle to succeed socially, earn a living, produce an heir, and try to grasp at fleeting joys and love. These symphonies of style and emotions sweep across Asia – from Jordan and Syria to Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan and Korea. Crafted with love, they continue to resonate after the last page.

As editor Moniddepa Sahu says, these stories come ‘from the heart of Asia, not from the Western perspective trying to make sense of the quaint and the exotic. The home-grown Asian identity runs as a strong undercurrent, with no need to explain and offer apologetic footnotes.’

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Poetry: The Prayer Poem by Drima Chakraborty

The Prayer Poem – by Drima Chakraborty

drima

Drima Chakraborty is a gender fluid Indian living in Singapore. They are currently studying English Literature at the National University of Singapore and think they must be horribly boring if work and play intermingles so frequently in the form of poetry for them. Nevertheless, they also like playing video games and political activism. They can be found under the handle “drimachuck” at most places, from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Tumblr.​​


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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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My mother ran a brothel in Singapore: Interview with ’17A Keong Saik Road’ author Charmaine Leung

Charmaine Leung, memoir writer

Charmaine Leung, memoir writer

“17A Keong Saik Road is a memoir of my childhood growing up in the red-light district, Keong Saik Road, in Singapore, where my mother ran a brothel. I wrote this as an attempt to come to terms with my ignoble identity of being the daughter of a brothel operator—I wanted to be rid of the shame that I had felt growing up, and embrace the past that made me the person I am today.”

by Aminah Sheikh

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

Writing is first and foremost a form of expression for me. I started journaling when I was a teenager—it was my way of airing the rumbling thoughts in my mind. As I grew up, the daily journals became monthly journals, and they eventually dwindled down to annual entries. Now, I just put down interesting thoughts as and when they come into my mind, it has become a lot easier with technology and easy access to apps for me to store these thoughts quickly. I’ve come to realise the spontaneous thoughts of the moment would become lost if I waited for a dedicated time to put them down, and I don’t want to lose them.

I write also because I have stories to tell. In addition to having an unusual childhood growing up in a red-light district in Chinatown in Singapore, and being surrounded by people who had interesting life experiences, I am a curious observer who enjoys putting down my observations in words. I believe everyone has a unique story.

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

I have just published my first book, a creative non-fiction work titled 17A Keong Saik Road. It is a memoir of my childhood growing up in the red-light district, Keong Saik Road, in Singapore, where my mother ran a brothel. I wrote this as an attempt to come to terms with my ignoble identity of being the daughter of a brothel operator—I wanted to be rid of the shame that I had felt growing up, and embrace the past that made me the person I am today.

I also wanted to share a part of Singapore history that is not commonly known, and give a voice to the things, and the people, who may have long been forgotten, or left unknown in the past. Continue reading


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New Release: 17A Keong Saik Road by Charmaine Leung

image003For the first time, Keong Saik Road’s history goes beyond “notorious red-light district” as Charmaine Leung retells the forgotten stories of the area through the memories of her mother and herself.

By weaving each other’s memories of growing up and living on Keong Saik Road, Charmaine charts the development and life of the area from the 1930s to 1980s. Her mother grew up serving the needs of a Keong Saik business entertainment house in the 1930s, and eventually became the madame of the brothel at 17A Keong Saik Road in the 1970s by circumstance.

“There were a lot more than just brothels: there was a strong community spirit, a variety of businesses from a Chinese calligraphy shop to an Indian provision shop, various festivals celebrated by the different communities who lived there, and also, heart-warming stories of resilience of the women,” says Charmaine.

Charmaine’s relationships and encounters with marginalised women like the Ma Je, Pei Pa Zai, and Dai Gu Liong gave her an insight to their way of life and the hardships that they had endured: a Ma Je who travelled from Guangdong with her toddler to seek a new life when she was accused as a jinx and disowned by her husband’s family after he died in a mine; a Pei Pa Zai who held her head high despite having to make a living entertaining men through singing and conversation; a Dai Gu Liong who escaped the bondage of a triad’s prostitution ring to work in the brothels of Keong Saik where she could at least dictate her services and earn money on her own terms.

“Despite their difficulties, the women of Keong Saik did not lose their ability to believe and hope. They made the best of who they were and what they had to strive for a better future, I truly admire that spirit of theirs,” Charmaine adds.

Not only tracing the transformation of the Keong Saik area from the 1930s to the present, her memoir unveils her mother’s journey as a young girl put up for sale to becoming the madame of the brothel at 17A Keong Saik Road in the 1970s, as well as her personal struggles with shame and identity of growing up in a red-light district.

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The EU together with LASALLE College of the Arts will inaugurate the European Union Writers Festival on May 26

 

image001Celebrating 60 years of the European Union (EU) and 40 years of EU-ASEAN ties, the EU together with LASALLE College of the Arts will launch its inaugural European Union Writers Festival to deepen its cultural connections with Singapore. The festival is a celebration of culture and literature that transcends borders.

With an opening event and full-day of panel discussions on May 26, the festival explores the themes in European contemporary literature and shares the insights of Singaporean authors who have travelled to Europe and written pieces in response to their journey. You can look forward to a series of talks by industry experts from arts, film, and writing backgrounds as they offer contextual understandings into the overseas and Singaporean literary scenes.

It will create a platform for European writers and publishers based in Singapore to discuss their work and ideas which inspire writing in many forms. Highlights include German writer and filmmaker Michael Schindhelm who will present his latest publication, Happy Tropics I and discussions on topics such as Art Writing, The Craft of Film Writing, The Fine Art of Publishing, and Writing in the Age of Social Media.

Opening night: Thu 25 May, 6pm – 7pm

Venue: Campus Green, LASALLE McNally Campus, 1 McNally Street, Singapore 187940

Festival: Fri 26 May, 10am – 3pm

Venue: The Singapore Airlines Theatre Foyer, Basement 1, LASALLE McNally Campus, 1 McNally Street, Singapore 187940

Admission: Free

For more information, visit the website here.

Schedule

10am – 11am: In Conversation: Michael Schindhelm with Darryl Whetter

11am – 12pm: Art Writing and its Challenges

12pm – 1pm: The Craft of Film Writing

1pm – 2pm: The Fine Art of Publishing

2pm – 3pm: Writing in the Age of Social Media


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Call for an Anthology of Singaporean Short Film Screenplays

Filmwallas.com and the Screenwriters Association (Singapore) are calling in for The Singapore Short List 2017 – an Anthology of Singaporean Short Film Screenplays.

The theme of the short screenplay is ‘Race’. Participants are to submit their short screenplay based on their interpretation before 31st May 2017.

12 screenplays will be shortlisted, and published in The Singapore Short List 2017. Once the anthology is published, a further competition will be announced for directors and producers to turn the shortlisted screenplays into finished short films.

How to participate:

  1. Set up a profile at www.filmwallas.com (click on the sign up button on the top right of the homepage)
  2. Download this Registration form, fill it up and email it to info@filmwallas.com with the subject line: SINGAPORE SHORT LIST – before 31 May 2017
  3. Make a payment of S$20 per entry at http://bit.ly/2osx8R8

Note:

  • Entry is open to any Singaporean or resident of Singapore
  • Entry is free for members of the Screenwriters Association
  • Entry fee is S$20 per submission for all other entrants. Multiple entries are accepted. Each entry allows you to receive a complimentary copy of the published anthology.
  • Submission deadline is midnight on 31 May 2017
  • Scripts must be between 5 and 15 pages, in standard industry screenplay format
  • Selections will be made by a jury appointed by the Screenwriters Association committee and their decision is final.
  • The shortlisted 12 will be announced in June/July 2017
  • The anthology will be published in late September/October 2017.
  • Kitaab will retain the right to publish all submitted works in first and subsequent prints.
  • Royalties will be paid to all shortlisted writers on 2nd and subsequent prints.
  • The screenplays will remain the Intellectual Property of the individual writers.

For more details: http://filmwallas.com/contest/screenwriters

 


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Indonesian Children’s Stories to Take Center Stage at Singapore Book Festival

Indonesian children’s books, folktales and culture will take center stage at this year’s Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore, a representative of the Creative Economy Agency, or Bekraf, announced in Jakarta on Tuesday (02/05).

The Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) is an annual event meant to celebrate and promote children’s books and literature from the region, alternating its thematic “country of focus” each year.

The festival connects writers and illustrators with publishers to share, network and celebrate children’s content from Asia and from around the world.

The event will feature discussions with writers and researchers of children’s books and provide interactive educational sessions for those interested in learning about animation and other illustrative techniques used in children’s content.

More than 200 books from Indonesian authors will be showcased at the event, including “Didgit Cobbleheart Loves the Flora and Fauna of Western Indonesia,” by Aang Muljanto, “Indonesian Folktales,” by Fatimah Zahra, “A Gift for Komi,” by Fina Faza and “Mrs. Duck and Mrs. Hen,” by Fitra Hayanti.

Murti Bunanta, an AFCC board adviser and president of the Indonesian-based Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature (KPBA), said reading often is important for children’s cognitive and emotional development. Read more

Source: Jakarta Globe


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The European Union and LASALLE College of the Arts launch inaugural European Union Writers Festival

As the European Union marks 60 years, the European Union Delegation to Singapore deepens its cultural connections with Singapore. On May 25-26, together with LASALLE College of the Arts, the EU launches its inaugural European Union Writers Festival (EUWF).

With EUWF, the EU Delegation to Singapore and LASALLE College of the Arts join their efforts to create a platform showcasing European authors based in Singapore. Through an opening event and a full-day of panel discussions on May 26, this festival will use literature and words to add to the rich Singapore-Europe dialogue and deepen long-established European connections in the city-state.

Says Dr Michael Pulch, European Union Ambassador to Singapore: “We celebrate literature with our inaugural European Union Writers Festival.”

Discussions to launch this festival started nine months ago and Dr Pulch adds the “aim is to create a platform for European writers and publishers based in Singapore to discuss their work and the many ideas that inspire writing in many forms.”

“We are delighted to partner with LASALLE College of the Arts. As we mark 60 years of the European Union and 40 years of EU-ASEAN ties, this collaboration strengthens our long- established connections with the city-state. It adds to the rich artistic and cultural dialogue between Europe and Singapore,” says Dr Pulch.

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