While countrywide protests wrack India over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and writer Shireen Dalvi and Yakoob Yawar returned their state level Sahitya Akademi awards, a Hong Kong poet empathetic of the student protest caused distress within the family, one of who also happens to be a high profile government official.
Dalvi was given an award in 2011 by the state of Maharashtra. From the media, she tweeted, “I am saddened and shocked by the news that the BJP led government has passed CAB ( Citizen amendment Bill), an attack on our constitution and secularism and in protest against this inhuman law I am announcing that I would return my State Sahitya Akademi Award…”
Yawar, 67, returned the Uttar Pradesh award state for translation saying in a report, “I have been scared watching the parliamentary debate. As an old man what else can I do about this Bill that is creating such unrest? I decided to return this award and do my duty.”
Tweeting has become a favourite with humans, in multiple languages and colourful brief statements. This tweeting has nothing to do with chirping birds but with Larry Bird, a legendary NBA player , who was so much a favourite with the founders of Twitter that they created their icon keeping his name in mind.
Then of course there are the American President and the Indian Prime minister who love to tweet!
Officially, Twitter was launched in 2006. The service grew by leaps and bounds. By 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day. In 2013, it was described as “the SMS of the Internet”. Twitter had more than 321 million monthly active users by 2018. And now, they even have poetry on Twitter!
Based as a newspaper reporter and climate blogger in Taiwan, since 2011 I’ve been promoting the rising ‘cli-fi’ movement to boost the literary fortunes of ‘climate change fiction’, a new genre of literature now accompanying ‘sci-fi’ within modern literature’s classification system. I’m not a novelist or a short story writer myself, just a reader and what I described as ‘a climate activist of the literary kind’. I use my PR skills learned over a lifetime of newspaper and magazine work in North America, Europe, Japan and Taiwan to communicate my cli-fi passion with editors, novelists, literary critics and fellow readers.
I’m not the only one doing this now. There’s a veritable army of PR people and literary critics shepherding cli-fi novels and short story anthologies into publication in over a dozen languages. What started out as a small movement in the anglophone world in 2011, has now become a global phenomenon among literary people in India, Singapore, Sweden, France and Australia. among other nations.
So what is cli-fi? As a subgenre of science fiction, it crosses the boundary between literary fiction and sci-fi to imagine the past, present, and future effects of man-made climate change, allowing readers to see what life might be like on a burning, drowning, dying planet. But the genre also encompasses writers who pen utopian novels and short stories full of hope and optimism. Cli-fi is not all dystopian and nightmarish visions of the future. There’s a lot of room for hope and better days, too.
A reader may find it hard to imagine an author as anything more than a by line and portrait on a back cover. Especially when a book is all engrossing, curiosity strikes about the person behind it. Twitter is making it easier than ever before for authors to engage with their fans, promote their works, and further express their thoughts and personalities. But with so many figures on Twitter, it’s hard to know who to follow and who to skip. Here are seven authors worth following.
A viscerally powerful first novel from one of the most outspoken poets in contemporary India: Sumana Mukherjee in Live Mint
“Fuck these postmodern writers.”
With this sentence, Meena Kandasamy ends possibly the most frustrating opening chapters you’ll read this year, replete with false starts, long digressions on everything from Ptolemy to Twitter and enough background information to rival a doctoral thesis. Precociously self-aware, preternaturally intelligent, and frequently convoluted, they also pre-empt every single argument that the reader or the reviewer could advance against these 50-odd pages and don’t spare the writer-narrator either.
Miki Mimura, a Japanese language teacher at Kurashiki Seiryo High School in Okayama Prefecture, is pioneering a new literature teaching method drawing inspiration from Twitter.
In her approach, which aims at cultivating reading comprehension and self-expression, students are encouraged to condense the thoughts and emotions of characters into short expressions akin to tweets, using 60 characters or less. Mimura says they voiced their opinions much more frequently during the trial run.