A rojak* of items that caught my eye this week…
Around the World in 18 Days
The world-famous Edinburgh International Book Festival, which will run from 15 – 31 August, has just announced its most International programme ever. Asian authors participating are:
Xinran: Journalist Xinran left China in 1997 and has since established herself as a leading commentator on her home country. She will talk about her new book Buy Me The Sky, an exploration of China’s one-child generations, and an account of rapid social change, told through her trademark reliance on anecdote.
Haji Noor Deen: Chinese-Muslim calligrapher Haji Noor Deen is one of the greatest living masters of Islamic calligraphy. He fuses Chinese and Arabic styles, and his work is collected across the world. Noor Deen will render ayahs (verses) from The Qur’an into works of beautiful calligraphy.
Han Kang: Han Kang, from South Korea, has already won major awards in her home country. She will discuss her first novel to be translated into English, The Vegetarian, which has received international acclaim.
Chen Guangcheng: Chen will talk about his memoir, The Barefoot Lawyer, which reveals his acerbic view of diplomacy between Clinton and the Chinese government, and details his work with Chinese women who suffered abuse under the one-child policy.
Hyeonseo Lee: As a child of Kim Il-sung’s North Korea, a teenage Hyeonseo Lee believed the Dear Leader was her saviour, even holding on to that faith after she’d fled the country, initially for China, and later for South Korea. She will discuss her memoir, The Girl with Seven Names, which not only tells her personal story, but also reveals human rights abuses that have largely been kept secret.
Science Fiction in Japan and Myanmar
Japanese science fiction has a long history that may stretch back to the eighth-century tale of time traveller Urashima Taro and the 10th-century story of moon-princess Kaguya-hime. Click here for an in-depth exploration of the new face of Japanese sci-fi as it chases an augmented world, by Iain Maloney, for the English-language edition of the Japan Times.
Meanwhile, Zon Pann Pwint, writing for the English-language edition of the Myanmar Times, laments that despite the popularity of blockbuster space fantasy movies in Yangon, finding a good Myanmarese writer of science fiction is pretty much impossible. Click here to read his piece, Ray guns and robots a light-year too far for Myanmar writers.
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