Thursday, 19 March 2015

This Week in Asian Review of Books

Asian Books Blog is not a review site. If you want reviews, see the Asian Review of Books. Here is a list of its newest reviews:

The Porcelain Thief: Searching the Middle Kingdom for Buried China by Huan Hsu reviewed by Juan José Morales
Sinophobia: Anxiety, Violence, and the Making of Mongolian Identity by Franck Bille reviewed by Joshua Bird
Poetry review: The Lost Novel by James Shea reviewed by Jennifer Wong
Wombs in Labor: Transnational Commercial Surrogacy in India by Amrita Pande reviewed by SY Koh

English PEN Supports World Literature

Take a look at World Bookshelf and the PEN Atlas, two really interesting sites from English PEN.

World Bookshelf is an online collection of the very best contemporary literature in translation. Some of the most important writers of our time have written for PEN Atlas, a weekly blog dedicated to international voices.

Visit World Bookshelf at

Visit the PEN Atlas at

Clarification from Rena Pederson

Rena Pederson, author of The Burma Spring, has been in touch to point out that in her book's Quick Notice I mentioned  that she used the term Burma throughout, although the country's name has been changed to Myanmar. However, I failed to mention she addressed this issue in the following editor's note: 

In 1989, Burma’s military rulers changed the official English name of the country from “the Union of Burma” to “the Union of Myanmar.”And in 2010, they changed it once more to “The Republic of the Union of Myanmar.”Some countries—including the United States and the United Kingdom—continued to use the country name Burma because the military government that changed the name to Myanmar was not elected democratically. Since there is now a quasi-civilian government in place, the growing trend has been to use the Myanmar nomenclature around the world. Because it was still the U.S. State Department policy to continue using the country name Burma at the time of this book’s writing, that is the term used predominantly here. Myanmar is also used where appropriate.

Rena has provided an e-mail interview for Asian Books Blog, which will be posted on Tuesday, 31 March.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

China is Guest of Honor at BookExpo America's Global Market Forum in May 2015

China will send a high ranking delegation of up to 500 top publishing professionals, internationally acclaimed authors, and senior government officials to attend BookExpo America (BEA) in New York, in a unique effort to widen and deepen the cultural and business ties between the world’s two largest publishing markets.  “This is the most significant foreign delegation that we have ever hosted at America’s largest publishing convention”, notes Steven Rosato, BEA’s Show Director.  "We are honored to welcome China and we look forward to making this a rewarding experience for everyone involved."

Thursday, 12 March 2015

500 Words From Olivier Lafont

500 Words a series of guest posts from authors, in which they talk about their recently published books. Here Olivier Lafont, a Frenchman whose parents moved him to India as a child, and who is well-known in his adopted home as an actor, screenwriter, and brand-ambassador, discusses his debut novel, Warrior, which was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announce 2015 longlist

It was announced today that the following books are on the longlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).  Note the  inclusion of I am China / Xiaolu Guo, A God in Every Stone / Kamila Shamsie, The Bees, by Laline Paull, and The Life of a Banana / PP Wong.  It will be interesting to see if any of them make the shortlist...

Rachel Cusk: Outline
Lissa Evans: Crooked Heart
Patricia Ferguson: Aren’t We Sisters?
Xiaolu Guo: I Am China
Samantha Harvey: Dear Thief
Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing
Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven
Grace McCleen: The Offering
Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star
Heather O’Neil: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night
Laline Paull: The Bees
Marie Phillips: The Table of Less Valued Knights
Rachel Seiffert: The Walk Home
Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone
Ali Smith: How to be Both
Sara Taylor: The Shore
Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread
Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests
Jemma Wayne: After Before
PP Wong: The Life of a Banana

Quick Notice: Anatomy of Life by Devdan Chaudhuri

Anatomy of Life follows the life of an unnamed poet from the age of 16 to 25, as he negotiates contemporary urban India. The poet has a quest to understand the human self, and he makes many surprising and illuminating discoveries along the way.

Anatomy of Life is organised in six thematic chapters: Seasons; Myriad Void; Circles and Spheres; Centre and Periphery; Balance; The Wheel.  The chapters gradually draw these various themes together to reveal an invisible structure of life, one common to all humanity.