Thursday 15 June 2017

A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman wins Man Booker International Prize

A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman has won the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. The novel was translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen. Celebrating global fiction in translation, the Man Booker International Prize awards both the winning author and translator GBP25,000. (USD32,000 approx).

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Indonesian emerging voices at Ubud

The Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati, a not-for-profit organisation with the mission of improving the lives of young Indonesians through literature and the arts, has announced that after after a two-year hiatus their emerging voices programme, a free, four-day event celebrating young writers, filmmakers and artists from across the Indonesian archipelago, will again be held alongside the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which this year runs from 26-29 October.

Friday 9 June 2017

500 words from John Holliday

500 words from is an occasional column in which authors talk about their newly-published books.

John Holliday, an Australia-based, British-born writer, has just published Mission to China: How an Englishman Brought the West to the Orient. The book, part adventure story and part social history, examines the life of one of John’s ancestors, Walter Medhurst, a 19th century Christian missionary to Chinese communities throughout Asia, and to China itself.

John had long been aware of having an ancestor who was a famous missionary, but it was not until 2008 that he discovered an orphanage founded by this ancestor in Jakarta was still functioning. A visit to the city, and a commitment to build a library for the orphanage, prompted him to undertake research into Walter Medhurst’s life, and, ultimately, to write his biography.

Asia well represented in PEN Translates awards

PEN is an international organisation which promotes literacy and free speech around the globe. English PEN runs PEN Translates, which each year awards grants to UK-based publishers to offset the cost of translating new titles into English. It  has just announced the winners for 2017.  The list includes books translated from 14 languages and 16 countries, including a Uyghur memoir, Palestinian short stories, Somali poetry, a Czech feminist novel, an anthology of Russian women literature, Belarusian essays, a Korean novel, and a Chinese graphic novel. Female authors and translators make up more than half of the award winners.

Friday 2 June 2017

New book announcement: Hong Kong on the Brink by Syd Goldsmith

In 1967, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong was rocked by a series of pro-communist riots against British colonial rule. These were so serious they threatened the colony’s existence. During the emergency, Syd Goldsmith was the American consulate general’s Hong Kong and Macau political officer – and the only white foreign service officer who spoke Cantonese. His role was to provide Washington with analysis of the unfolding drama, and to report back on the Hong Kong government’s ability to survive.  He had access to information from the CIA, a Chinese double agent, and Hong Kong Government sources.

Hong Kong on the Brink: An American diplomat relives 1967’s darkest days is his account of a simmering city, plagued by violence and strikes whilst also dealing with a crippled transport network, water-rationing, takeover threats from Beijing, and roadside bombs.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Lion City lit: European Union Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Our regular column Lion City Lit explores in-depth what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. 
Here Lucía Damacela talks with the organisers of the City's first European Union Writers Festival, which took place on May 25 and 26, at Lasalle College. An initiative of Dr. Darryl Whetter, programme leader of Lasalle's MA programme in creative writing, and Deepika Shetty, press and information officer for the European Union delegation to Singapore, the event was sponsored by the European Union, in partnership with Lasalle College.

Tuesday 30 May 2017

Lion City Lit notes: update to William Farquhar and Singapore book launch

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore – the Lion City. Lucía Damacela keeps an eye on local listings. 

The book William Farquhar and Singapore, by Nadia H. Wright, which will be launched in Penang, as we announced in a previous note, is also being launched in Singapore. Here are the details:

Date: May 30, 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: The Salon, National Museum of Singapore, 93 Stamford Road, Singapore 178897
Transport: Bras Basah and Dhobi Ghaut MRT.
Price: Free admission - RSVP at

Opening address by Professor Tommy Koh, National University of Singapore. Talk by the author, Nadia H. Wright. Official launch by Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore.