Sunday, February 26, 2012

What can writers do in times of crisis?

 At a panel discussion hosted by the Southeast Europe Association and the Traduki-Network in Munich last weekend,  popular Greek author and "Faust" translator  Petros Markaris , Hungarian author György Dalos and Albanian author Lindita Arapi have their take on writers' stance in times of crisis.
Only two attitudes survive till the end of the battle: "leftist cynicism" and "rightist hypocrisy." Hate leaves little room for constructive criticism and is only exacerbated by political divisions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Teju Kole interview

"The biggest source of novels is other novels. But, occasionally, I will doff my cap to the other stuff I assume my reader has read. In Open City there is a passage that any reader of Joyce will immediately recognise as a very close, formal analogue of one the stories in Dubliners. That is because a novel is also a literary conversation."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

José Edmundo Paz-Soldán interview

"The main character is based on a real serial killer who was an undocumented alien.  "[Interviewers] sometimes will ask you about your moral responsibility as a writer; 'you should create positive, uplifting images of Latinos or Hispanics.' That's not the way I see it. Part of the responsibility to tell the whole story is to show the negative side as well."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A tribute to Adonis

A major tribute at the Mosaic Rooms ( 03 February to 30 March) to the great Syrian poet Adonis, including an exhibition of stunning drawings and a series of literary events. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Amitav Ghosh on book festival tamasha

" Public life in India is now a whirling continuum that seamlessly unites cricket, politics and Bollywood. Each domain leaks into the other and the major figures are all closely linked. It is no coincidence that many of these elements are also much in evidence at book festivals. The intention evidently is to make the book world another link in the tightly joined whirligig of Cripollywood. It is easy to see the attractions of this, especially for writers who are striving to bring their work to public notice. But there is a price to pay: we need to remind ourselves that Bollywood movies are routinely re-edited to accommodate protests of various kinds. Recent incidents in Jaipur and in Kolkata, where Taslima Nasreen was also prevented from participating in a festival, suggest that Indian publishing will have to adapt its practices to those of the film industry if it is to pitch its tent beside the three-ring circus of the tamasha culture."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shame! A Jaipur rerun in Kolkata Book Fair!

The ongoing Kolkata Book Fair witnessed Taslima Nasreen getting the same treatment from the State as Salman Rushdie in Jaipur Lit Fest. The organisers of the book fair - claimed to be the largest in Asia - promptly cancelled the scheduled launch of Taslima's autobiography 'Nirbasan"(Exiled) as some fundamentalist groups protested against its release. According to the local media, there was a verbal directive to the organisers from Kolkata police.

But Kolkata being Kolkata, the lovers of literature assembled in large numbers before the office of the organisers, and brought out a procession, with Taslima's book in their hands, shouting protest against their decision. And before the police could take any effective action, the publisher of the book, People's Book Society, had the book launched by Nabarun Bhattacharya, the eminent writer. Sujata Bhadra, well-known human rights activist and other intellectuals were present on the occasion.

Personally I see it as the triumph of literature and free expression over vote-bank politics, but I'm really concerned that the bigots are increasingly invading our cultural space with support from the State.

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