Thursday, November 21, 2013

So why is dystopian fiction so fascinating?

"’s entirely possible that dystopian fiction reflect the fears of the times—and given today’s world of state-sponsored surveillance, religious fundamentalism, economic disparity, and overpopulation (I’m just flicking through the headlines, here), perhaps it’s not surprising this was a popular theme.

So in some ways, dystopias aren’t too much of an imaginative stretch. If you’re trying to predict the future, your best bet would have to be on things going wrong. You could even argue we’re living in a dystopia right now. Maybe we’re always living in a dystopia, or at least degrees of dystopia—the failure of a past’s promising, even utopian, vision—which is why they seem endlessly relevant, in all their scope and variety. We’re simply steeling ourselves for the shape of things to come."

Read Litro#130: Dystopia.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doris Lessing passes away at 94

 Doris Lessing, the 2007 Nobel Laureate, passed away on Sunday at her home in London at the age of 94.

“the epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gerald Murnane interview

When you start to put down words your own personality becomes fractured. You’re never quite sure what part of you the words are coming from. It’s a fairly trite statement, but you begin to question the reliability of memory or even experience itself. What emerges from the writing is something that could never have been predicted. This is the magic, that writing is unpredictable. It leads to discovery, and that is a word that is overused and has a sort of twee sound, and it’s not a word I feel comfortable with. But you learn from writing things you couldn’t possibly learn by any other means.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NSA Surveillance drives US Writers to self-censor: PEN Survey

Freedom of expression is under threat and, as a result, freedom of information is imperiled as well. Fully 85% of writers responding to PEN’s survey are worried about government surveillance of Americans, and 73% of writers have never been as worried about privacy rights and freedom of the press as they are today. PEN has long argued that surveillance poses risks to creativity and free expression. The results of this survey—the beginning of a broader investigation into the harms of surveillance—substantiate PEN’s concerns: writers are not only overwhelmingly worried about government surveillance, but are engaging in self-censorship as a result.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Hindu Prize for Best Fiction 2013 shortlist

The Illicit Happiness of Other People — Manu Joseph
Foreign — Sonora Jha
Roll of Honour — Amandeep Sandhu
Vanity Bagh — Anees Salim
Another Man's Wife and Other Stories — Manjul Bajaj

Friday, November 8, 2013

The way publishing is these days...

Mircea Cărtărescu interview

I think that every writer should do something completely out of the box in his or her life. I wanted to write a very big book—over one thousand pages—but I didn’t know what shape it would take. I just felt it was time for me to write such a book. When I started to write I had nothing in my mind except the word orbitor, which in English means ‘blinding.’ Orbitor is a special word in Romanian, it signifies both a dazzling light and a mystical light, and I wanted to do something mystical, something without any similarity to any other book in the world. At the same time, orbitor is a very beautiful word, it is a sort of palindrome, a round word, like a serpent biting its tale. Anyway, I started to write by hand in notebooks. I knew nothing about this book—I had no plot, no characters, no ideas. I just used my childhood memories. I went on inventing freely like this until the middle of the book. I never rewrote anything. What you see before you is the first draft. I regret now that I didn’t bring the manuscript with me to show people. It’s hard to believe. But it’s just how I work. I don’t research and I don’t rewrite anything.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

On this day, 1913, Albert Camus was born in French Algeria

Albert Camus, gagnant de prix Nobel, portrait en buste, posé au bureau, faisant face à gauche, cigarette de tabagisme.jpg
"Every time somebody speaks of my honesty, there is someone who quivers inside me."

New literary culture in America

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fiction and non-fiction

I tend not to differentiate between fiction and nonfiction. It's one of my bugaboos. Nearly everything we do is imagined anyway. Memory is a sort of imagination.
-- Colum McCann

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mia Couto wins The "American Nobel Prize"

António Emílio Leite Couto (Mia Couto) has just been announced as the 2014 Neustadt Prize Laureate. He is the first writer from Mozambique ever to be nominated or awarded the $50,000 prize.

Congrats, Couto!

"I find myself constantly inventing different reasons for my activity as a writer. Perhaps there is no real explanation because writing escapes that rationality. I think I need to feel that I am part of something that can't be contained in what we normally call reality. I write to escape from this invisible form of slavery, this submission to what we call reason and reality."

Hasan Azizul Haque interview

"I’ve said it many times that at least six or seven of those who have contributed to what is Bangla literature today are worthy of winning the Nobel prize in literature. And if you take the entire Bangla as a whole, the east as well as the west, then another six or seven should be added to the list. It is our misfortune that Manik Bandyopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay were not awarded this prize. Lack of good translation is the reason behind this."

"Nobody is interested in translating Bangla literature. Only half of Pother Panchali was translated, then no one simply cared to do so. Putul Nacher Itikotha was also translated but it too failed to attract any attention from the outside world. To speak to you frankly, I myself haven’t seen it. I firmly believe that it is essential for our literature to be recognized worldwide because it has all the potentials that a national literature should have. I also believe that Bangla is not only one of the main languages of the world, it is also one of the best. But, unfortunately, since we could not establish colonies all over the world to make people from other countries dependent on us, nobody cares about our literature"

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