Archive for March, 2010

Launch of Asian writers’ group in Britain

Vaani, a vibrant writer’s group that supports Asian writers while based in Ilford, England will hold its official launch on April 30, in conjunction with the London borough of Redbridge Book & Media Festival (April 8-May 17, 2010). There promises to be a lively discussion among established novelists (please click on its website for more information).  Paid membership is also being accepted where budding asian women writers will receive numerous creative opportunities in which to showcase their talents.

More on the very exciting Festival.  Think Fatima Bhutto and Urdu Poetry.


Here is the longlist just out, for Australia’s prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award 2010.

Peter Carey’s on it.

Longlist for Miles Franklin Literary Award 2010

2010 Orange Prize Longlist

Dear Readers,

Here is the 2010 Orange Prize Longlist for Fiction in full, courtesy of the Bookseller, UK. I believe the news is just out. Some featured novelists are my favourites and I currently own many of the titles:

2010 Orange Prize Longlist for Fiction

You may also like to read this  highly interesting perspective by one of its judges Daisy Goodwin, in the Guardian UK today, who talks about how the  many misery stories highlighting gloom and doom among women novelists almost drove her to despair.  Personally, I agree with Goodwin if some status updates I read by quite a few pessimistic women writers on Facebook are anything to go by.

We forget that we make choices about everyday realities. I have swallowed so many common whinges and lamentations  in the last months I joined the social networking site, that I’ve long lost count.

Malaysia’s Tash Aw wins M’s Residency in Shanghai – 2010

Famed Malaysian novelist and London-based Tash Aw has won a 3-month China residency, in this case, Shanghai, for the writing of his third novel, also based on the same location.

The win  comes courtesy of the M Literary Residency founded in 2009 by Michelle Garnaut of the M Residency Group, the Shanghai International Literary Festival and writer Pankaj Mishra, with which to foster deeper intellectual, cultural and artistic links with China and also to better pursue its literary heritage. Meanwhile, Colie Hoffman, an American poet wins the India residency where she will work on a full-length book of poetry in Pondicherry.

Thanks to Asia Writes for the heads-up who also kindly reminds readers that applications for the 2011 Residency opens  on May 11.

Further Reading:

Shanghai International Literary Festival 2010
The Harmony Silk Factory
Map of the Invisible World

Diary Jottings

…. and it dawns on me these days with marked frequency; not at all a boast but a thought clothed with simple fervour that I could go anywhere or do anything or write anything I desired for anyone or anything or anywhere. Really, who was there to stop me… And I could start again. Be startled, happy or surprised.

Saying which I would have done something  right for my solitary soul in having fled traditional encounters which shadowed Asian women in communal settings, willing for so long in earlier harder years… my artistic self only to escape into a realm with hidden wings. It is finally now on turning back to catch my shadow in a rushed hour that I witness my palaced hedonism carved from a street-wise architecture, given me by the Gods as a survival kit.

Now how about and why ever not if  I could playact having never before turned the pages to a book, climb a mountain, as if I had never once tasted the exhilaration of a slippery slide, watch a film while forgetting its end and cradle a melody as if violin strings had only just stumbled upon my serenading heart. And if now while self-contained and  devoid of negativity, I treated  my days as a virginal game, trusting its fate upon the roll of a restless, playful dice, what doubly fun.  And so I would once more plunge into the rest of the watchful year with a willing, breathless heart.

Diary Jottings

It’s so good to be back in Dublin. My apartment is presently a  haven of self-proclaimed treasures. It fields a growing collection of world cinema, music and books.  I have invested in a fair bit, in the last two years.  It’s also lovely to be back with Des.  When the plane stopped on the runway at dawn and passengers had to troop into the airport with faint amusement, the sharp nip appeared refreshing. The  singular thing that weighed me down in the Far East was the heavy humidity.  Even raindrops felt overly warm.  Of course, there is air-conditioning everywhere but a 5-minute run outdoors would often leave me drained.  The sunshine stopped being fun. That was the biggest drawback. I am no good with overbearing heat. East Africa believe it or not is far cooler.

I can attest as a Malaysian that  my childhood was never painfully humid. There were always breezes.  However, vast amounts of deforestation that would occur in subsequent years changed  the direction of monsoon winds forever.  Also,  global warming dangers have not helped.

I received an email from my mountain guide today, eager that I return to my Kilimanjaro climb soon. This is the third time on a customised route and I hope to reach the summit.  It looks like the next several weeks have already been paved in gold for me.  For the moment,  I can return to writing about books and literature at my own pace and indulge in some creative works of my own.  My feet are not yet warm from an ever-comforting Irish soil.

Diary Jottings

Will start this blog again in a couple of days after I have flown to Dublin and had a good rest in my apartment. I am on the move at the moment and I suppose, desire a more thoughtful and introspective time while writing about my favourite books and other subjects, surrounded by beloved familiar things.
Would make a nice change since I have been travelling intensely from the start of December last year with only a short respite in Dublin so far. My next destination after Ireland is the African Continent.