“It can be difficult to talk about Uzbek without soaring into Orientalist flights. ‘O warbling beauty of the steppe!’ I started to write, like a 19th-century lady traveler.” Our own Lydia Kiesling is in the New York Times writing about studying Uzbek and speaking Turkish.
The Portable Story Series is accepting submissions to their inaugural contest, judged by Year in Reading alumna Kate Christensen. The theme is hunger, the genre is fiction, the word count is 2000-4000 words, and the deadline is March 28, 2016. The contest benefits three charitable organizations.
This week in the New Yorker Jane Hu analyzes the "dispassionate first-person narrators" prominent in works by English-speaking Asian authors and questions whether that makes it easier to identify with the narrator. She uses Chemistry by NBA 5 under 35 honoree Weike Wang as an example along with other recent works. "Against this tradition, there is, perhaps, another emerging, of Asian-Anglophone writers who both play with and thus begin to undo these tropes of Asian impersonality. The novels by Ishiguro, Park, Lin, and Wang all feature first-person narrators who keep their distance—actively denying readers direct interior access. This is true, it’s important to note, even when the characters they write are not themselves Asian."
Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon founded India’s first feminist publishing house, Kali For Women, in 1984. In 2003, they parted ways to start their own projects: Menon began Women Unlimited; Butalia founded Zubaan Books. Now, in a compressed and edited interview for Mint, Butalia discusses some of the challenges she faces in India’s publishing ecosystem, and also notes, “in my 40 years in publishing, things have never felt as exciting as they are now. It truly seems there are infinite possibilities.”