Web Exclusives - Interviews

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

As we go to press, Anuradha Roy’s All the Lives We Never Lived has just been announced winner of the 2018 TATA Book of the Year Award for fiction. One of India’s most successful and prominent writers, she is no stranger to literary acclaim. An Atlas of Impossible Longingand The Folded Earth won prizes and praise internationally, and in 2015 she was longlisted for the Booker with Sleeping on Jupiter,which went on to win the 2016 DSC South Asian Prize.

Recently, the Asia Literary Review’s Anurima Roy (no relation) caught up with Anuradha Roy to talk about her experiences as a publisher and writer, her sources of inspiration, her previous books, and about how she came to write All the Lives We Never Lived.

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

Myanmar has been very much in the news throughout 2017. Conflicting and contradictory narratives vie for authority, and the result is a good deal of confusion about an already poorly understood country. Lucas Stewart has been working for years in Myanmar with the British Council and with Burmese writers and translators. Through examining the work both of established authors and of little-heard writers from the country’s ethnic regions, the aim was to reveal some of the country’s complexities of culture and identity. This resulted in an anthology of stories, many written in scripts that, until recently, were outlawed. The voices presented are authentic and universally human. We spoke to him about the project that produced Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds.

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

Margrét Helgadóttir is editor of the Fox Spirit Book of Monsters, a seven-volume series with titles published annually from 2014–2020. The first three volumes cover European, African and Asian monsters. In 2016, African Monsters was shortlisted for the British Fantasy Awards.

In this issue of the Asia Literary Review we feature two stories from Asian Monsters: Grass Cradle, Glass Lullaby by Isabel Yap and Blood Like Water by Eve Shi.

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

'I’m more interested in the North Korean people as individuals, frankly, and the identities we impose on them are the deeper concerns of How I Became a North Korean. Non-fiction would have required many betrayals or revelations that people might regret later, and though I’m aware that the memoir is a huge market, I’m far more interested in protecting the identities of real people.'

More...

Xu Xi © Leslie Lausch
ALR Staff | Interviews

 

When Nixon met Mao, it was a bit like when Harry met Sally – the beginning of a long relationship that would prove to be fraught with tension and arguments, but also involved cooperation, mutually beneficial trades and cultural, artistic and personal interaction. It was also the beginning of a challenge to US supremacy as the world’s superpower, because China’s subsequent economic rise proved so startling and fast, much faster than the world expected.

More...

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

The Asia Literary Review talks to Justin Hill, author of the companion novel to the new film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny - due for release in February 2016.

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

Xue Xinran’s work is remarkable, not least for the way it has retrieved the lost narratives of Chinese people – and particularly women – in the twentieth century. Her latest book, Buy Me the Sky, relates the true stories of children born under China’s one-child policy which over three generations has had a profound effect on the nation. The book reveals the policy’s unintended price to China - broken continuities of parenthood, family, community and tradition.

Xinran, herself a product of the policy and mother of an only child, recently spoke to the ALR. She talked of her passion to articulate the experience of her people and in so doing, she revealed both the steely determination of a committed journalist and a mother’s indomitable spirit. 

Raelee Chapman | Interviews

 

Amanda Lee Koe’s Ministry of Moral Panic is the winner in the English Fiction section of the Singapore Literature Prize 2014. This interview was published just before the awards were announced. Amanda is Fiction editor of Esquire (Singapore) and is the editor of creative non-fiction web platform POSKOD.SG. The winners of the Singapore Literature Prize were announced on 4 November 2014.

Raelee Chapman | Interviews

 

2 November 2014

The Asia Literary Review spoke to Claire Tham, whose novel The Inlet, published by local Singaporean publishing house Ethos Books, is a contender in this year’s Fiction (English) category. Claire is no stranger to literary prizes. At the age of seventeen she won two prizes in the 1984 National Short Story Writing Competition. ‘Cash-based awards are an obvious attraction!’ says Claire. With the prize money earned when she was seventeen, she was able to buy her first pair of contact lenses.

Interview: Wang Xiaofang
Shu-Ching Jean Chen | Interviews

 

Corruption is widely acknowledged as a serious, and endemic issue in China. Yet only occasionally – when big cases such as that of former Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, or news of the extraordinary wealth accumulated by the family of Premier Wen Jiabao, come to light – is the public provided with a glimpse into the rarefied world of corrupt, elite officials.

Interview: Jeet Thayil
Martin Alexander | Interviews

 

Jeet Thayil is a performance poet, songwriter and guitarist. He has published four collections of poetry and edited The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (2008).

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

Shin Kyung-sook is one of South Korea’s most popular writers of con­temporary fiction. She has published seven novels and numerous short stories, and has won several literary prizes in her own country. She broke new ground for Korean writers in March 2012 when the English translation of her novel, Please Look after Mother, won the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize. The book had already sold close to two million copies in Korean. 

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

He spent two years in the early 1980s living in Egypt, a period he describes in his non-fiction book, In an Antique Land. While there, he read Gabriel García Márquez and Boswell’s Life of Johnson; he would say later that his time in Egypt, ‘was absolutely the fundamentals of my education as a writer’.

     He can remember the minute his life changed with news of his first novel’s acceptance. 

     ‘What happened?’ 

     ‘A telegram!’ he says, and suddenly giggles with pleasure into his napkin. ‘I’ll never forget that day; I had clouds under my feet. That moment you never relive – I always tell that to young writers. These moments of affirmation have an outsize impact on your life and morale. And, later in life, it’s the writing itself that has that impact.’

James Kidd | Interviews

 

'You cultivate the habit of the open mind. You must be aware that anything could fly in the window at any time. So you keep the window open rather than allow an idea to brain itself on the glass.'

– David Mitchell on writing

ALR Staff | Interviews

 

A PROLIFIC writer of history, reportage and cultural commentary on Asia and Europe, Ian Buruma is renowned for his quiet force and levelheaded analysis in a time of clamorous sound-bite punditry.

James Kidd | Interviews

 

HAILED AS A SATIRICAL PORTRAIT of greed, corruption, ambition and violence in modern India, Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, awarded the 2008 Man Booker Prize for fiction, breaks new ground in the literature of the subcontinent and in its approach to giving voice to the voiceless.

James Kidd | Interviews
 

Published in the summer of 2008, Ma Jian’s Beijing Coma has been hailed as one of the most important novels of recent years. Boyd Tonkin, literary editor of The Independent, spoke for many when he called it ‘truly extraordinary’ and a book that ‘in the future will be seen as a defining work of fiction of the early 21st century’.

Such praise is unlikely to be widespread in Ma’s homeland of China where Beijing Coma has not received an official publication. As an epic account of the origins, events and aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989, this is hardly surprising. While bootleg copies of the book are sure to make their way across the borders, an official release in the Mainland is unlikely in the near future.

James Kidd | Interviews

 

'When people use the phrase "magic realism", all they hear is magic – they don’t hear realism. I don’t particularly like the phrase because I think it only applies to those South American writers of that particular time. Magic realism, fabulism, surrealism – they are all essentially the same thing, just in different places at different times. It is quite simply breaking the rules of naturalism.' - Salman Rushdie