Web Exclusives - Interviews

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

 

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.

 

ALR Staff | 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.

 

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.'

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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.

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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).