非漂 [Fēi Piāo] February 2017 Newsbriefs

Potpourri

Welcome to LagosFive greatest Old African novels to read before you die . . . cheveux naturels in Sénégal, Men may say they don’t like it and of course they hate the cost but they are attracted to the look . . . resident Chinese in Africa by the numbers . . . interview with Abubakar Adam Ibrahim: Northern Nigeria’s ‘literary provocateur’ . . . Chibundu Onuzo’s novel Welcome to Lagos reviewed at The Guardian . . .

Upcoming Literary Events

Time of the Writer’s Festival

Date: March 13-18th, 2017

Theme: The Past Paving the Future

Host: Centre for Creative Arts, U of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Participants include: Fred Khumalo, author of Bitches’ Brew; Nomsa Mdlalose, folklorist and author of children’s books published in isiZulu, Setswana, Afrikaans and English; Lidudumalingani Mqombothi, awarded 2016 Caine Prize for African writing for his short story Memories We Lost;  Nakanjani G. Sibiya is a short story writer, novelist, poet and playwright who has authored/edited 50+ isiZulu literary works across genres, including his debut novel, Kuxolelwa abanjani?

Paper, Airwaves, Screen: From Text to Audience in African Popular Culture

Date: 12-13th July 2017

Venue: University of Bristol, UK

Keynote speakers: Lydie Moudileno (U of Pennsylvania), Tsitsi Jaji (Duke U)

Recent artworks, including Bili Bidjocka’s Infinite Writing and François-Xavier Gbré’s National Printworks, evoke the fragile material status of writing and reading. They also remind us of the power that each can yield. In light of development agendas pertaining to literacy (e.g. UN Sustainable Development Goal 4), this conference will attend to the cultures of reading and reception that emerge in popular culture on the African continent.

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] January 2017 Newsbriefs

Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built is the business book that most inspired Nigeria’sthe-house-that-jack-ma-built
Iyinoluwa ‘E’ Aboyeji — co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela — last year: There are so many parallels between the intrigues of startups in China and our nascent African Startup ecosystem, he says.

Evan Mwangi reviews John Mugane’s The Story of Swahili and Alamin Mazrui’s The Cultural Politics of Translation: East Africa in Global Contexts, and wonders: Is it time for a slave rebellion in Swahili literary studies?

Etisalat Nigeria has announced the shortlist for the 2016 edition of its pan-African literary prize, the Etisalat Prize for Literature: The Seed Thief (Jacqui L’Ange, South Africa); And After Many Days (Jowhor Ile, Nigeria); Mr & Mrs Doctor (Julie Iromuanya, Nigeria).

Pwaangulongii Dauod tells us How to Write about Northern Nigeria: Your main character should be an imam, or a beggar, or farmer, or a herdsman. Or, all of it. But must be an illiterate and a Muslim who is not interested in science and technology.

 
jamal-by-alkibar-jrThe attempt by terrorists to impose Sharia law upon northern Mali resulted in the mass exodus of many musicians who had made the region famous. But music has returned to the north, and this is a review of Jamal, the first album by the new Malian group Alkibar Jr. that hails from Niafunké. Elements of Songhai, Peuhl and Tamasheq rock/blues figure on the disc.

 

African Theatre 15: China, India & the Eastern World: Newly available volume focuses on China, and features topics such as: How the PRC is  using “soft power” in its extensive engagement with South Africa, and, through its support for theatre festivals, with Lusophone countries in Africa; Construction of theatres, opera houses and cultural facilities as part of its foreign aid programs in Algeria, Cameroon, Mauritius, Ghana and Senegal; and what China is “importing” culturally from Africa.

奇玛曼达·恩戈兹·阿迪契小说 《紫木槿》 出版了:Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the high-profile female Nigerian novelist who is spending much of紫木槿 her time in the US, now has at least three of her works out in Chinese. The
latest, published in January 2017, is her novel, Purple Hibiscus. The other two are The Thing Around Your Neck (绕颈之物) and Half a Yellow Sun (半轮黄日).

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] November 2016 Newsbriefs

guangzhous-little-africaHard times for Africans in Guangzhou amid crackdown. Complains one resident of ‘Little Africa’: It seems they want the Africans to leave this area . . . every month now, I have to go to the police station [to register], every month. I feel like I’m in jail.

The judging panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature has announced the 2016 longlist of nine books: Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya; The Yearning by Mohale Mashigo; Piggy Boy’s Blues by Nakhane Toure; The Peculiars by Jen Thorpe; Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John; And After Many Days by Jowhor Ile; Dub Steps by Andrew Miller; The Seed Thief by Jacqui L’Ange, and Nwezelenga: The Star Child by Unathi Magubeni. The winner will be announced in March 2017 and will receive £15,000.

Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with a song-of-lawinogrand celebration at Makerere University early this year, is being translated into Sheng. Sheng is a Swahili and English-based creole that has spread across social classes and geographically to neighbouring Tanzania and Uganda. Many youth living in the Nairobi use the argot as their everyday mode of communication rather than Swahili or English.

 

Ethiopia’s internet is among the least free in the world, ranking ahead of only Iran, Syria, and China out of the 65 countries surveyed.

蒙古帝国为什么没有统治非洲?

Attention: Ce taxi contient un livre. Taxis in Tunis are taking part in an online literary initiative launched by online book-sharing platform YallaRead (“Come on, Read” in Arabic).

Chinese Literature in Africa: Meaningful or Simply Ceremonial? 

Interview with Louise Umutoni, founder and director of Rwanda’s Huza Press. Winner of The Huza Prize for Fiction — short story submissions accepted through end November — will be awarded US$1,000.

Magunga.com: Fledgling Online Pan-African Bookstore

非漂 [Fēi Piāo] October 2016 Newsbriefs

season-of-crimson-blossoms欢迎访问关注非漂 [Fēi Piāo]新设的微博,liberation 时代

Season of Crimson Blossoms, a novel by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, wins the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, worth US$100,000. Writes author and critic Toni Kan: I was fascinated because I grew up in the North, first Kano and then Jos, but I was discovering something new about the North in Abubakar’s book. There was lust and passion but above all a clear-eyed exposition of what it means to be human and a woman and middle aged in Northern Nigeria riven not just by religion but by religious crises.

在 《非洲法语文学在国内的翻译》里,汪琳系统地分析 70 年代至今用中文出版的非洲文学作品。

Ethiopia opens its Chinese-built railway linking Addis Ababa to the Red Sea port city of Djibouti. It’s the first step in a 5,000km-long network of rail which Ethiopia hopes to build by 2020, connecting it to Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.

Black Eunuchs of the Ottoman Empire, reviewed by William Armstrong. There was plenty of demand for eunuchs, and a steady supply was guaranteed by Arab horsemen raiding Africa. Most died during the castration process, driving up the price of those who survived. At their peak there may have been as many as 800 court eunuchs organized in a hierarchical, well-defined structure.

采访:恩古吉·瓦·提安哥,肯尼亚作家。他最早提倡用母语写作并以身作则。

Literary Hub proposes 25 New Books by African Writers You Should Read.

Almost two-thirds of 54,000 Africans polled consider China’s influence on Africa ispositive-african-views-of-china “somewhat” or “very positive”, according to AfroBarometer’s latest poll (free PDF summary here). At 24 percent, China is second only to the US (30 percent) as the most popular model for national development. China’s positive image is primarily based on its investments in infrastructure and low-cost of its products, while appreciation of the Chinese people, culture and language are negligible factors (2 percent).

The first online Kiswahili-Chinese Dictionary, Siwaxili, now features 14,000 entries. 想了解 “新编斯汉辞典”(在线版)背后的故事,请点这里

Authors attending South Africa’s Abantu Literary Festival in Soweto December 6-10, 2016.

Caixin on Guangzhou’s Chocolate City — Souring Business, Xenophobia Makes China Dream Lose Its Appeal for African Migrants

September 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

Journalists in prison: Turkey "on track to surpass China" in 2016 says Financial Times

Journalists in prison: Turkey “on track to surpass China” in 2016 says Financial Times

Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, was arrested in late 2015 for publicizing the discovery of a covert arms shipment by the Turkish secret service to radical Islamist organisations fighting government forces in Syria. He was charged with espionage, aiding a terrorist organization, trying to topple the government and revealing state secrets. The newly launched We Are Arrested is Dündar’s account of the discovery, the weighing up of the pros and cons of publishing the news, and the events that unfolded after the decision.

July-August 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

As the Red Carnation FadesCoup d’état Fiction: A Curiously Turkish Genre offers suggested reading for books that capture the Zeitgeist during the years that followed modern Turkey’s not infrequent periods of dictatorship.

The winners of the Junma Literary Awards for Ethnic Minority Writers (骏马奖) — handed out every three years since 1981 — were announced in early August. The competition is designed to promote writing by authors who belong to one of China’s non-Han peoples. A roundtable of five literary figures including Liu Daxian (刘大先), the editor of the quarterly民族文学研究 , discuss the winning titles in聚焦时代生活 彰显民族特色.  One trend: Emerging female writers such as Jin Malian (Hui), Xiao Mei (Naxi) and Tao Liqun (Zhuang). Tao wrote 母亲的岛 (陶丽群著) about the escape of a trafficked village woman.

《保安语汉语词典》, a Bonan-Chinese dictionary, has just been published by the authorities in Gansu’s Linxia City. The Bonan people (aka, Bao’an 保安族), now numbering around just 20,000, “are believed to be descended from Muslim Mongol soldiers stationed in Qinghai during the Yuan or Ming dynasties,” according to Wikipedia, and speak a Mongolic tongue. Since the language does not have its own script, the dictionary represents the sounds of Bonan in IPA and a proposed set of letters (保安语使用记音符号字母表 (方案)). In 2001, the city also published 《东乡语汉语词典》, a Dongxiang-Chinese dictionary. The Dongxiang speak a Mongolic language and number over 600,000, and are concentrated in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, but also live in Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang.

 

Chinese version of The Time Regulation InstituteAt long last, what is arguably Turkey’s most classic novel of the 20th century, Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü, known in English as The Time Regulation Institute, has been published in Chinese. Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s satirical look at the effects of a social engineering project gone awry — as the Turkish authorities desperately instructed the public to ape the West while jettisoning its Ottoman culture — has been rendered by a German-based Chinese translator, Tan Lin, as 时间调校研究所 (谭琳译). Regrettably, the Chinese is based upon the German translation of Tanpınar’s original; indeed, there is a dearth of well trained Turkish-Chinese literary translators, though several of Orhan Pamuk’s novels have been translated from the Turkish for Horizon Books by the likes of Shen Zhixing (我的名字叫红,沈志兴译) and Chen Zhubing (我脑袋里的怪东西, 陈竹冰译).  时间调校研究所 joins a series of five Chinese renditions of contemporary Turkish novels (土耳其当代文学丛书) already published by Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing. They include novels by some of Turkey’s best known living writers, such as  Oya Baydar and Mario Levi (whose  Istanbul Was a Fairy Tale was also translated direct from the Turkish as 伊斯坦布尔是一个童话). And more good news: An additional four Chinese translations of Turkish novels will join the series in late 2016 or early 2017, according to a spokesperson for the publishing house. They are: The Dervish Gate by Ahmet Ümit; Hakan Günday’s The Few; Hakan Bıçakçı’s Dark Room, and Secrets Dreamed in Istanbul by Nermin Yıldırım. [Read more…]

Elif Şafak on Writing in Today’s Turkey

[Hürriyet Daily News] Would it have been difficult for you to write this book if you were living permanently in Turkey?

[Elif Şafak] Words are heavy in Turkey. Every journalist, every writer, every poet, every academic knows this. Because of words we can be sued overnight, put on trial, demonized in newspapers, attacked on social media. It’s becoming more and more difficult to write and speak critically in Turkey. There is a climate of intimidation and paranoia. Whoever says anything critical is instantly labelled a “betrayer” or “a pawn of Western powers.” There is also widespread self-censorship, which is a difficult subject. How many people among the literati would acknowledge self-censorship? But of course it exists. 

Turkey’s Elif Şafak speaking about her new novel, Haava’nın Üç Kızı. See Elif Şafak takes a swing at Turkish bourgeoisie for the full interview.

April 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

As of May 1, 2016, the controversial, so-called Biànmín Liánxì Kǎ (便民联系卡) will cease to be in use in Xinjiang, according to the authorities (不再使用).  The card (pictured here), which lists contact info for the card-holder’s hometown authorities, was supposedly intended to facilitate a variety of services when the Xinjiang resident was away from his or her official domicile, e.g., as a reliable ID when checking into a hotel. In practice, it took on the functions of something closer to an internal passport; without it, non-Han citizens in particular found it increasingly difficult to travel between cities (there are now frequent checkpoints), and there is anecdotal evidence that businesspeople could not obtain small loans without it. The news item states that the card — issued only with the approval of local authorities, and mocked by some Uyghur as “Good Citizen ID” (良民证) — came into circulation in May 2014.

An Evenki love story that spans the 1900-1950 period will launch at the end of April, according to an item on the China Writers Association web site that I’ve summarized in Reclaiming Evenki Narrative. Entitled 驯鹿角上的色带 (lit., colored ribbon on the reindeer’s horns), the novel is written by a 74-year-old woman named Balajieyi (芭拉杰依) whose mother was the Aoluguya Evenki’s last practicing shaman. [Read more…]

Reclaiming the Evenki Narrative: Last Shaman’s Daughter Tells her People’s 20th-century Tale

There are only 30,000 or so Evenki (鄂温克族) on the Chinese side of the Sino-Russian border. But this Tungusic-speaking, reindeer-herding people — particularly the group known as the Aoluguya Evenki — has been the subject of several award-winning documentaries and even a novel that won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2008. According to an article on the China Writer’s Association web site (最后一位萨满之女), a new novel featuring the Evenki will launch end April.

During 2007-14, Gu Tao (顾桃) shot five films documenting the twilight of the Evenki way of life, including Yuguo and his Mother (雨果的假期) and The Last Moose of Aoluguya (犴达罕). (For an excellent backgrounder on his works in French, click here) Chi Zijian’s novel, The Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸), is based loosely on the same tribe’s often reluctant interactions with outsiders, first with the Japanese invaders under “Manchukuo,” and then the rapacious Han loggers and Marxist cadres of post-1949 “New China,” and has been translated into English (my version), Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Japanese, and will soon be available in French.

驯鹿角上的色带But take note: Neither Gu Tao and Chi Zijian are Evenki, though the former’s mother is Manchu (according to BBC’s web site). As far I know, their works have largely been well received in China, but they are not without potential controversy. I have watched several of Gu Tao’s documentaries on a set of CDs (not sure if these are final versions shown at film festivals abroad), and at times they are disturbing, the raw footage of some hard-drinking Evenki in particular. Chi Zijian’s novel is a bold experiment in its own right, as she, a monolingual Han writer, puts herself inside the head of the female Evenki narrator and recounts the entire tale in the first person.

In both cases, I can’t help wondering how these works of art would be viewed by indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada or the US, where “reclaiming the narrative” back from one’s colonizers is nowadays considered absolutely imperative. [Read more…]

Excerpt of the Week: Zha Jianying on Ji Xianlin’s “The Cowshed”

Nearly 20 years after the appearance in China of one of the most shocking first-person narratives of the Cultural Revolution, The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (牛棚杂忆, 季羡林著), The New York Review of Books has published the book in English. Written by Ji Xianlin, the account appears with a new introduction by Zha Jianying (查建英), a writer and media critic based in New York. The following is excerpted by from NYT’s interview with Zha Jianying (Remembering the Cultural Revolution):

Q. When “The Cowshed” was published in China in 1998, it is supposed to have been widely read. Was that really the case? These days in Beijing, the Cultural Revolution is a rare topic. People shrug their shoulders and barely recall Ji or what he went through. How do you account for this?

A. Time is obviously a factor. A less obvious but more important factor is censorship. The forgetfulness hasn’t happened naturally; there is something insidious behind the phenomenon. The human desire to turn away from past trauma is perhaps universal, but the amnesia many Chinese display these days is highly selective. If you ask them about the Opium War or the Japanese invasion, for instance, they won’t shrug their shoulders; they are likely to treat you with a lecture. Those events occurred much earlier, yet are well remembered because the state constantly reminds people about China’s humiliation at foreign hands. Every Chinese kid is schooled in those history lessons. But an internal mess? That’s a totally different matter. The Cultural Revolution was instigated by Mao, supported by the entire party leadership, with millions of Chinese participating in the violence and persecution. It’s a thoroughly homemade nightmare. And the same party continues to rule today. So is it surprising that the topic has been quietly muzzled? Do you wonder why the government would like people to forget about it and why many Chinese happily obliged?