Quote of the Week: No “Whitewashing” Worries

“Cassava Republic is taking our literature to the world, as opposed to bringing literature curated by foreign publishers to the continent. This is remarkable,” he says. “I have always said that to correct the narrative about ‘Africa’, to tell our own story, we must be in charge of the production of our narratives, we must own the means of production.

“With Cassava I do not have to worry about a foreign editor ‘whitewashing’ my manuscript for an international audience until it is barely recognisable to the people where the story is set. I know that Cassava knows what I am trying to do and has the same vision for the integrity of narrative as I do.”

(Author Mr. John, cited in an interview about Cassava’s new subsidiary in London, Publisher’s Expansion Brings Nigerian Writers to World Stage)

“Hiraeth,” Speaking in Tongues, and Penang’s Georgetown Literary Festival (Nov 25-27)

georgetown-literary-festivalI will be one of four translators taking part in Speaking in Tongues: The Art and Craft of Translation on Saturday November 26 at the “Georgetown Literary Festival” in Penang. Our panel will be moderated by Gareth Richards, and fellow translators will be Pauline Fan, Jérome Bouchard and Muhammad Haji Salleh.

You can check out the full festival program here.

Intriguingly, the theme for this year’s festival is hiraeth, a Welsh term that Wikipedia defines as:

Homesickness tinged with grief or sadness over the lost or departed . . . a mix of longing, yearning, nostalgia, wistfulness . . . for the Wales of the past. 

We can assume that the Wales part of the formula won’t be the focal point, since nostalgia for British colonial rule is not a mainstream sentiment here. At least, I don’t think so.

I was pleased to find an essay by Malaysian feminist Zainah Anwar in the first few pages of the handbook, suggesting that this festival is not intended as an ivory tower event for the local intellectual elite. Trump and the Red Shirts of Malaysia both got a mention, for one. Have a read: [Read more…]

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

Quote of the Week: Better Ignorant than Misinformed

“. . . a society is best when it is fully and truly informed, otherwise an uninformed society is better than a misinformed one.”

(Dr Negeri Lencho, Ethiopia’s new Minister of Government Communication Affairs, speaking in a 2013 interview)

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

Alat Asem’s 《时间悄悄的嘴脸》: Guide to Related Links

 Alat Asem’s

Confessions of a Jade Lord

《时间悄悄的嘴脸》阿拉提·阿斯木 著

Author’s Background

阿拉提·阿斯木_百度百科

Literary Bio

Présentation: Alat Asem (en français)

Academic Papers

翟晓甜 张治安:阿拉提·阿斯木的超越与创新——读《时间悄悄的嘴脸》 

Renditions of the Novel

Chinese original: 《时间悄悄的嘴脸》 

Co-translating a Chinese Novel: An Attempt at Meaningful Cultural Dialogue by Jun Liu

Excerpt: Rechristening a High-rise (Chapter 19)

English translation underway by Bruce Humes and Jun Liu (publication date: Aug 2017)

 

Other Translations of Fiction by

Uyghur Author Alat Asem (غەيرەت ئاسىم)

Sidik Golden MobOff (斯迪克金子关机) 

The Only Real Man (最后的男人)

Interviews

Uyghur Writer Explores New Boundaries

阿拉提·阿斯木专访:地域化、全球化和双语写作

Speech

《时间悄悄的嘴脸》获颁第十一届 “骏马奖” 感言

African Themes at Frankfurt Book Fair 2016 (Oct 19-23)

Topic: From Africa to Europe: Refugees at the border in Melilla 

Date/venue: 15:00-16:00, Oct 20, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 3.1 L 25), Frankfurt Book Fair

Language: German/English

That the EU is watching its external borders is made clear by the border fence at Melilla, the Spanish city bordering on Morocco. Björn Kuhligk’s poem Die Sprache von Gibraltar (“The Language of Gibraltar”) examines the migration of people fleeing Africa. Kuhligk has done his research on the ground. He joins Flemish-Moroccan author Rachida Lamrabet, and Moroccan essayist Rachid Boutayeb to take a closer look at this bottleneck.

* * * * * *

Topic: How do artists, creative cultural professionals and academics from Africa view the future?

Date/venue: 12:00-13:00, Oct 23, Weltempfang Stage (Hall 3.1 L 25), Frankfurt Book Fair

Language:  German/English

Panel: Moderated by Sean O’Toole (art critic, co-publisher African Futures) with Lauren Beukes (South African writer), Smangele Mathebula (South African literary activist) and Angela Wachuka (head of Kwani Trust, curator of African Futures in Kenya)

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.

Altaic Storytelling Quote of the Week: Let’s simply say I’m ‘from Turkey’

In a polished English accent, she began, “In my country,” but she paused, trying to reframe her sentence more academically. “You’re right,” she said instead. After giving this sign of acquiescence, sacred to all sane Oxfordites, she continued, “In my country, they grant the highest importance to the law that the height of minarets can’t exceed that of the government’s secular monuments. For this reason, in fact, they’ve built unbelievably ugly monuments to Atatürk all over Istanbul in recent years, just so they’ll overshadow the minarets of mosques that are hundreds of years old.”

Stevenson waited for the main course to arrive before emitting a short, quiet, acceptable chuckle.

Then he asked, “You’re Turkish, correct?”

“Let’s not say I’m Turkish,” Deniz said, smiling. “Let’s simply say I’m from Turkey.”

With glazed eyes, Stevenson combed the knowledge he had in his Turkey database. “Oh yes,” he said. “I believe Turkey, like Germany, is dealing with a national identity conflict. Am I mistaken?”

Deniz had discussed this with foreigners so many times that she’d memorized an overly simplified speech on the matter, which she’d titled “The Turkish Intellectual’s Problematization of Nationalism.” She recited it in a single breath, “You’re right. As a way of rejecting the nationalist strategies that appeared when the country was founded, and in reaction to the country’s destructive policies toward its various ethnic groups, Turkish intellectuals prefer to say they’re from Turkey rather than Turkish.”

(Excerpted from Banana Sounds, a translation of Ece Temelkuran’s Turkish novel, Muz Sesleri. The translation is by Deniz Perin.)

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…]