Should we create museums of literature?

National museum of Taiwanese literatureA museum of literature is an institution specialized in literature considered as cultural heritage. The idea is to promote knowledge about literature and its role in society. There are many museums around the world concerning writers, particularly in the United States and France but very few museums of literature. I had been interested a few years ago by that of Beijing, I just discovered the museum of Taiwan in Tainan, the ancient capital of the … Lire la suite

For the novelist Dung Kai-Cheung, Hong Kong is not China.

 

Dung Kai-Cheung 3Twenty years already and many questions for the future. It was in 1997 that the sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred to China. On the occasion of this anniversary, the publisher Penguin has released a series of seven books on Hong Kong, its history, economy, politics.

Literature is not forgotten with “Dear Hong Kong” by Xu Xi and especially “Cantonese love stories” (1) by Dung Kai-Cheung, the most important writer, multiple prizes … Lire la suite

Gao Xingjian, the Nobel Prize remains a free man.

 

Gao Xinjian 2The latest work by Gao Xingjian, “The Art of a Free Man” has just been published in France (1), it brings together, translated by Noël Dutrait, speeches made in several countries, interviews or short essays. These texts, dated from 2010 to 2016, are more recent than the essays grouped in “De La Creation” (2) and are much shorter.

A beautiful surprise in this latest book, edited by Anne Sastourné, … Lire la suite

The novelist Yiyun Li treats a depression by reading and literature.

Yiyun Li in Paris sept 2015

Yiyun Li in Paris sept 2015

Her latest book, a collection of essays (1), has just been published in the United States where she lives and where it has received exceptional reviews. A short but very dense book that evokes her youth in Beijing, her arrival in the United States, her first literary successes and her serious suicidal depression in 2012. It is a magnificent hymn to reading and literature and she makes us share … Lire la suite

Yan Ge, a spicy and humorous account of family relations.

Yan-Ge-2She is thirty years old. Her name is quoted as the star of this generation. She has a good international education, writes easily, quickly and has a devastating sense of humour. She talks about her childhood, the families around her, and her native province of Sichuan, which plays an important role in her work.

Yan Ge was born in Chengdu 33 years ago. She won the New Concept Writing Competition at 18 by more than … Lire la suite

Love and ambiguity in London for the novelist Lee Kok Liang.

Lee Kok Liang 2Lee Kok Liang is, with Llyod Fernando and KS Maniam, one of the most important writers of Malaysian literature in English. Barrister, politician, author of two novels and two collections of short stories, he wins us over with his style, his qualities of observation and a detached and rather sad look at London, Paris and Malaysia in the 1960s.

 

– A pleasant novel, “London does not belong to me” (1)

 

Author of … Lire la suite

Mo Yan and the ghosts of the 1979 war.

Mo Yan et Noël Dutrait

Mo Yan et Noël Dutrait

The Sino-Vietnamese war of February-March 1979 is forgotten despite the current tensions between the two countries, particularly with regard to the Spratley islands. A conflict evoked by Mo Yan in a short novel, “The Reunion of Companions in Arms” (1), a book of 1992 where Mo Yan shows once again the extent of his talent.

1- Mo Yan after the Nobel Prize:

 

The award of the Nobel … Lire la suite

The Chinese novelist Wang Anyi and “The coquette of Shanghai”.

Wang AnyiWang Anyi is a prominent writer who is a symbol of Shanghai literature. Now older than sixty, she has written more than one hundred and fifty short stories and novels, seven of which were translated into French with Philippe Picquier.

She is the author of one of the masterpieces of contemporary Chinese literature, “The Song of Everlasting Sorrows” (1) which was crowned by the Mao Dun Prize in the year 2000 and which, … Lire la suite

KS Maniam, a major writer, emigration and citizenship in Malaysia.

KS Maniam 8Subramaniam Krishnan (KS) Maniam is one of the major writers born and living in Malaysia, but of Indian origin (Tamil) and writing in English, he is not part of the “national” literature that constitute with the privileges attached, the authors writing in the Malay language.

 

– “National” literature:

For the 30 million inhabitants of Malaysia, racial origin is essential: 63% are Malays, “Sons of the soil”, just under 10% are of Indian origin (mostly … Lire la suite

Liu Zhenyun in Paris.

Liu Zhenyun 5Liu Zhenyun is one of the Chinese writers best known for his literary successes and the famous films of his friend Feng Xiaogang. Liu Zhenyun, on a European tour, just spent a few days in Paris to present films and novels as he had already done in October 2013.

 

A family tour :

The program began with a presentation at the Confucius Institute of the University of Paris Diderot of ” A word is Lire la suite

Shamini Flint, Ovidia Yu, Barbara Ismail, discover detective novels from Malaysia and Singapore.

Shamini_FlintTwo or three years ago, I mentioned the qualities of several detective novelists from Malaysia and Singapore. The success is confirmed: six novels by Shamini Flint are translated into French, Ovidia Yu publishes a third novel and Barbara Ismail, in a few weeks, will publish a fourth book.

 

1- Authors, very different women:

 

Shamini Flint is a Malaysian lawyer of Indo-Ceylonian origin who, after a brilliant legal career in Malaysia, Singapore and Great … Lire la suite

Wu Ming-yi, a magician in the field of literature.

Wu Ming-yiAmong significant writers in Taiwan, Wu Ming-yi occupies a leading position. Born in 1971, after studying literature and writing important works on rivers, coastal populations and butterflies, he is a professor of literature at Dong Hwa University.

I mentioned the release of his second novel, “The man with the compound eyes” which had  some impact in the English-speaking world but had hardly been supported in France; a very good novel on pollution and … Lire la suite

Rao Pingru illustrates a love of sixty years.

Rao Pingru 11Rao Pingru is 95 years old, he is the guest of honor of the Festival of comic strips which is held these days in Angouleme, in France. His first book, which combines text and drawings, has just been translated (1) and yet he does not consider himself a writer or an artist.

 

He was older than 90 years when he wrote this first book:

 

Married almost 60 years to Mao Meitang, Rao Pingru … Lire la suite