ROUND UP: Broadcasters interested in Asian creativity, student wins US book deal, and a funny new angle on the HK literary festival dust-up
BE INSPIRED. I've been cheered by several delightful things today. I had a lengthy interview on The Book Show (ABC Australia) this morning about happenings in the Asia literary scene. It’s brilliant that the world is interested in creative outpourings in this part of the world. So, anyone with a link to Asia or an interest in Asia or an address in Asia, be inspired write! Your time has come.
I’m not just whistling in the wind. Sheba Karim, a student at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, has just landed a fabulous deal, I heard today.
Her manuscript has just been auctioned by literary agent Ayesha Pande, where the highest bidder was Farrar Straus -- a really US good publisher.
The story is about a Pakistani American girl’s life at an upstate New York high school. Not only is she the only Asian, but she’s the only Muslim. She’s also the sister of a standard Asian supernerd, and worst of all -- there’s the dreaded secret problem of many south Asian women: body hair.
It’s a hilarious story that only as Asian-American could have written. I’m hoping that Joe Roces, a regular commenter on this site, will follow suit, among others!
Among many other things, the Book Show presenter Ramona Koval asked about my mysterious disappearance from the HK literary festival and prize. Yes, it’s a horrible scandal and there is an unpleasant racism angle to it, but I’m not letting it depress me. On the show, I just lightly spoke about the irony of the situation. I think the outcry means that the board will have to open itself up to new members, and the prize will have to include Asia-based judges.
Here’s a letter I got this morning on the topic, from Caitlyn101.
Nury, the HK literary festival people sound like awful people, but your response is very uncharacteristic. Why not just lighten up and laugh it off? I suggest you only mention it in future in humorous form, in the style of great authors. To help you, here’s my take on it. It is in the style of Edward Lear:
A writer who lived in Hong Kong
Created an Asian book ‘gong’
His mates sad to say
Stole his idea away
And created a hell of a pong.
Nice one, Cait! Anyone else fancy having a go? I'll award a hardback first-edition book to the best one -- I have Helen Fielding, Margaret Atwood, etc