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Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val re­turns to the Bund

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE -

Our city’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of books and writing, the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val, has re­turned to the Bund, kick­ing off Fri­day at the Glam lounge bar with a two-week sched­ule stud­ded with writ­ers from around the globe. Award-win­ning Chi­nese-Amer­i­can au­thor Amy Tan along with other no­table or ris­ing writ­ers, aca­demi­cians, his­to­ri­ans and busi­ness and po­lit­i­cal ex­perts will be in at­ten­dance. The Global Times has hand­picked some high­lights for read­ers’ con­sid­er­a­tion.

Amy Tan, whose best-sell­ing 1989 novel The Joy

Luck Club ush­ered in “the golden era” of Chi­nese-Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture, will re­visit Shang­hai with sto­ries from her lat­est book Where the Past Be­gins, which will be pub­lished in Oc­to­ber.

On this com­ing Sun­day she will read ex­cerpts from the book and on Satur­day she will join writer Dun­can Clark on­stage for a di­a­logue about her writing process.

On the same day he speaks with Tan, Clark will also give a sep­a­rate talk about his own book, Alibaba: the House that Jack Ma Built. Clark is a for­mer ad­viser for Alibaba, China’s largest e-com­merce plat­form, and has known Ma since the 1990s.

Also on Satur­day, Alec Ash, a new­comer to the writing world, will in­tro­duce his de­but book Wish

Lanterns, which tells the sto­ries of six Chi­nese mil­len­ni­als from dif­fer­ent parts of China.

“These are the peo­ple who will de­ter­mine much of the coun­try’s shifts mov­ing for­ward, so un­der­stand­ing them is ex­tremely im­por­tant,” Ash said in a pre­vi­ous Forbes in­ter­view.

Ash’s fa­ther, an award-win­ning po­lit­i­cal au­thor and Ox­ford scholar, Ti­mothy Gar­ton Ash, will also be speak­ing at the fes­ti­val, on March 15, to ex­am­ine the im­pact that lib­er­al­ism has had on so­ci­eties around the world.

Rob Sch­mitz, Shang­hai’s correspondent for Na­tional Public Ra­dio, will speak on Mon­day about his book Street of Eter­nal Hap­pi­ness, which of­fers read­ers a glimpse into the daily lives of his neigh­bors on Changle Road in the for­mer French con­ces­sion.

Sch­mitz spent four years con­duct­ing in­ter­views for this book and in the process be­friended many res­i­dents dur­ing their pur­suit of the Chi­nese dream.

On March 18, Madeleine O’Dea, an Aus­tralian who has per­son­ally wit­nessed China’s dras­tic changes over the past three decades, will share her keen ob­ser­va­tion de­scribed in The Phoenix Years.

The book tells the sto­ries of nine Chi­nese con­tem­po­rary artists born be­tween 1952 and 1985 who, in O’Dea’s words, are “peo­ple who have made it their life’s work to see their coun­try clearly.”

Global shifts

In the past year, the world has wit­nessed many dra­matic if not alarm­ing so­cial and po­lit­i­cal shifts, from Brexit and Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion win, to the new nu­clear tests of North Korea and South Korea’s at­tempt to de­ploy a THAAD (Ter­mi­nal High Alti­tude Area De­fense). Where we as mankind are head­ing has be­come a ques­tion tug­ging on our col­lec­tive heart strings.

In light of this, Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val will host sev­eral events specif­i­cally

ded­i­cated to dis­cussing global is­sues and trend­ing top­ics. On Sun­day, a panel of ed­i­tors from the Fi­nan­cial Times will ask “Has West­ern Democ­racy Been Dis­cred­ited?”

On March 17, for­mer China bureau chief at The Wall Street Jour­nal James McGre­gor, who has writ­ten a hand­ful of books about China’s econ­omy, will join Shirley Lin, a po­lit­i­cal sci­ence re­searcher for the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia, and Harry Hard­ing, a spe­cial­ist on Asian-US re­la­tions, to dis­cuss “global new norms” such as stag­nant wages and grow­ing in­equal­ity.

New Zealand busi­ness jour­nal­ist Rod Oram will share his in-depth in­ter­views with lead­ers in sci­ence, busi­nesses and pol­i­tics in China, Singapore and the US on March 18. Aus­tralian jour­nal­ist Stan Grant will take the au­di­ence on a more in­ti­mate jour­ney, on Satur­day, to his moth­er­land where he un­veils bru­tal facts of racism.

Work­shops & chil­dren’s ses­sions

The fes­ti­val will also hold lit­er­a­ture work­shops for as­pir­ing writ­ers, in­clud­ing one ded­i­cated to writing haiku, a tra­di­tional form of Ja­panese po­etry con­sist­ing of only three lines, ar­ranged for Tues­day un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Ja­panese writer, poet and trans­la­tor Miho Kin­nas.

Maori (in­dige­nous New Zealan­ders) writer Witi Ihi­maera, au­thor of The Whale Rider, will lead the au­di­ence in a dis­cus­sion about how to de­velop struc­ture and char­ac­ters for a novel on March 17.

Chil­dren’s ses­sions will take place on Sun­day, when wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher Jan Latta will in­tro­duce young­sters to her ad­ven­tur­ous ex­pe­ri­ences across the world. On March 19, YA book writer Sarah Bren­nan will read from her lat­est work,

The Tale of Rick­shaw Rooster, a funny story about a proud yet noisy rooster liv­ing in the 1920s Shang­hai.

Glam, a bar and dining lounge lo­cated di­rectly on the Bund, is the brain­child of Aus­tralia-born restau­ra­teur Michelle Gar­naut, who opened M on the Bund in 1999 fol­lowed by the Glam­our Bar in 2006, which closed down in 2014. The Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val is now one of China’s ma­jor for­eign-run in­ter­na­tional au­thor events.

Adult tick­ets to all events range from 85 yuan ($11.60, in­clud­ing a drink) to 150 yuan (in­clud­ing a lunch), and tick­ets for stu­dents and chil­dren sell for 40 yuan. Ticket sales for each event will close the day be­fore the event at 5 pm. For a com­plete sched­ule, visit http://www.m-restau­rant­group. com/com­mu­nity/m-lit­er­ary-fes­ti­val. Page Ed­i­tor: yangzhenqi@ glob­al­times.com.cn

Photo: www.m-restau­rant­group.com

This year’s Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val kicks off Fri­day.

Photos: CFP and www.m-restau­rant­group.com

(From far left) Amy Tan, Alec Ash, Dun­can Clark, Madeleine O’Dea and Rob Sch­mitz

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