Book burning is alive and well in India. Hindu fundamentalists recently torched copies of Tamil author Perumal Murugan's One Part Woman in which a childless Indian couple turns to an ancient ritual allowing a woman to sleep with the man of her choice.
In the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo we are all being challenged to reconsider the fine line between respect and freedom of speech. At the Jaipur Literary Festival last week a debate on whether commerce was killing good writing morphed into an enquiry on literary freedom (http://bit.ly/1zIb8pg). Participants lamented Murugan’s recent announcement that he would stop writing. Tamil author CK Lakshmi – better known as Ambai – tidily summarized the future threat: “Whether we are going to write at all is the question, not whether our books will sell."
Make your voice heard at the 2nd annual Wakefield Writers Festival – La Pêche, May 8-10. www.writersfete.com
“I hear what you are saying sister, and I really feel for you.” Particularly after finishing Joe Boyden’s Through Black Spruce, Frances Itani’s Tell and Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows in the last coupla weeks. I just have this overflowing sense of sensitivity. And I am not alone. A recent study (http://bit.ly/1yc5euG) proves the empathetic power of reading good literature. It seems that the “psychological processes used to navigate fiction and real relationships are similar. Fiction is not just a simulator of a social experience, it is a social experience."
I feel a tear coming on. Perhaps it's time for a small helping of Robert Ludlum.
Let your emotions run wild at the 2nd annual Wakefield Writers Festival – La Péche, 8-10 May. www.writersfete.com
Great literature rings true no matter where it resides. Ten years after publishing Reading Lolita in Tehran (exercising freedom and self-realization in a women’s reading club), Azar Nafisi turns her sights from Iranian fundamentalist revolutionaries to American intellectual indolence. With The Republic of Imagination (http://n.pr/1Ahf5QQ) she celebrates literary protagonists such as Huck Finn and their “constant battle between the desire for prosperity and the urge to walk away from it all, to be wary of complacency." The second annual Wakefield Writers Festival - La Péche, May 8-10, invites your curiosity.
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