Commemorating an Anti-Authoritarian Provocateur: Reflections on Wang Xiaobo (May 13, 1952–April 11, 1997)

By Sebastian Veg

Wang Xiaobo, an important Chinese literary and intellectual figure who died of a heart attack 20 years ago this week at the age of 44, remains largely unknown to the reading public outside China.  Only a few novellas and one important essay of his have been translated into English.  In China, by contrast, his popularity reached unprecedented heights in the late 1990s, and he was even included posthumously (with five other “emeriti”) on the first list of China’s 50 “most influential public intellectuals” published in 2004. Even now, his books are still reprinted and widely read: Changjiang Literature and Art has just published a new seven-volume selection of his writings to mark the anniversary of his death. Continue reading

A New Genre of Civic Literature: Official Reports of Government Inquiries Into International Cases of Abuse of Institutionalized Children

By Arthur McCaffrey

This is a story about institutional crime and social justice. At times, it may seem there is too much of the former and not enough of the latter. That’s the bad news. The good news is, when the institutional crime involves the abuse and exploitation of children, a number of different governments, in different countries, in different parts of the world, are finally beginning to do something. Unfortunately, the US government is not one of them.  Continue reading

Reforming a Leper Colony and Other Tricky Tasks: Three Recent Volumes of Translated Korean Fiction

By Charles Montgomery

While I’ve been messing around trying to post the Explorer’s Guide To Translated Literature here,  missing deadlines, Korean authors and translators have continued to work together to pump out great Korean works of fiction now available in English. Today I’ll  discuss three works that have recently come to attention: Yi Chong-Jun’s Your Paradise, Bang Hyeong-Seok’s collection Time To Eat Lobster, and a collection of work by female authors, The Future of Silence. Continue reading

Standing with Standing Rock: A Fire That Can’t Be Put Out

By Brendan Clarke

The following article is the fifth in a five-part series about the movement at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The mobilization, of people and resources, which was spurred on by the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, began an unprecedented convergence of hundreds of Indigenous Tribes, and thousands upon thousands of people. The series, which was originally written as a single piece, offers the reflections of Brendan Clarke, who traveled to Standing Rock from November 19th through December 9th to join in the protection of water, sacred sites, and Indigenous sovereignty. As part of this journey, which was supported by and taken on behalf of many members of his community, Brendan served in many different roles at the camps, ranging from direct action to cleaning dishes and constructing insulated floors. He, along with the small group he traveled with, also created a long-term response fund, which they are currently stewarding. These stories are part of his give-away, his lessons learned, and his gratitude, for his time on the ground. Continue reading

What Some Men Want

By Chris Fink

It’s easy to mock Tucker Max’s What Women Want by opening to a page at random and reading a line or two, but I took it all in, deep. Unlike the hundreds of women who have apparently slept with the author, I hope I’m one of the only people who has read his whole book, because mocking is too gentle, like a teasing kiss, compared to the venereal bonfire this thing deserves. Continue reading

Believing is Seeing

By Afshan Jafar

As chair-elect and long-time member of a university faculty steering committee — the academic equivalent of a senate executive committee — I have been accused of many things over the years: having an “agenda”; being “aggressive”; being “strident”; being “blunt”; being “obfuscating”; looking for “special treatment”; and not being “forthright” are just a few of those. These negative responses were often prompted by what I believed to be innocuous actions, such as reading a piece of legislation to answer someone’s question (“obfuscating” and “not forthright”); pointing out that our evening faculty meeting time was not convenient for parents and especially mothers (“having an agenda” and “looking for special treatment”); trying to finish my sentence while somebody was trying to interrupt me (“strident” and “aggressive”). Continue reading

Swimming in Hong Kong: An Interview with Stephanie Han

By Susan Blumberg-Kason

I met Stephanie Han at a literary event in Hong Kong back in 2014, but we didn’t get much of a chance to talk due to traffic delays, linked to the Umbrella Movement’s ongoing occupation of the financial district, making me arrive late. We connected a few months later when I Skyped into a memoir-writing class she was teaching on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. I only really got to know her, though, via a different sort of virtual encounter: reading and becoming absorbed by Swimming in Hong Kong, her new collection of short stories. Comprised of tales that previously appeared in periodicals and anthologies, it is published by Willow Springs Press. Here are some questions I emailed her, along with the answers she sent back. Continue reading

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