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Disseminating the Magic: Literary Media in the Digital Age

The Inaugural EU-China International Literary Festival
Disseminating the Magic: Literary Media in the Digital Age
Chengdu Bookworm, November 25, 7:30pm
Luo Wei Zhang (China), Yu Youyou (China), Paolo Colagrande (Italy), Marius Burokas(Lithuania)

Article by Kate Shmeleva

As a person who enjoys reading and creative writing, I’ve questioned how literature and digital media influence each other.
Are paper sources of literature becoming a relic of the past? Nowadays literature and the internet areare definitely strongly linked. Does this fact make modern writing plainer, simpler or of a lesser quality? Can we still be decent readers and writers in our century?

“Disseminating the Magic: Literary Media in the Digital Age”, a fascinating event at The Bookworm, Chengdu discussed some of these questions and shared the opinions of great writers from China, Lithuania and Italy (Yu Youyou, Luo Wei Zhang, Marius Burokas and Paolo Colagrande). There were many good points, interesting ideas, and valuable advice from their personal experience.

Luo, an award winning Chinese writer, currently works for a magazine. He explains that in our age people have a wider choice of literature than before, so it is harder to define what literature is good, and what isn’t. He personally refuses to make a choice, and just reads as many books as possible.

Paulo, a top Italian novelist and an editor of a literary magazine, says “The magazine became a success, also thanks to the digital version. Then people started buying the paper version” However, he believes there is a problem of recognizing real literature in the digital age. “There is no filter on truth. It is difficult to say what [literature] is good or wrong.”

The only way to tell good writing from a bad is to experience as many books as we can. Moreover, being active readers is the way to improve literature. Through digital media, the readers’ feedback is instantaneously delivered to any writer.

The event also presented wise thoughts of Marius Burokas and Yu Youyou on translation and poetry.

Sichuan born, Yu Youyou has been writing award winning poetry since age 14. Her work is often featured home and abroad.
Yu tells us that it was mostly the volume of media she consumed that inspired her to write. She confesses though, it is more difficult to write when you’re mature and live a steady life. “I’m not a small kid anymore, I don’t have much imagination”. But according to Yu, enjoying other forms of art help her write, “with a balance between painting, music and writing I can express emotions in poetry”.

Marius Burokas, editor-in-chief of an online magazine, translator, is a talented poet, too.
“When I don’t write poems, I translate”, says Marius. “A translator should know the culture of the other language very well, otherwise they might not understand certain concepts properly”.

Undoubtedly, good prose and poetry have always been important kinds of literature that help us to grow mentally and spiritually. Translation is a magical way for us to get an access to literature in all the languages, and it is even easier in 21st century. So let’s use digital age not as an excuse to be lazier, but as an opportunity to read and write more, thus we all can make the world of Literature better and brighter.