Cultural Exchange in Literary Circles: Dialogue between Chinese and European Writers of Contemporary Literature
May 22, 2018 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
When Less is More: The Beauty and the Brawn of Short Fiction
Speakers: Dace Vigante, Indrek Hargla, Teng Xiaolan, Zhu WenyingShort fiction is enjoying something of a global resurgence in recent years. The 2013 Nobel Prize in literature went to Canadian short-story writer Alice Munro, and over the past few years short story collections have been on the rise, gaining in significance in the publishing world, and netting some of the biggest literary prizes. Mobile technologies have played a role in this too, as readers with hectic lifestyles and ever-decreasing attention spans turn to short stories as they commute. To discuss the beauty and the future of short fiction, we have Dace Vigante, a short-story writer from Latvia who has published two collections; Indrek Hargla from Estonia, who has published four science fiction and horror short fiction collections; Shanghai writer Teng Xiaolan, who has written numerous award-winning short story collections and novellas; and Suzhou-based writer Zhu Wenying, who has had her short fiction widely published in China and abroad.
May 22, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
To a Poet Nothing can be Useless
Speakers: Aleš Šteger, Jaime Santirso, Mu Ye, Zhang DinghaoThe writer Samuel Johnson said that “to a poet nothing can be useless.” He argued that whatever is beautiful and whatever is dreadful must be familiar to the poet’s imagination, and that they must be conversant with all that is awfully vast or elegantly little. “For every idea is useful,” he said, and the poet who knows most will be best equipped to diversify scenes, gratify readers and produce unexpected allusions and instruction. We gather four acclaimed poets for this event to present some of their own writing, and to consider Johnson’s words, and discuss how they gather ideas to channel into their own work. Joining the event will be Aleš Šteger (Slovenia), Jaime Santirso (Spain), and Mu Ye and Zhang Dinghao from China.
May 22, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Quarrying for Ideas
Speakers: Christian Y. Schmidt, Colombe Schneck, Huang Dehai, Xue ShuHow do writers quarry for ideas to feed into their works and strive to tap rich, creative veins? What type of research do they undertake, and at what point do they feel they have done enough research and can start to write? To discuss this we are joined by Christian Y. Schmidt, from Germany, the author of a political biography, a travel/memoir book set in China and a novel; Colombe Schneck, a French writer of fiction and non-fiction and a director of documentary films; Huang Dehai, the deputy editor-in-chief of Sinan Literary Selection, author of several essay collections and editor of literary anthologies; and Xue Shu, the author of several story collections, novels and a non-fiction title.
May 22, 2018 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Global Writers, Local Stories
Speakers: Gavin Corbett, Noémi László, Pan Xiangli, Lu NeiWriters from Ireland, Hungary and China will take the stage to discuss how they present global themes in their writing that are informed by local events and people, and how the narratives can remain relevant even as they transcend borders, cultures and languages. Joining the discussion will be Gavin Corbett from Ireland who has published three novels to date; Lu Nei, a prolific novelist from Shanghai who has had some of his work translated into English; Noemi Laszlo, a Hungarian poet and literary translator who lives in Romania; and Pan Xiangli, a Chinese novelist whose award-winning work has been translated into several languages.
May 23, 2018 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Writers of the World
Speakers: Gavin Corbett, Halina Pawlowská, Yao Emei, Zhou JianingLeading writers from China, the Czech Republic and Ireland will discuss their work, their writing lives, their sources of inspiration from their own country and beyond, and the role they see literature playing in the modern era around the world. Participating in this discussion will be Gavin Corbett from Ireland, whose novel This Is the Way was named Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year; Halina Pawlowská, one of the Czech Republic’s most successful authors; Yao Emei, a novelist and story writer whose work has been translated widely; and Zhou Jianing a prolific short-story writer, novelist and literary translator.
May 23, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Reading Like a Writer
Speakers: btr, Jaime Santirso, Mao Jian, Noémi LászlóIrish writer Oscar Wilde said: “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” And, it is often said, a good writer must be a great reader. They must read widely and deeply – from the literary greats to the most recent contemporaries, and plenty in between – all the time paying heed to the craft decisions the authors have made as they shaped their works. In this gathering, the writers will discuss who and what they read, and how they feel their reading impacts upon their own writing. btr is a writer, contemporary art critic, and translator of English literature living in Shanghai; Jaime Santirso is a Spanish journalist and poet; Mao Jian is an academic and essayist who specialises in Chinese Cinema and modern and contemporary Chinese Literature; and Hungarian Noemi Laszlo is a poet, an editor of a literary journal and a literary translator.
May 23, 2018 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Summoning the Writer’s Muse
Speakers: Dace Vigante, Pan Xiangli, Svet Di Nahum, Xia ShangWriters from China, Bulgaria and Latvia will talk about their creative processes, how they initiate projects, and how they overcome periods when the creativity is simply not flowing. Joining this event will be short-story writer Dace Vigante from Latvia; Pan Xiangli, a Chinese novelist whose award-winning work has been translated into several languages; Svet Di Nahum from Bulgaria, a short-story writer and author of the dystopian novel Raptus; and Xia Shang, a post-avant-garde novelist and graphic designer from Shanghai.
May 23, 2018 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Why We Write
Speakers: Aleš Šteger, José Luís Peixoto, Xiao Bai, Zou ZouFour writers will join this event to talk about how they became writers, what encouraged them to take the challenging literary path, and how they keep motivated and focused. Aleš Šteger is a poet and prose writer from Slovenia whose work has been widely translated. His prose book Berlin will be released in Chinese in May; José Luís Peixoto is one of Portugal’s most acclaimed contemporary novelists and his work has been translated into 26 languages so far; Xiao Bai is a Chinese fiction writer whose award-winning work has also been sold into many markets abroad; and Zou Zou is a literary editor and the author of several acclaimed novels.
Getting in the Groove: Building Creative Habits
Speakers: Colombe Schneck, Svet Di Nahum, Li Dewu, Xiao HaiWe invite four highly prolific creative people to this event to talk about how they arrange their working routines and writing lives, and how they juggle multiple projects, travel and personal lives with the demands of a writer. Colombe Schneck from France is the author of many books (including the novel Le reparation which has just been released in China) and she directs documentary films and is currently writing her first feature film; Bulgarian Svet Di Nahum writes short stories, novels, and writes for TV comedies; Li Dewu is a poet and literary critic; and Xiao Hai is a prolific Suzhou poet who has won numerous awards for his work.
Diversity and Depth
Speakers: Indrek Hargla, Halina Pawlowská, Tao Wenyu, Fang WeiFour very diverse talents join forces here to discuss their creative processes, the options they face as they embark on a new project, and how and why they choose to use the genres and the art forms they do for their various works. We will be joined by Estonian science fiction writer, medieval crime writer and screenwriter Indrek Hargla; Czech short story writer, screenwriter Halina Pawlowská; Tao Wenyu, a poet, writer and painter; and short-story writer, novelist and academic Fang Wei.
Finding Truth in Fiction
Speakers: Christian Y. Schmidt, José Luís Peixoto, Lin Zhou, Zhu WenyingFiction can often seem closer to the truth than what lies around us. The reader is immersed in a world where they must put themselves in the shoes of others, consider new worlds and fresh perspectives, and challenge their old beliefs and sentiments. Four authors will join this discussion to talk about their own writing and their engagement with universal themes and truisms in their world-building processes. To discuss will be German writer Christian Y. Schmidt, whose novel The Last Huelsenbeck has just been released; Portuguese novelist José Luís Peixoto, who has won many awards for his fiction to date; Lin Zhou, a prolific writer, literary critic and academic; and Zhu Wenying, a fiction writer, art curator and critic.
May 26, 2018 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Book Launch: Colombe Schneck and the Chinese version of Le reparation with publisher Shanghai 99
Speakers: Colombe SchneckFrench writer Colombe Schneck will launch the Chinese version of her book Le reparation (published by Shanghai 99) at this event. The novel revolves around the history of the Jewish massacre during World War II. As a Jewish descendant, Columbe details the disappearance of family and focusses on the strength of women in the disaster, which is one of the brightest and timeless parts of this heavy theme. Most of Colombe’s work, films and books are about women and the fragile maternal instinct, and her last novel Sisters of Mercy is about women who have to leave their children to work abroad. In this event, she will discuss Le reparation, and her wider body of work and why the plight of women around the world plays such a key role in her writing.
The Three Rules for Writing
Speakers: Ai Wei, Dace Vigante, José Luís Peixoto, Qiao Ye“There are three rules for writing,” Somerset Maugham once stated. “Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.” The reality is there is no fixed set of do’s and don’ts to refer to in the literary world, and writers must develop a framework that works for them for each creative project they embark upon. In this event four distinguished writers discuss their own writing and the rules they personally tend to observe, and the ones they choose to bend or even break. Joining us will be novelist and short-story writer from Hangzhou, Ai Wei; Latvian fiction writer Dace Vigante; Portugese novelist José Luís Peixoto; and Qiao Ye, a short story writer and novelist.
Literature: A Spotlight on Society’s Soul
Speakers: Gavin Corbett, He Ping, Indrek Hargla, Huang YongmeiThrough the characters, the narrative voices, the storyline and the setting, literature can often be seen to be shining a spotlight on dark corners of society and illuminating pockets of social darkness. In this session, the invited writers will discuss this element of the craft in their own writing, and also talk about some other writers they have admired for their capacity to bare society’s soul. Joining the panel will be Gavin Corbett, a novelist from Ireland; He Ping, a Nanjing-based academic and literary critic; Estonian fiction writer Indrek Hargla; and Huang Yongmei, a short-story and novel writer from Hangzhou.
Words Across Borders
Speakers: Christian Y. Schmidt, Jaime Santirso, Li Dewu, He TongbinIn an increasingly globalised and digitised world, writers can connect with readers all around the world more than ever before. Genres, too, are often bending and blending making it harder to categorise many works, but also potentially making it easier for writers to find new readers as content defies cetegorisation. In this gathering, the writers will discuss their own writing and how they feel they can reach audiences near to and far from home. And as the world evolves and becomes more interconnected, they will also talk about what changes they might see ahead for writers and readers alike. To discuss: novelist and non-fiction writer Christian Y. Schmidt from Germany; poet and journalist Jaime Santirso from Spain; poet and literary critic Li Dewu from Suzhou; and He Tongbin, an essayist and literary critic from Nanjing.
Cultivating the Story Craft
Speakers: Halina Pawlowská, Huang Fan, Svet Di Nahum, Zhu WenyingWhat makes a story fresh, vivid and memorable? How to develop strong characters and present authentic dialogue that drives the story? And, without divulging too much at the start, how can writers most successfully invite the reader to come along with them on a literary journey? Four acclaimed writers will discuss how they develop their narrative arcs and how they construct solid story frameworks. Halina Pawlowská, from the Czech Republic, writes for stage and TV as well as short stories; Huang Fan, originally from Hubei, writes fiction and poetry and his works have been widely translated internationally; Bulgarian Svet Di Nahum writes short stories and novels, as well as for TV, and he has had his work translated into several markets around the world; and originally from Shanghai, Zhu Wenying is a short-story writer and novelist who also has been widely translated.
Poetry: A Painting that is Felt Rather than Seen
Speakers: Aleš Šteger, Noémi László, Tao Wenyu, Xiao HaiLeonardo da Vinci said that, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Four esteemed poets gather today to read some of their own work, and to discuss what they perceive to be the visual and visceral capacities of poetry in the contemporary age. On stage will be Aleš Šteger, a poet and prose writer from Slovenia; Noemi Laszlo, from Hungary, who writes poetry for adults and children; Suzhou poet and essayist Tao Wenyu; and Xiao Hai, a poet who is originally from Jiangsu.
May 27, 2018 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Book Presentation: Christian Y. Schmidt and the Chinese version of Allein unter 1,3 Milliarden.
Speakers: Christian Y. SchmidtGerman writer Christian Y. Schmidt drove from from Shanghai all the way to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Along the way the landscapes and cultural customs of Chinese cities and villages spread out in front of him, presenting a more three-dimensional and richer China. In his book that tells of that journey, Christian shares his perspectives on China, past and present, and delivers a tale that is both though-provoking and very witty.
May 27, 2018 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Book Launch: Aleš Šteger and the Chinese version of Berlin. With the Publisher East China Normal University Press
Speakers: Aleš ŠtegerSlovenian poet and prose writer Aleš Šteger will launch the Chinese version of Berlin (published by East China Normal University Press), a book of tribute to the great literary figures of Berlin. It is a work of wanderering that is full of intricate details -- a book of essays, prose, poetry, and photography. The author portrays Berlin as a complicated world, and indeed a pure and beautiful city of memory.
May 27, 2018 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Language and Literature
Speakers: Noémi László, Svet Di Nahum, Zhou Jianing, Zou ZouLiterature is an art form that uses language as its raw material, and when words and phrases are used well in literary works they acquire a weight and meaning of their own that goes beyond straight definition. In this session, we will invite the writers to discuss which writers they admire for their use of language, and why; and how they develop and polish their own language skills in the works they produce. To discuss will be Noemi Laszlo, a poet and literary translator from Hungary; fiction writer Svet Di Nahum from Bulgaria; and two Shanghai authors, Zhou Jianing, a fiction writer and literary translator; and literary editor and novelist, Zou Zou.
May 27, 2018 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Our Writing Lives
Speakers: Dace Vigante, Jaime Santirso, Lu Nei, Xiao BaiToday we welcome four highly talented writers to talk about how and why they got into a writing career, how they choose their next literary challenges, and what highs and lows they have encountered in their writing lives. To talk about their writing lives, we welcome short-story writer Dace Vigante from Latvia; Spanish poet Jaime Santirso; Shanghai novelist Lu Nei; and Shanghai novelist and short-fiction writer Xiao Bai.
May 27, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Characters Keep the Pages Turning
Speakers: btr, Halina Pawlowská, Indrek Hargla, Huang YuningCreating complex, well-rounded, and believable characters is an integral part of the novel and short story writing process. Where do writers “meet” their characters? How do they get to know them? Which comes first – the characters or the storyline? To discuss, we welcome Shanghai-based writer and literary translator btr; Halina Pawlowská, who develops characters for books and screen; Estonian Indrek Hargla, who writes stage plays, TV screenplays, as well as long and short fiction; and Huang Yuning, a writer, literary translator and a literary critic from China.
May 27, 2018 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm