Lit fests highlight foreign writers

By Mei Jia ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-03-25 09:58:23

Internationally acclaimed foreign writers have met with Chinese writers and readers this month in cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu during the Bookworm Literary Festival, the Capital Literary Festival and Shanghai International Literary Festival.

Some of the writers were also invited to meet more readers at public libraries and bookstores.

Haitian-born Canadian writer Dany Laferriere says Shanghai has a very modern look, just like New York, and he was impressed by the happy people dancing and singing in the parks.

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Laferriere, known for his stories of exile, has recently been elected to the French Academy, the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language.

He was a journalist before becoming a writer. His debut novel in 1985, How to Make Love to a Negro Without Getting Tired, was a success and he is widely read in Canada and other French-speaking areas.

"The Westerners see sex and wine in my first novel, but it's a sad story about loneliness and about having nothing pleasant," Laferriere says.

Laferriere writes in French and his novels are available in English. He says his next novel might be about China and the happy dance "Cha cha cha" he saw in Shanghai.

Laferriere's fellow Canadian writer Nancy Huston talked with young Chinese writer Jiang Fangzhou on March 23 at Capital M in Beijing. Huston writes in French and translates the works into English herself.

Huston's award-winning novel Fault Lines has enjoyed acclaim from Chinese readers. She also writes essays and children's books.

The Australian embassy in Beijing launched Australian Writers Week from March 9 to 23 in nine Chinese cities, bringing nonfiction author Benjamin Law, award-winning author and illustrator Gabrielle Wang, writer Ali Alizadeh and Pamela Williams, to China. Law and Wang have Chinese heritage.

"This year, I'm delighted that Australian Writers Week in China features a focus on Australian-Asian writing and celebrates the unique and diverse voices that define our contemporary literature and vibrant multicultural society," Australian Ambassador to China Frances Adamson says.

Celebrated Brazilian writer Cristovao Tezza, author of 13 novels, was in China to talk about his award-winning novel The Eternal Son.

The novel was named by Financial Times as one of the best books in 2013, and a Chinese edition was recently released.

Based on Tezza's own experience raising a son with Down syndrome, the novel follows a young writer facing the challenges of fatherhood.

Bernardo Fernandez, the Mexican sci-fi writer and illustrator known as Bef, also recently visited Beijing, Suzhou, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

His new novel, The Lizard's Eyes, was recently published in Chinese.

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