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Literature Bridge from Europe to Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore

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Four prominent European authors toured South East Asia in early November to meet fellow literary professionals and local audiences from the region.

Four European authors – Selja Ahava, Harkaitz Cano, Inga Gaile and Caryl Lewis–discovered how their books cross the borders of genre, subject and language, what they have in common and what is distinctive about their individual cultures.

The tour includes: the Singapore Writers Festival, the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators (APWT) Conference programme in Macau and a reading organised by Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.

About the authors

Selja Ahava (1974) is a novelist and scriptwriter from Finland. Her second novel, Things That Fall from the Sky is about people who face unexpected and inexplicable events. The novel was awarded with the European Union Prize for Literature in 2016, and was nominated for the Finlandia Prize and the Torchbearer Prize as well. Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah are the translators of the English version that was published by Oneworld in April 2019. Selja Ahava is currently working on her fourth novel that examines metamorphoses.

One of the leading literary figures of the Basque Country, Harkaitz Cano (1975) has published variety of work including poetry, short story collections, novels, essays and children’s books. His work has been widely translated into other languages including the novels A Blade of Light and Twist. While A Blade of Light explores the hypothetical meeting between Hitler and Charlie Chaplin, Twist explores the disappearance and brutal murder of two ETA militants by the Spanish army in the Basque country during the 1980s. Besides his original work, Cano has also translated work into Basque by authors such as Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg among others.

Inga Gaile (1976) is a leading Latvian poet, novelist, and playwright with a focus on stigmatized groups and feminist issues. To date she has published five books of poetry, including her latest Easter, and a book of poems for children, Can the Back Row Hear Me? Among her prose works is The Glass Shards, published as part of the series of historical novels titled We Latvia: The 20th Century. She has won the Latvian Literature Award and the Poetry Days Festival prize. Her first staged work, “Our Sylvia, who art in Heaven” focuses on the fate of Sylvia Plath.

An award-winning Welsh-language author, Caryl Lewis has widely published for adults, young adults and children. She came to prominence as the author of Martha, Jac a Sianco, which – like most of her work – explores the lives of farming families in rural Wales. Along with other pieces of work, she has been a three-time winner of the Wales Book of the Year. Lewis has also written extensively for cinema and television, notably adapting her novel for the film version.

The tour is made possible with the support from the Creative Europe Porgramme of the European Union and co-funded by the Etxepare Basque Institute, Latvian Literature and Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Wales Arts International and The Arts Promotion Centre Finland (TAIKE).