Symposium in the Maldives

The group listens to Suvani Singh as she talks about her ideas for potential projects in the next phase of the Silk Routes program.

March 16th - 22nd, 2014 twelve writers, teachers, literary organizers, and cultural entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the United States convened for a week-long symposium in the Maldives. The symposium began with a series of lectures and discussions on the writing traditions, pedagogies, and practices in the participants’ respective countries. Building upon shared heritages, participants collaborated to design culturally-relevant bi-lateral and multi-national educational initiatives centered on creative writing to be implemented at the local level.

Why the Maldives?

The ancient Silk Road was a network of trade routes that spanned more than 4,000 miles, linking the economies of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and providing a conduit not only for goods and technologies, but also for culture, ideas, and people. When conditions along the Silk Road complicated overland trade, traffic shifted to a maritime route. The island nation of the Maldives, astride the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean, once a key stop on that sea route, is an ideal location for the people-to-people exchange of creative writing pedagogies, regional networking, and cooperative project development that form the core of the Silk Routes project. As rising ocean levels threaten this island hub, a united effort is needed to reinforce the cultural linkages of the historic Silk Road, and to build a new Silk Road linked by the creative economies emerging out of the pedagogy and practice of writing.

Happening Now

  • To mark PEN International’s centennial, Words Without Borders has published a sampler of works by writers committed to freedom of expression. Algerian novelist and scholar Med MAGANI is among them.

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

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