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

  • We regret the passing, on April 11, 2024, of the distinguished Romanian author and critic Dan Cristea, who served as the editor in chief of the Luceafărul de Dimineață cultural monthly. In addition to being an alum of the 1985 Fall Residency, Cristea received his PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa.

  • Our congratulations to 1986 Fall Residency writer Kwame Dawes, who has been named the new poet laureate of Jamaica.

  • Congratulations to our colleagues Jennifer Croft and Aron Aji, who are among those serving as judges for the National Book Awards this year, in their case in the category of translated literature.

  • Ranjit Hoskote’s speech at the 2024 Goa Literary Festival addresses the current situation in Gaza.

  • In NY Times, Bina Shah worries about the state of Pakistani—and American—democracy.

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