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

  • Kristian Sendon CORDERO (IWP '17) co-edited a special issue of Words Without Borders on writing in the Philippines. Its range of poetry in the country's many languages includes Filipino work of Genevieve ASENJO (IWP '12).

  • Muhamed "Nabo" ABDELNABI (Egypt, IWP '13) has been awarded France's 2019 Prix de la littérature arabe for his 2016 novel, published last year in the UK as In the Spider's Room .

  • Over on  Asymptote, in English and Cantonese, the long poem " The Man Who Lost HIs Shadow,"  by Hong Kong poet and editor Stuart LAU (IWP '17).

  • On fish-paste English and cheddar-English: a long interview at LARB (Los Angeles Review of Books) about language, politics, and language politics with Burmese poet and worker KO KO THETT (IWP '16).

  • Behind the 2018+ 2019 Nobel Prizes for Literature given to novelists Peter Handke  and Olga Tokarczuk are translators--one key among them Jennifer CROFT, novelist as well as translator from the Polish, Ukrainian, and  Spanish. Congratulations!

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