Asian Review of Books editor Peter Gordon was named “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (“Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy”) at a ceremony in Hong Kong on 3 June.
In the summer of 2016, Hong Kong illustrator Joanne Liu was in New York City with a friend. Together they visited some New York museums but Liu felt a bit intimidated by the experience: “We just thought there were a lot of things we didn’t understand. We didn’t know what was going on.”
The first Uzbek novel to be translated into English has been awarded the 2019 EBRD Literature Prize. Author Hamid Ismailov and translator Donald Rayfield will share the €20,000 award.
Agnès Bun’s debut memoir, There’s No Poetry in a Typhoon: Vignettes from Journalism’s Front Lines (translated from the French by Melanie Ho), has been named “Book of the Lunar Year” by the Asian Books Blog. This annual award is decided by a reader poll.
Western complaints about Chinese-manufactured copies are nothing new. In 1801, a certain Captain John E Swords approached Gilbert Stuart to purchase a copy of the painter’s famous portrait of George Washington. Stuart, who had burned before, extracted a promise from Swords as a condition of the sale that he would have no further copies executed.
How did Asia fare in the best books’ races in the English language press? On the whole, it seems better than last year. The following (unscientific) sampling uses a broad definition of “Asian” in it’s selection, but nevertheless, the number of books about Asia, by Asian authors, in translation seems to have increased in the past twelve months, at least as far as end-of-year listings are concerned.
A subjective list of some books we particularly liked this year. Fiction (in translation and not), history, biography, literature, society, memoir, photography, religion, covering Asia from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, from Siberia to India.