When the Taliban took over Kabul in the summer of 2021, I—like many people around the world—kept asking such questions as: How did it all come about? What do we know about Afghanistan other than from a geopolitically inflected perspective mostly dominated by the US interests?
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Marilyn Chin is one of the most celebrated contemporary Chinese-American poets. Winner of the 2020 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, her collections include A Portrait of the Self as Nation (2018), Hard Love Province (2014), Rhapsody in Plain Yellow (2002), Dwarf Bamboo (1987) and The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty (1994, 2009) alongside a novel, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen (2009). Also a translator, she has translated poems by the modern Chinese poet Ai Qing and co-translated poems by the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu.
Poet and dancer, Tishani Doshi’s latest book, Small Days and Nights, released April 2019, narrates the story of Grace (half-Italian, half-Indian), who moves from the US to India, owing to the passing away of her mother. Her life unravels when a house is bequeathed to her, in a village by the sea, and she meets Lucia, a sister, she never knew she had. While Doshi’s last book, Girls are Coming Out Of The Woods, was a poetry collection that evoked feelings of resilience, fear, pain and wonder, her latest novel takes the reader deeper into the realms of familial relationships, loss, endearment and rebirth of emotions that get buried through time and distance.
2019 has been a standout year for Chinese soprano He Hui: the debut of three new roles; a successful run at the Met, including her debut Met Live in HD performance in Madama Butterfly and her 15th consecutive year (a first for a soprano) of singing at the Arena di Verona. And this weekend, He comes full circle as she returns to the Shanghai Grand Theatre, where she made her operatic debut in 1998, to perform Turandot, the Chinese princess of Puccini’s opera of the same name.
Nicholas Gordon talks to Lindsay Varty, author of Sunset Survivors: Meet The People Who Are Keeping Hong Kong’s Traditional Industries Alive.
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.”
Rosie Milne talks to Yeow Kai Chai, Director of Singapore Writers Festival.