A 2016 Associated Press article entitled “S Korea covered up mass abuse, killings of ‘vagrants’” told the English-speaking world about one of the biggest human rights abuses in modern South Korean history. In the 1980s, in the run-up to  the Seoul Olympics, President Chun Doo-hwan’s dictatorship intensified a crackdown on “undesirables”, rounding them up and “rehabilitating” them. At one of the largest rehabilitation centers, known as the Brothers Home, the rehabilitation in fact consisted of slave labour and institutionalized physical and psychological abuse. Sexual violence was especially prevalent.

In 2009, Fudan University launched China’s first MFA program in creative writing, spurring a wave of such programs in Chinese universities. Many of these programs’ founding members point to the Iowa Writers Workshop and, specifically, its International Writers Program, which invited dozens of Mainland Chinese writers to take part between 1979 and 2019, as their inspiration.

Jaime came home drunk once. I woke up from the maid’s knock on our bedroom door. She said my husband was in the living room. Jun had him lie down on the sofa. When I got downstairs, Jun explained that Jaime and his clients seemed to have had a drinking spree. That didn’t surprise me. It was for times like these that we hired Jun as a driver. Jun apologized as though it was his fault. He said he didn’t know that Jaime was going to get that wasted. Jaime had thrown up in the back of the car. ‘Do not worry,’ I told Jun, this happens just once in a while. Just a few times a year. Only when he gets together again with his clients.

Vikramjit Ram’s novella Mansur re-imagines life amongst artists working in the imperial atelier of Mughal India. The emperor Jahangir had a deep interest in flora and fauna and dispatched agents far and wide to acquire exotic creatures that may delight him. It was the imperial painter, Mansur who was credited with capturing the sensitivity of these creatures. Such was the admiration of his works that the title “Rarity of the Present” was bestowed upon Mansur by the emperor.