The Stars Rise in the East panel discussion. (From left) Nury Vittachi (moderator) Xu XI, Nicholas Jose and Madeleine Thien considered what kind of animal Asian Writing is, whether writers find the label useful, and where and how it's best for Asian writers to get published.
I was so pleased to finally meet Xu Xi because I chose one of her stories for the Collateral Damage anthology and we exchanged e-mails at the time. (Had I known what an impressive track record of publications she has, I think I would have held back from suggesting "improvements" to her story! Haha.)
Immediately after the session there was a launch party for a new regional support network: the Asia Pacific New Writing Partnership, which sounds incredibly exciting and is surely something that can be used to help our own writing community here grow. (Please do check it out here, and on the Sydney Morning Herald's blog.) I later had a chat to (Asia Pacific) Executive Director, Jane Camens and we exchanged contacts. I really hope something comes of it - funding, events, courses.
Asia was also the topic of another panel the following day, not surprisingly, with Korean author Lee Hye Kyung, Singapore's Catherine Lim, and Indonesia's Deborah Yatim. The women shared what had influenced their writing.
I had read some of Catherine Lim's short stories and very much enjoyed them. Nothing though had prepared me for what a lively woman she is. The stories just spill out, and they're all fascinating. (I hope they get written!) I invited her up to KL to do a reading and she said she'd love to come, but she doesn't read, she only wants to talk to her audience!
Next time someone asks me who my ideal dinner party guest would be - i think I'll choose Catherine!