Asian Literature Festival focuses on myths and women

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Asian Literature Festival focuses on myths and women

 
Literary talents will gather in the city of Gwangju for a four-day event this week for The Asian Literature Festival. From Thursday, the festival will share insights from writers from both Korea and abroad through online and offline channels. It lasts until Sunday. 
 
For the third edition of the event this year, the festival has decided to shed light on 100 years of Asian literature, especially that which focuses on myths and women. A total of 29 writers, 10 from overseas, and 19 from Korea are participating and will discuss how Asian literature has evolved over time.
 
Under the title “Moon of Asia, 100 Years of Literature: Myths and Women,” the festival delves into how many countries in Asia have recorded their own dark times in history such as fighting for independence, or violence against social minorities, and how they strived to push such dark pasts behind them.
 
“Many countries in Asia have gone through times of being colonized for a long time after they were invaded by stronger nations,” said the Asia Culture Center in its statement explaining the reason for holding the event. “Literary works in many Asian countries have recorded wishes for peace as well as the fight against violence even when their lives seem to have continued in dark.”
 
The center finds the theme a good fit for this year in particular, as Korea commemorates the 40th anniversary since the May 18 Democratic Uprising, the event which led Korea to push for democracy. The location where the center now stands is where fighters for democracy were kept behind bars and threatened at gunpoint.
 
In line with the theme, many experts invited have worked on writing depicting dark times. 
 
Turkey’s Bejan Matur of “The Sons Reared by the Moon” and “How Abraham Abandoned Me” has dealt with many of the political issues in her own and neighboring countries as well as issues related to minority tribes and women. 
 
Meena Kandasamy of India known for her works “Touch” and “Ms. Militancy," as well as her presence on Facebook and Twitter that voices women’s rights, is also participating in the festival, as is Shaheen Akhtar of Bangladesh for her work “The Search” which focuses on violence against women during the fight for Bangladesh's independence.
 
Korean writer Han Kang, winner of the Man Booker International Prize, is among 19 Korean writers leading talks and conferences during the event.  
 
During times when many Asian countries were dealing with colonization, they had a different so-called enemy to fight, but with the pandemic, the world now has the same disease to fight against, the festival said.
 
“The coronavirus, just like the Army invaded to colonize [many nations], is blocking all the paths across the world, suppressing freedom, and keeping people quarantined,” said the festival. “Just like many enlightened resisted underground in the past, we are bringing together all the online devices to make the festival happen even during the times when meeting in person with many different literary experts cannot happen.”
 
BY LEE SUN-MIN   [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
 
The third edition of the Asian Literature Festival with the theme “Moon of Asia, 100 years of Asian Literature; Myths and Women” runs until Sunday at the Asia Culture Center in Gwangju. The event is both available for visitors to the center as well as home audiences who want to watch the event online. To follow the event online, go to the Asia Culture Center’s website www.acc.or.kr to watch writers talk or the center’s other social media channels like YouTube.  
 

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