Wednesday, May 23, 2018

EU-China International Literary Festival promotes cultural interaction

Zhou Xinyu, Global Times

images and captions from article
A Chinese female writer delivers a speech at the event.

Writers from China and Europe at the event 

Experience Europe

The opening ceremony of the 2nd EU-China International Literary Festival was held in Shanghai by the Delegation of European Union to China on May 21, officially opening the 2nd EU-China International Literary Festival, which runs from May 21 to 27 in Shanghai and from May 24 to 26 in Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province.

The EU-China International Literary Festival aims to introduce the diversity of European culture to Chinese readers and let Chinese readers experience Europe more intuitively. It is a part of a public diplomacy [JB emphasis] project called #ExperienceEurope held by the European Union (EU).

Several outstanding European authors from different European countries, including Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Estonia, together with 26 well-known Chinese writers, were invited this year.

The writers will engage in a series of literary events and discussions with readers and audiences, sharing their creative experience and their understanding of literature.

Audiences at the festival's events will also be privy to intimate discussions between these renowned authors on topics including finding creativity in research; the beauty of short fiction; global themes in local stories; three rules for writing; the creation of complex, well-rounded characters; and much more.

Literature has long been at the heart of the European way of life. The festival will thus be an opportunity to encourage young people to explore Europe and China's cultural and literary heritage and to reflect on the place that personal exchanges occupy in everyone's lives, according to the Ambassador of the European Union to China, Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, in a booklet about the festival.

Made in China

Gavin Corbett is a writer from Dublin, Ireland. His novel This Is the Way was named the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year in 2013. The Guardian described him as "one of the most refreshing novelists writing today." He said his deep engagement with the written world began with the word, "China."

"When I was very young, there was a shop in Dublin. It used to sell plastic products and kitchenware. Everything that was laid there used to carry labels, 'Made in China,'" Corbett said.

"The font of the word 'China' is very specific. After years and years, I see this typeface again today. On the way from the airport to here, I see this typeface everywhere. It connects me with the young boy who adapted the global written world."

Another prominent author, Zhou Jianing, is a fiction writer and literary translator. She said she does not believe that people can truly communicate with each other face to face.

"But it doesn't mean that writers can't communicate with each other at this festival. During this period, writers from different countries have to speak English. There must be many misunderstandings. But these misunderstandings can make up the most exciting part, as people can exchange ideas of the spark."

About #ExperienceEurope

Between May 2017 and April 2019, the #ExperienceEurope campaign by the Delegation of the European Union to China will entertain Chinese audiences as it informs them about the history, policies, values, economy, culture and lifestyle of the EU.

The overall #ExperienceEurope campaign will also feature cultural events, four large policy forums and a series of public lectures on issues such as peace and prosperity, the environment, education, trade and many other topics of interest.

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