What a week for world literature, am I right Asymptote readers? I have a lot of good news, but also sad news, for you this week. Legendary Bengali activist and writer Mahasweta Devi, who had an unmatchable empathy and understanding for the oppressed classes, passed away last week. Her publisher Naveen Kishore and translator Gayatri Spivak remember her. Art is a gift, and Devi gave us so many gifts.
While Devi cannot be replaced, there are so many up and coming writers all over the world that are starting to make their names in world literature. Literary prizes are now being announced. Longlists and shortlists galore, and winners too! The winners of this year’s Jewish Culture prize for literature are Haim Sabato and Sarah Friedland. Friedland is a poet and Sabato channels the Sephardic traditions of Torah.
Now for a more contemplative recapitulation of the week to calm ourselves down. If you’re looking to learn more about Brazilian literature, especially with the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro approaching, I more than encourage that you read GLOSSOLALIA. The second issue focuses on “Women Writing Brazil.” It’s got activism, it’s got feminism, and many more -isms for your reading and thinking pleasure.
Did someone say thinking pleasure? Because that’s exactly what happened in Muzeon park in Moscow this past weekend. Writers convened to discuss the “pressing cultural issues of the age.” Tolstoy would be proud!
I leave you, dear readers, with a somewhat scary bedtime story from The New Yorker. This recent essay discusses how Rousseau might have predicted the rise of Donald Trump. On the bright side, it’s always a good sign when writers transcend history. Until next week, and don’t worry, there’s a night light, so you can read till you find peace in Asymptote’s July issue, “The Dive.”
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