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April 24 @ 18:45 - 21:00Free
My friend Ajay Gandhi is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University College. Our friendship has given him license to invite me to speak at a panel with three other writers. The common bonds between these three writers and me are geographical: we all write about Asia from our homes in Europe. The event blurb describes us as
shaping how Asia is represented in the 21st century.
This is the line-up:
- Gustaaf Peek, Dutch screenwriter and author of several books, including Dover (2008).
- Karen Kao, American novelist and writer of the Dancing Girl and the Turtle (2017).
- Huan Hsu, American journalist and author of The Porcelain Thief.
- Naema Tahir, Dutch-Pakistani-British author of Brieven in Urdu (2016).
First, each panelist will offer some brief opening remarks.
Then, there’s the actual panel discussion. We’ll be touching on topics like what it means to be an ‘Asian’ writer. What and where is the ‘real’ Asia is? How do we depict relations between Asia and the Netherlands in our writings? What challenges or limitations do we face when in representing the Asian perspective? This is when the audience gets to poke at the panel.
For the latter half of the evening, we’ll break out into smaller groups where, alone and cornered, each of us must each field questions from those members of the audience who choose to follow. It’s hard to know what topics will arrive, if any. Maybe no one will be interested in me, in which case I can read a book.
At least, there will be friendly faces there, in addition to Ajay our host. Last year, Huan Hsu invited me to give a guest lecture to the creative writing classes at the Amsterdam University College. Two years ago, I saw Naema Tahir brilliantly interview Mohsin Hamid when he came to Amsterdam to promote his novel, Exit West.
But if all else fails, there’s the Asian food and drinks to be served at the end of the evening at the college bar.