20 October 2015
I have just returned from the Read My World Writers Festival in Amsterdam, where I felt somewhat out of place in the company of so many outstanding novelists, poets and artists – me being the odd one out, the badly dressed academic hobbling about on his walking stick.
Yet it was an important event in so many ways, not least for the simple reason that it brought together European and South-east Asian writers to discuss the pressing issues of the present, ranging from migration to violence to political change and the uncertain future that humanity faces today.
It was clear to all that the issues that impact upon us now are humanity’s common lot – be it the threat of war or the very present problem of cross-border pollution and the degradation of the planet. The illusion of a safe space, a private comfort zone, where one could insulate oneself from the horrors of the world is long gone. Yet what seems to be missing is the vocabulary that captures the anxieties and challenges of today in a manner that brings the problems we face into close, meaningful focus.
… The writer is an associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / Online / Print
Last updated on 13/11/2015