literature

Cuba's first English-language bookstore offers a selection that would just about stock the lobby of an average Vermont bed and breakfast. Next to what's available in English elsewhere in Havana, it might as well be the Library of Congress. The brainchild of a longtime U.S. expat, Cuba Libro launched Friday as a bookshop, cafe and literary salon that offers islanders and tourists alike a unique space to buy or borrow tomes in the language of Shakespeare. Cuba Libro also gives customers an occasional glimpse of opinions hard to find elsewhere on the island.

Although high-level diplomatic activities dominate the news, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia are also strengthening their relations through literature and cinema. In recent years, 48 Turkish books have been translated into Bosnian, with works by writers like Orhan Pamuk and Nedim Gursel becoming best-sellers. For the first time, Bosnian publishing houses displayed Turkish books at the country's 15th International Book Fair earlier this year.

The Journal of Chilean Diplomatic Academy, ‘Diplomacia’ has recently published various essays on famous writers who were also successful diplomats. The content is not only valuable for its biographic details but it could additionally open a topic that needs to be developed further by writers and diplomats.

Literary watchers in China say awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature to Chinese novelist Mo Yan will generate greater interest and spur the development of literature in the country. Channel NewsAsia explains why the win is even a source of soft power for the country.

Chinese state television hailed Mo Yan as "the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize in literature" following the announcement Thursday of the 2012 award... As part of its quest for soft power, Beijing has been obsessed for years about winning Nobel prizes, which in its view too often go to dissidents and emigres.

'Diplomat-poet' Abhay K has explored the intertwining of local with global, in his new book of poems which has been inspired by the famed global linguist Noam Chomsky's concept of universal common denominators.

Literature, the soul of cultural exchange, is giving conventional diplomacy a run for its space in South Asia with the mushrooming literary festivals that are provoking, discussing and building new bridges across cultures.

Five major literature festivals - the Jaipur Literature Festival, Mountain Echoes in Bhutan, the Kathmandu Literary Yatra, the Galle Literary Festival in Sri lanka and the Karachi Literature Festival - which have been showcasing literature as a medium of holistic exchange together with music, performing and visual arts and local lifestyles are forging a new south Asian solidarity on the strength of the region's soft power.

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