Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Troubled Paradise: Kunzru on Maldives, Deepika on Bali

Novelist Hari Kunzru seems to have had a bad time in Maldives. He recently went to the tropical paradise to have a nice time in the sun and sand but came back home a lot more angry. He writes in The Guardian:

"'However,' the tourist board site goes on, 'there is more to the Maldives than just that.' Too bloody right there is, as I found out the other day when I attended a meeting of PEN, the writers' organisation that campaigns for freedom of expression, working with people around the world who've been imprisoned or otherwise abused for writing or saying things their authorities don't like."

At the meeting I heard reports of torture, imprisonment and disappearances in these 'paradise' islands..."

Bali was in news again for terrorist bombings for the second time. Another paradise in peril! But the people of Bali have decided to fight terror with books and literature. Deepika Shetty of Channel NewsAsia was in Bali recently to take part in the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival. She had a great time there, and in her report in Kitaab, she shares some interesting anecdotes about writers like Michael Ondaatjee and Nury Vittachi. Enjoy!

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