Man Booker Prize finalists Madeleine Thien and Graeme Macrae Burnet are among the guests authors for this year’s Script Road – Macau Literary Festival. The 6th edition of Macau’s largest and uniquely vibrant literary event brings various award-winning novelists, poets, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists together from 4–19 March 2017.
International award-winning Chinese writer Yu Hua and Australian Brian Castro — considered one of his country’s most imaginative novelists — are just two of the renowned talents attending The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival this year. Finalists for the 2016 Man Booker Prize Madeleine Thien — the daughter of Malaysian-Chinese migrants and one of Canada’s most highly regarded novelists — and Graeme Macrae Burnet — one of Scotland’s brightest literary stars and winner of a Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award in 2013 — also figure on the Macau Literary Festival roster.
Six years on since the Festival’s inaugural season, it has grown in size, content and range, continuing to focus on literature in Chinese and Portuguese, but also featuring prominent writers and creators from across the world.
“The Macau Literary Festival has become one of the principal cultural events in the region, bringing together people of many nationalities, all of whom love literature, and affording them the opportunity of a friendly interaction with world renowned authors“, Macau Literary Festival Director Ricardo Pinto said.
Yu Hua, author of the epic novel To Live (1992) and Brothers (2010), is hailed as “the most profound voice coming out of China today”. He is just one of the internationally acclaimed Chinese novelists attending this year’s festival. Zhang Yimou’s adaptation of To Live for the screen in 1994 contributed to the novel’s bestseller status and to Yu Hua’s worldwide celebrity. Yu Hua’s works have been translated into over 30 languages. In 2013 Yu Hua become a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.
The 2017 Script Road – Macau Literary Festival guest list also includes the iconic contemporary children’s literature author Qin Wenjun. She has published 80 books since 1982 with many of those stories attaining great popularity in schools across China.
The Festival public will also have the opportunity to hear and interact with other renowned authors such as Zhang Yueran, who was born in 1982, in Jinan, Shandong Province, and began writing at the age of 14. In 2012, she was named one of the top 20 writers under 40 by Unitas magazine. She has been Chief Editor of Newriting since 2008.
Among the acclaimed Chinese guest authors is Ouyang Jianghe. He has been a leading exponent of the Chinese New Poetry Movement since the 1980s and is also a prominent critic of music, art and literature and director of the editorial team for literary magazine Jintian (“Today”). Also in this category are btr — a writer and book, film and art critic living in Shanghai and the translator of Paul Auster’s The Invention of Solitude — and Wang Jiaxin — highly regarded not only for his poetry, but also for his essays.
Liu Waitong was born in Guangdong in 1975 and emigrated to Hong Kong in 1997. Through poetry Liu reflects on the past and present of Mainland China and Hong Kong. Also from Hong Kong are Dorothy Tse — award-winning author of So Black and co-founder of the Hong Kong literary magazine Fleurs de lettres — and Xu Xi — an Indonesian-Chinese raised in Hong Kong, author of several novels, including That Man In Our Lives (2016.)
The Festival also welcomes Lo Yi-Chin, whose books of fiction and poetry regularly feature on Taiwan’s top-ten literature lists. Among his awards are a First Prize in Fiction from the China Times Literary Award and a Taipei Literary Annual Award. One of his most important works is the novel Far Away, currently being translated into English. In this story the author recounts just how much the Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese have in common, despite being divided in so many ways.
Also from Taiwan is Chen Li. Hailed by literary critics as among the best representatives of contemporary Chinese poetry, he is the award-winning author of several books of poems. Together with his wife, Chang Fen-ling, he has translated over 20 volumes of poetry into Chinese including the works of Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz. Wang Cong-wei, Editor-in-Chief of Unitas, is another of the Festival’s prominent guests from Taiwan.
The Macau Literary Festival addresses the refugee and migration crisis exploring the meaning of multiculturalism and “mixed cultures”
This season the Macau Literary Festival aims to focus audience attention on some of the world’s most critical human rights issues.
“The Festival will present authors and films addressing some of the world’s most critical human rights issues, including the refugee and migration crisis”, Festival Programme Director Hélder Beja explains.
The Macau Literary Festival welcomes Sanaz Fotouhi, an Iranian-Australian author and General Manager of Asia Pacific Writers & Translators (APWT). She co-produced the documentary Love Marriage in Kabul and has worked on documentaries in Iran and Afghanistan including the award-winning Hidden Generation: Story of women self-immolation in Afghanistan. She has also published The Literature of the Iranian Diaspora: Meaning and Identity since the Islamic Revolution.
Clara Law, born in Macau and living in Australia since the 1990s, will screen her documentary Letters to Ali (2004), the story of an Afghan boy who seeks asylum in Australia. Producer and screenwriter Eddie Fong also joins the Festival.
The experience of being raised in a mixed-culture context will be explored by authors whose cultural heritage differs from the culture in which they were raised or currently reside.
Born in Hong Kong, the Australian novelist and essayist Brian Castro is of Portuguese, Chinese and English descent. He is acknowledged for his prose style and brilliant use of language, and his work has earned him wide critical acclaim and won many of Australia’s major literary prizes.
Also attending The Script Road are writer, poet and essayist from Goa, Jessica Faleiro, Kurdish author Ciwanmerd Kulek, and Korean Krys Lee, author of the short story collection Drifting House and the novel How I Became a North Korean.
Opening a door to the world of graphic novels
This year’s Festival offers a great opportunity to begin exploring the graphic novel genre — or for those readers already in the know, a chance to expand their horizons. Several authors of graphic novels — from France, Portugal, Australia and China — will be featured during the Festival.
Among them are names such as Philippe Graton — photographer, writer and author of comic books who decided to revive the Michel Vaillant BD series created by his father, Jean Graton, in 1957 — and Clément Baloup — son of a French mother and a Vietnamese father and author of Mémoires de Viet Kieu, focusing on issues of Asian immigration.
Thai-Laotian Australian Oliver Phommavanh, author of Thai-Riffic! and Con-Nerd, has been publishing books based on his experiences growing up in a migrant family in Sydney and is considered “a fresh and positive voice for multiculturalism”. From Shenzhen, China, comes comics artist Ziyuan Wu, also known as Dick Ng, renowned for his funny, nonsensical work.
Another major event on the Festival calendar is the attendance of Portuguese musician, film director and comic book author Filipe Melo. He directed the short film I’ll See You in My Dreams, winner of 12 awards, and wrote The Adventures of Dog Mendonça & Pizzaboy, a series of three graphic novels published by Dark Horse Comics. He often works with Argentinian artists Juan Cavia and Santiago Villa.
This year’s line-up also features such renowned names as American writer and translator Benjamin Moser — author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award — and from Hong Kong, Peter Gordon, Juan José Morales and James Shea. Invited by the Festival from Switzerland, Daniel de Roulet is a novelist who has been writing extensively about Japan.
The Festival also welcomes Grace Chia, a writer from Singapore, who has published several books including the novel The Wanderlusters, the short story collection Every Moving Thing That Lives Shall Be Food, and the poetry collections Womango and Cordelia. Chia is also the founder of Singapore’s first women’s online literary journal, Junoesque. She will be the Macau Literary Festival’s inaugural Writer-in-Residence at the Department of English, University of Macau, an initiative being launched this year (read more about this below).
New Zealand-born author Hannah Tunnicliffe, who has previously lived in Canada, Australia, England and Macau, is the author of several novels, the first of which, The Colour of Tea, is set in Macau. She is also founder and co-author of the blog Fork and Fiction.
The Literary Festival hosts the launch of acclaimed Portuguese musician and composer Sérgio Godinho’s debut novel
Portuguese poet, composer and singer Sérgio Godinho — one of his country’s most influential voices and musicians for the past 40 years — will launch his first novel, A Heart Too Perfect (Coração Mais que Perfeito), at the Macau Literary Festival.
Pedro Mexia, a prominent Portuguese columnist, translator, writer, poet, literary critic and political commentator, is welcomed by the Festival to talk about his work. Henrique Raposo — a writer and regular contributor to the Portuguese media — joins José Manuel Rosendo — the author of two books and a war correspondent who has covered international conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere — to debate the theme of refugees, immigration and terrorism.
Macau also welcomes Saramago Award-winner Bruno Vieira Amaral — cited by Literature Across Frontiers as one of the 10 new voices of European literature — and historical fiction novelists João Morgado and Raquel Ochoa. Ochoa is presenting a book on Manuel Vicente, the Portuguese architect who worked extensively in Macau.
A journalist and bestselling novelist in Portugal, José Rodrigues dos Santos returns to Macau for The Script Road. He is the author of seven essays and 16 fictional novels, some of them charting at no.1 in several countries, his total sales worldwide having exceeded three million copies.
Also attending the Festival is João Nuno Azambuja, winner of the 2016 Union of Portuguese-Speaking Capital Cities Literary Prize (UCCLA–New Talents). Azambuja is participating in the UCCLA’s Portuguese-Language Writers’ Summit, which will be held for the first time in Macau in partnership with The Script Road (read more about this below). Another of the Portuguese guests is poet António MR Martins.
The Festival also welcomes Abraão Vicente — an author from Cape Verde and his country’s current Minister of Culture and Creative Industries — as well as novelist Abdulai Silá from Guinea-Bissau. Author born in Angola, Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida, is also joining the Festival.
Celebrated painter and intellectual Konstantin Bessmertny is among the local guests who will host a literary session
Local and Macau-based writers and artists will also take to the stage, visit schools and universities, and host some of the Festival’s public sessions.
Audiences will have a unique chance to interact with one of Macau’s most internationally renowned artists, Russian-born Konstantin Bessmertny, who will host a literary session. Also participating in the Festival are professor, biographer and writer José Manuel Simões; Portuguese literature and post-colonial studies expert Inocência Mata; poet, novelist and columnist Rai Matsu; three-time Macau Literary Award-winner Lawrence Lei; and Executive Editor of Macau Literary Medley Eric Chau.
In the realm of the Visual Arts, the Macau Literary Festival will hold solo exhibitions by Hong Kong-born Australian artist John Young and by local talent Wong Ka Long, whose works are inspired by the Portuguese/Macau poet Camilo Pessanha.
In 2017 the Michel Vaillant BD series celebrates its 60th anniversary, and Philippe Graton inaugurates a Macau exhibition featuring some of the original prints from the album Rendez-vous à Macao (1983). Graton will also exhibit some of his work as a photographer.
On the Performing Arts calendar of this 6th edition of The Script Road are concerts by renowned musician Sérgio Godinho (15 March, Venetian Theatre) and by Taiwanese singer Christine C.C. Hsu (16 March, Venetian Theatre). Theatre company DEMO (Dispositivo Experimental, Multidisciplinar e Orgânico) will also make an appearance at one of Macau’s most iconic historical locations — to be announced soon — with a performance inspired by Camilo Pessanha.
The Macau Literary Festival partners with the University of Macau launching a Writers-in-Residence Programme
This year’s edition of the Macau Literary Festival celebrates the start of a new initiative: a Writers-in-Residence Programme organised in partnership with the University of Macau (UM) and its English Department. Singaporean Grace Chia has the honour of being the first author to participate in this two-week project, designed to promote the development of university students’ creative and writing skills.
The Macau Literary Festival aims to continue the Writers-in-Residence Programme as an ongoing series, in partnership with UM, bringing noted authors from various countries to the city and providing students with opportunities for extended learning.
The Macau Literary Festival cooperates with the Portuguese-Language Writers’ Summit and Cape Verde’s brand new Morabeza Literary Festival
The Macau Literary Festival has partnered with the Union of Portuguese-Speaking Capital Cities (UCCLA) to bring the Portuguese-Language Writers’ Summit to Macau. This literary summit has been held for the past seven years in various countries, most recently in Cape Verde in 2016, with this year’s hosting honours falling to Macau. The two organisations have collaborated to invite a number of the Portuguese-speaking authors who will attend the Festival.
Also in the course of this 6th edition of The Script Road, a partnership will be unveiled with the brand new Morabeza – Cape Verde Literary Festival, set to inaugurate its debut season at the end of 2017 in Cidade da Praia. The partnership provides for an author from Macau to participate each year in the literary event in Cape Verde, and vice-versa. Cape Verdean writer and current Minister of Culture and Creative Industries Abraão Vicente begins the partnership as this year’s emissary to The Script Road.
ABOUT THE MACAU LITERARY FESTIVAL
The 6th edition of the Macau Literary Festival will take place from 4–19 March 2017 and will be based at the Old Court Building — a former Government office erected in 1951 and located in the city centre — where a book fair will remain open throughout the event. A new anthology of short stories about Macau, published in three languages (Chinese, Portuguese and English), will be released during the Festival.
The Script Road – Macau Literary Festival was founded in 2012 by local newspaper Ponto Final — a periodical currently celebrating its 25th anniversary — and is based in Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR). The Festival began as the first and largest gathering of literati from China and the Portuguese-Speaking Countries ever organised in the world. In recent years, the Festival has gained in popularity, becoming an international event that welcomes renowned writers, publishers, translators, journalists, musicians, filmmakers and visual artists from various geographies and nationalities. The 2016 edition of the Macau Literary Festival brought together authors of 12 nationalities, including US writer Adam Johnson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 2012 novel The Orphan Master’s Son. In 2017, the Festival gathers guests from over 20 regions and countries, among them two Man Booker Prize 2016 finalists.
The Macau Literary Festival has the support of the MSAR Government and Macau Foundation, as well as that of several private entities including the Festival’s Platinum Sponsor: SJM – Sociedade de Jogos de Macau. A number of private companies, local associations, schools and universities also support the literary event. The Diplomatic Missions of some of the countries represented by writers attending the Festival have also lent their support to The Script Road.