Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The End of the World" in libraries in Ayudhaya

I grew up seeing Thai Airways' beautiful photographs on the calendar on my father's desk, and I was fond of Thailand long before I set a foot there. When the floods happened, the one little contribution a writer could make was to offer some books. So this is what I did. The books were donated by Books for Thailand, which operates under the auspices of the book distribution projects of the Asia Foundation.



Here's a letter from Khun Burin.

Dear Sushma,

Last week, Books for Thailand, the Annika Linden Foundation, The Asia Foundation, and The Nation Group went to Ayudhaya, our ancient capital, and distributed books to both primary and secondary schools, totaling about 250 schools. We distributed all copies of your book, too, so definitely the students and teachers will be reading it and will be able to related it to their experiences during our recent floods.

Again, thanks. Best, Burin

To donate books in Thailand and across Asia, contact the Asia Foundation which has programs to distribute books in many countries.
(Here's a photograph of my tuk-tuk driver who took me around Ayutthya. He was very pleased with the little bamboo grasshopper toy I gave him as a parting gift--proving that a gift doesn't have to be big to make people happy!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Terry Hong, resident BookDragon for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, reviews my book here.

I'd like to share a little anecdote: during the civil conflict in Nepal, where educated people were fleeing in mass numbers from Nepal for better pastures abroad, I met a young man. He had studied in the States, and he had returned home. When I asked him why he wasn't leaving, he answered: "My life is here, with these 26 million people. Whatever happens, I'm not leaving them. We'll have to go through this together." I'd like to clarify that what comes across as "resigned acceptance" in the last story (I could see how it could be read in this manner) is also another way to write about this innate homing instinct of Nepali people to return home, from whereever they are.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An author photo

Yangchen and I went to see "Happy Feet" today and I was heartbroken from it--remembering the glaciers breaking off and crashing into the sea in Alaska in 2001, where I went to Juno to study at the Breadloaf School of English during the summer. We saw some seals and we saw some humpback whales, singing in the sea. Will these animals--along with the penguins--last beyond the next five decades?

Yangchen took this photo and told me I look like a writer in this one. I think I'm pretending to be happy when deep inside I am saddened by human behavior and the way we are destroying the planet and each other through our acts. So here it is... the author photograph.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Gorkhalis of Myitkyina: Irrawaddy Magazine

Check out my article "The Gorkhalis of Myitkyina" in Irrawaddy. It was initially published by Himal South Asia in November 2011.

visita a mytkyina: El Ghibli

Check out my travel diary "A Visit to Myitkyina", now on El Ghibli. It has been translated to Italian.

l mio volo per Yangon del 18 giugno è stato cancellato. La Thai airways annuncia che hanno chiuso l’aeroporto di Yangon per le pesanti piogge. Nell’irrequieta oscurità della sala d’aspetto iniziano a spargersi le voci. L’esercito birmano ha occupato l’aeroporto, sussurra la gente. Manca un giorno al compleanno di Aung San Suu Kyi. È capitato qualche avvenimento mentre sono stati fuori? I giovani padri siedono fissando il vuoto, chiedendosi se potranno mai tornare a casa...

Note 2014: El Ghibli has been reorganized, so you can no longer find the story on the site. But I hope to publish it soon it an anthology.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Video from Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, 2009

Here's yours truely in Bali. Just found myself on the web! :-) I'm not sure why the video gets cut off abruptly--I think I was being asked if I had attended any other writers festival and I was just about to wax eloquent about the PEN's International Festival in New York (where I was actually just a member of the audience, not a featured writer or anything) before my 7 seconds of fame came to an end.

Check it out, cool background, reminds me of lovely Bali. And damn, I really like that little knitted thing I'm wearing. Bought it for $6 in Ubud and it was really quite a nifty sartorial invention!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Bangkok Post review of "The End of the World":