To know the ethnic groups, read their prose
Updated: 2013-08-27 14:21
By Liu Jun (China Daily)
Ou Ning, editor-in-chief of Chutzpah!
Aydos Amantay, a young Kazak writer who grew up in Beijing, pulls the reader's heartstrings with his passionate confession about the loss of his cultural roots.
In his novella titled Loser, a university dropout returns to his hometown in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region as a temporary volunteer teacher. The students offer him buttered naan bread dipped in milk tea, then they sing folk songs, holding hands in a tight circle.
Still, the teacher finds it hard to get back to his cultural roots, just as it is hard for him to pick up Kazak, or for his students to learn Mandarin.
But when an outsider sneers at them, the teacher finally stands up for his people.
Distinctive characters like these draw readers like a magnet to the 14th issue of the Chinese-English literary journal Chutzpah!
"Chutzpah" is a Yiddish word for audacious behavior. With the Chinese name Tian Nan, the bimonthly funded by Modern Media Group in April 2011 features original fiction, poetry and essays with sample translations in the section Peregrine.
The June issue presents 12 authors seeking their cultural roots including Amantay and Uygur author Alat Asem. Except for Shanghai-based Ren Xiaowen, whose novella Balcony is translated by Eleanor Goodman, all the others come from ethnic groups, telling stories from folklore, childhood and present life.
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