60%+ of the global population, barely 1% of its literature

That’s right. More than 60% of the human race is Asian, but Asian literature comprises barely 1% of the global literary stage, according to the founder of the Man Asia Literary Prize, rest in peace (October 18, 2012).  No, I hope it doesn’t rest in peace.  One might consider global literature the last bastion of the Old World Order, with its concerns and issues and voices corseted by the past, fettered by inertia and the reluctance of Asian culture to support individual voices.

And how exactly can this change?  Like all change, step by step, until it reaches a critical mass or speed.  I’m one of those who writes in English; I, at least, have a chance, in a world where English dominates.

My concerns are your concerns; my passions and hurts and woes and joys are universal.

I used to think my voice was one of many and unimportant. Lately, I’m starting to understand that I write for many who’ve remained unheard for far too long–if this doesn’t change, then forever.


~ by Shirley Kwan on November 28, 2012.

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