How hard is it to remain within our comfort zones when we read and write? How does the writer’s gaze remain unwittingly locked by long-established conventions? As the world’s economic power bases have begun to shift away from Western nations of the past few decades, writers from non-Western conventions have begun to question the boundaries of literature, using rapidly changing social structures to propose a new relationship between reader and writer. Drawing from his new novel, We, the Survivors, Malaysian author Tash Aw discusses ideas of language, race, class and national identity with Mark Mazower.
Tash Aw is the author of four novels and a portrait of a Chinese-Malaysian family, The Face: Strangers on a Pier. His work has won the Whitbread and Commonwealth Prizes, an O. Henry Award and twice been longlisted for the MAN Booker Prize. His fiction has also been translated into 23 languages. His writing regularly appears in the New York Times, the Guardian and the London Review of Books, among many other publications. He was the inaugural Judith Ginsberg Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris.
Mark Mazower is the Ira D. Wallach Professor of History at Columbia and Director of the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination.
The Maison Française and Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination are proud to host a new series, the Institute at the Maison, presenting talks and events on campus showcasing the work of the Institute in Paris and providing a forum for the remarkable creative artists, scholars and writers who have been Fellows there. This event is also co-sponsored by Columbia Global Centers / Paris, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities.