Master’s in Education student and accomplished author Ms Fiona Khan has been selected for the 2020 Nanjing International Writers’ Residency Programme. The programme was established to improve the creative ability and multicultural understanding of talented writers from world cities with rich literary resources (particularly UNESCO Cities of Literature).
Each year, six to eight authors from participating cities are selected for a one-month residency programme in Nanjing, China to learn about different aspects of local culture, better understand local literature, and gain creative inspiration from these new experiences.
‘I am the only writer in the world to hold the residency for children’s literature and adult literature in the same year with two different countries. That alone is mind-blowing. My hard work for the past 30 years in this field has finally paid off,’ Khan said. She was also a part of the selection committee with EThekwini Municipality who chose Nanjing as one of the ten cities that were selected in 2019 as a UNESCO City of Literature.
During the residency programme, Khan will produce literary creations based on her experiences in Nanjing. She will be given a virtual tour of the city and the libraries, the cultural and historical background and the different dynasties that have existed in Nanjing. It will also focus on Nanjing as China’s first capital city and highlight the nuances and influences in the writing that has emerged from the city and the country.
Khan will also interact with other writers to discuss their books and influences and their style of writing. There will be bookstore tours and discussions on various cultural festivals and their representivity in books.
She will be working on the novel or a short story as a requirement of the residency. Chinese translations of her new works will be published on local media platforms at the end of the programme.
‘This will be a fantastic opportunity to get down to writing through shared experiences, different narratives and approaches to writing and the cultural and historical rhetoric,’ she said.