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Program helps foreign writers soak up city life

SEVEN foreign writers have arrived in Shanghai to participate the two-month "2010 Shanghai Writing Program."

They will attend theme seminars to discuss with local writers, visit the ongoing World Expo, and interview migrant workers' children, among a series of cultural events.

Started in 2008, the project aims to provide authors who are unfamiliar with Shanghai a well-rounded experience of the city and its culture to inspire them for their future creations.

"Since we luckily coincide with the Expo Shanghai, I will suggest you to think about the theme 'cities and writing' and get inspired by an improved city," said Wang Anyi, chairperson of Shanghai Writers Association, the project organizer.

This year's residency program includes Hungarian novelist Bartis Attila, Israeli novelist and script writer Benny Barbash, Israeli novelist and painter Klil Zisapel, Cuban essayist and critic Ana Margarita Mateo Palmer, Cuban short story writer Raul Flores Iriarte, German freelance Tina Uebel, and Swedish poet Birgitta Lindqvist.

Most of these writers are not familiar with China although some have visited before, except for Lindqvist.

The 65-year-old poet lived in Shanghai for a few years when her husband was serving his terms for China's Foreign Ministry. She once published a collection of short stories titled "The Chinese Box" in 1997, about her experience in China.

"Our aim is not so much to require writers to write about Shanghai, but instead, to contribute to their creativity with diverse experiences that living in Shanghai brings," Wang concluded.


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