To hold a pen is to be at war, Voltaire
I laughed when I saw that John Banville wrote his Benjamin Black thrillers in a fraction of the time he wrote his literary prizewinners, leaned back from his keyboard, looked in the mirror and said to himself, "You slut."
So, sluttishly, I say hi to anyone who might have stumbled here and continue to be contactable at the email in the sidebar.
Yours, slutty and productive,
(Secret Pen Name)
The year 2013 is three quarters over and I have published two out of three of the historical espionage novels planned for this year. They are so far out of my comfort zone and yet the material has been so much fun to explore, I'm sticking with a pen name that I'm keeping a close secret. Research took the better part of a year (plus a lifetime of reading about the period.) Working on a longer story arc spanning three volumes, each 300 pages long, has been a major undertaking.
I'm looking forward very much to my gig as speaker on e-publishing at the 8th Geneva Writers' Conference, Feb 3-5, 2012. Having now seen five novels, a play and a short story through the process, I've studied the pitfalls and pleasures of seeing work reach a new audience.
The politics of this explosion of untrammeled publishing via Amazon, Smashwords and other e-publishing channels is shaking up a jittery industry of traditional publishers and triggering a virulent battle over setting industry standards for division of spoils (royalties) and best means of achieving "discoverability" (online marketing) for books.
It's bound to be a lively discussion. Hope to see you there!
For e-books, click on the book image to go to amazon.com/amazon.uk to buy a Kindle or go to www.Smashwords.com, for all other formats like iPad, Nook, Sony, Kobo and Diesel.
January 27, 2011
At last, PEN Suisse Romand's Honorary Prisoner, Chinese writer and political voice He Depu, has completed his eight years' imprisonment in Beijing No. 2. He was released January 24. Insisting he was a free man, he declined to be bundled into a police van without a fight, sustained some injuries at the hands of the police, and no doubt some struggles wll continue for him, particularly with the restrictions the authorities have imposed on his speech and civil rights. But he and Jia Jianying, his loyal and courageous wife, can at last enjoy the simple pleasures of being together after so long.
Sponsoring Mr. He Depu was always more my privilege than of any material help to him. Over the last five years, his perseverance and the bravery of his wife and son in enduring their own unofficial isolation at the hands of the Chinese Communist authorities, has served as an inspiration to me. Moreover, the tables unexpectedly turned in 2009, when my health took a terrible turn and it was this Chinese couple, whom I have still never met, who sustained me with their wishes of support and encouragement. As I joked with my doctors, you know you're pretty sick when you're getting "get well" messages and sympathy from somebody in Beijing Prison 2!.
I'm confident that the Year of the Rabbit is going to be a better year for all of us, and although I've lost a very special correspondent, the world has regained an important voice for Chinese democracy.
Here's the press release from China Human Rights Defenders:
Democracy Activist He Depu Released After Eight Years in Prison
On January 24, He Depu (何德普), Beijing dissident and one of the founding members of the banned China Democracy Party, was released from prison after serving an eight-year sentence for "subversion of state power." He reported that, shortly after leaving the prison, he was involved in a physical confrontation with a police officer who sought to take him to a local police station. Though He's hand was injured, he was allowed to return home and is not in police custody as of the time of writing. Reportedly, friends and fellow activists were warned not to meet with He following his release, and his wife Jia Jianying (贾建英) was called in for a "talk" with police ahead of her husband's release.
JAN 17, 2011
Can it be only one more week, and He Depu actually walks out of Beijing Prison No. 2, having completed his sentence at long last?
it seems so long since we took up his case at PEN Centre Suisse Romand and what little we did, it wasn't enough for someone who's suffered so much for the simple "crime" of running for office under the Democracy Party banner and being tortured to "confess" state subversion for believing in the future of a democratic China.
One more week...
If there were any justice in the "people's" China, tomorrow would be the long-awaited day of release for PEN. Suisse Romand's Honorary Writer in Detention, He Depu. He has served exactly all eight years of his sentence on a conviction based illegally (under Chinese law) on evidence obtained through torture. His immediate release was demanded by the UN Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak years ago — to deaf diplomatic ears at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Unfortunately, Mr. He won't be walking out of Beijing No. 2, Cell 17 tomorrow because the Chinese courts have refused to acknowledge or credit him the 85 days of police detention, torture and beatings prior to his conviction. They intend to continue incarcerating him until January 24, 2011. Their reason? His wife's failure to provide "sufficient evidence" that he served time strapped to a "shackleboard' being battered by the Beijing cops.
His wife has registered a second appeal. Meanwhile, during a brief conversation in prison with his wife in recent weeks, Mr. He was nonetheless upbeat, saying, "I'm proud to be wearing the same uniform as (Nobel Peace Prizewinner) Liu Xiaobo and to be carrying the same charge on my shoulders." That charge of state subversion in 2002 was laid on Mr. He for the "crime" of running for political office under the banner of the China Democracy Party.
This amazing laywer with the Beijing Huaji Law Firm got dragged into the Fengtai Public Security Bureau in Beijing and what resulted is his defiant, funny and revealing Twitter'ed transcript of the political quarrel between him and the deputy boss of the Fanjiacun Police Station. In English, translated by China Digital Times, here is another visit to Kafka Land, otherwise known as the post-Nobel world of the Chinese intellectuals being detained on the mainland. This guy is someone to watch!
Is the Chinese government so weak, it's afraid of the voice of a single little old lady?
JULY 8, 2010
On behalf of our PEN Centre Suisse Romand I have the pleasure and privilege of nominating our Honorary Prisoner, Chinese Writer in Detention He Depu, for the inaugural Liu Xiaobo Courage to Write Award of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. The final decision will be announced on November 10, the global Writers in Prison Day. We wish all the nominees good health and strong spirits.
After twenty years' reporting from Asia for BusinessWeek, the Economist, Washington Post and International Herald Tribune, Dinah Lee Küng traded in her reporter's notebook for family life in the Geneva area. She has published three novels: "A Visit From Voltaire," "Under Their Skin" and "Left in the Care Of."
This website is posted for two kinds of visitors:
Fiction fans will find reading guides for the novels and details on the books as well as reviews and comments.
Non-fiction types who share an interest in freedom of expression will find news of Küng's advocacy on behalf of writers in detention, as well as links related to the work of PEN Int. and an archive of PEN letters to Yahoo, the Chinese government and others on behalf of Chinese writers in detention.