Monday, October 29, 2007


I was tired of waiting for my boss and Mongolian translator/teacher and the head of the Mongolian Academy of Culture and Poetry to all be in the same place for a meeting. So today on a lark I just went unannounced into the Academy office with the translated PEN center formation guidelines and a name card in my hand and i handed them to Mend-Oyoo, the head of the academy. I figured that's who he was. He was talking on his cell phone. He hung up, looked bemusedly at me, and was like (in Mongolian), "Who are you?" By the end of the meeting, when his bilingual assistant had gotten back, he had enlightened me a little more as to all the infighting between literary orgs, and emphasized that first building some friendship--or at the very least, civility--before just setting up a PEN centre was a good idea, and then having democratic votes between everyone involved to determine who'd be president, etc. I think going there on my own was a good thing. I'm going to a different writer's union than the one I work for soon. I'm also meeting with he head of the Mongolian National Library. EVERYONE is getting the same document, the guidelines for setting up a PEN center/centre. So far I've met with three org heads and been all dudes, dudes. Get along. All Mongolian writers know that not enough Mongolian literature is being translated and published abroad. All Mongolian writers know that Mongolian literature and writers deserve to be part of the international conversation. Regardless of disagreements within different schools of writing, everyone can agree on that fact and it's that fact that will drive the formation of an effective PEN center, if it ever happens.

1 comment:

samraat said...