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海派文化

11位外国作家将驻沪写作两个月 - 2019年10月18日

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

As one of the iconic landmarks of Shanghai, the Bund has attracted countless travelers from all over the world with the charm generated from its century-old history as a waterfront foreign street where East meets West through the cluster of Western-style buildings.
Yesterday, it received a new group of visitors, nine foreign writers, invited by the Shanghai Writers’ Association to stay in the city for two months to experience life here as part of the 2019 Shanghai Writing Program. They are from countries including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia and Mexico; some first-time visitors.
Three famous buildings were selected as their tour stops — the No. 1 Waitanyuan (former British Consulate in Shanghai), Fairmont Peace Hotel and its inner museum, and the Shanghai Customs House and its clock tower — so that they could have a better understanding of the area’s history.
At the No. 1 Waitanyuan, last in the line of 23 waterfront heritage buildings on the Bund, the writers enjoyed the elegant inner decoration of the place where the former consuls lived in olden times and the beautiful grand view of its yard.
The Fairmont Peace Hotel, once the “tallest building in the Far East,” looks like a grand dame standing still on the Bund. The well-designed structure and stairs are like a glamorous dress, while the elaborate and ornate decorations are like jewelry, which kept the writers busy with their cameras. They also visited a small museum about things related to the hotel.
The Shanghai Customs House opened its clock tower to the writers, where the 91-year-old Shanghai Customs House clock was sleeping. It wakes up every quarter of an hour and sings the song “Dongfanghong,” or "The East is Red," at different length — a quarter is the shortest and an hour is the longest. Inside the tower, writers learned the history of the building and the clock — and how it works. They also enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of the Bund from the tower.
In the afternoon, a forum “Explore the Bund” was held at the Shanghai Archives for the writers to discuss their thoughts on the tour, and the differences between the architecture and culture in their hometowns and in Shanghai.
“I really like Shanghai architecture. And in particular, I like the fusion of all traditional China and modern Shanghai,” said Viola Di Grado from Italy. “The reason why I like this mixture is because I feel like my psychological landscape is a bit like Shanghai because I have all these different things inside me. So I feel like I’m a bit of a Shanghai type of soul.”
British novelist Gerard Woodward told Shanghai Daily: “It’s been amazing. It has been so incredible to see the inside of these buildings, especially being up here, in the clock tower of the customs house. That’s all about the history of the city and the relationship between Shanghai and the outside world.”
Wang Wei, vice chairman of the writers' association, revealed that the Shanghai Writing Program, an important cultural exchange activity in the city, has been running for 12 years.
 "Literature is the easiest language in communication. Through this program, we bring foreign writers and discover how literature grows in their countries. Meanwhile, our literature goes overseas."
The event was co-organized by the Bund Subdistrict, Huangpu District Culture and Tourism Bureau, and Shanghai Daily.
 

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