Rory Watson on literature

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The Independent Culture
With a series of interactive events - talks, readings, films, cookery demonstrations and drama - the Chinese Moon Festival in Swansea, from next Thursday, which coincides with the annual mid-Autumn Moon festival of Chinese culture, aims to dispel traditional Western perceptions of China and its culture. The event embraces a wealth of first- and second- generation Chinese writers, many of whom have experienced the grasp of the Communist regime first-hand, such as Zhang Xianliang, a writer who spent 22 years either imprisoned or doing hard labour.

With an introductory talk by the Guardian's China specialist, John Gittings, the event aims to re-educate and enlighten Westerners in the wake of Jung Chang, who was catapulted to fame with her book Wild Swans.

If ignorance breeds prejudice, then this festival should do more than simply entertain. There is an evening set aside to highlight the role of Chinese women in writing, as part of a concerted effort to quash the myth of the Chinese female as a submissive and voiceless individual. Highlights promise to be Anna Chen (left), notable for being "the first Chinese punk", who presents Suzy Wrong - Human Cannon, a one-woman show on the status of Oriental women in society.

As will become obvious to those who attend, however, the main intention of this rich collection of artists is to entertain: Dr Frances Wood will consider the question of whether Marco Polo actually went to China, while Deh-Ta Hsiung (one of the top chefs in the UK) will give talks on Chinese cuisine. Readings by two acclaimed writers (of Chinese parentage), Maxine Hong Kingston and Evelyn Lau, will be complimented by talks on Chinese calligraphy, painting and art.

Venues around Swansea 14 Sept-17 Sept. Information from festival box- office on (01792 652211)

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