This project is one of citizen journalism: to write dissident Chinese exile Tumen's story and tell it to the international literary community.
TumenUlzii Bayunmend is perhaps the most famous ethnically Mongolian Inner Mongolian writer. His essays about politics exiled him from China, where his wife and daughter still live. His wife was strip-searched at the border; Inner Mongolian dissidents over the last year have been arrested outside the UN in Ulaanbaatar. I met TumenUlzii in September of 2007 during my year as a Henry Luce Scholar working as a literary translator for the Mongolian Writers Union, and collaborated with PEN Freedom To Write to get him UNHCR Refugee Status--but he has yet, after five years in Ulaanbaatar, to be resettled somewhere safe.
This project is one of citizen journalism: to write Tumen's story and tell it to the international literary community. The paper I would present at the Writers and Literary Translators International Congress (WALTIC) in Istanbul in September is about Tumen in the hopes that he would get more international attention and therefore inoculation against the Chinese government and assistance out of Mongolia with his family joining him.
I have already been accepted to WALTIC on the premise of my abstract, I just don't have the means to get there, eat and sleep for three days, and make the presentation--and the conference offers no scholarships. I will likely be the youngest presenter, and it is such hopeful news that the international literary community forming around WALTIC wants to hear his story.
Tumenulzii is a brave soul who lives without his family and personal safety every day. He deserves freedom of expression and a daily life with his family, as we all do. Thank you for anything you can do to help me spread the word about him and others like him.
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A postcard with a handwritten and one of a kind poem by yours truly!
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A thank-you note and a copy of the pamphlet I will assemble about Tumen Ulzii to hand out at WALTIC!
- (29 days)