LitFest: Journey to the West Homage

A significant part of Literary Festival is our homage celebration, based around an author or a theme. In the past, we’ve featured named writers such as William Shakespeare, George RR Martin, Ursula K LeGuin and Terry Pratchett. Last year we celebrated, through the fictitious person of Scheherazade, the collection of stories from Arabia, Persia, China, India and beyond that has become known as the 1,001 Nights.

This year, the Literary Festival is based in the region Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙. In keeping with the Oriental theme of the region, our homage this year celebrates one of the four Great Classic Novels of Chinese Literature – Journey to the West.

Journey to the West is a novel published in the 16th century, during the Ming dynasty, and is attributed to the writer and poet, Wu Cheng’en. In English-speaking countries, it is better known as Monkey, the abridged English translation by Arthur Waley.

Journey to the West chronicles a legendary pilgrimage by the Buddhist monk, Xuanzang (called Tan Sansang or Tripitaka in the novel) to obtain some sutras, or sacred Buddhist texts. The “West” referred to in the title refers to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The novel is based on Xuanzang’s accounts, with the addition of folklore, mythology and fictional elements by the author.

The monk travels with three protectors, who have agreed to this task as atonement for their sins, and a dragon prince who disguises himself as a white horse, Tang Sanzang’s steed. His companions are: Sun Wukong, otherwise known as Monkey King, Zhu Bajie, known as Pigsy, and Sha Wujung, known as Sandy. They protect the monk from assorted enemies and demons on his journey (some of whom want to eat his flesh), and through their actions, hope to achieve enlightenment.

Sun Wukong, image by Adair

Our homage events for Journey to the West include:

Journey to the West: A presentation by Singh Albatross
Dragon’s Dreams on Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Friday April 23rd at 6am SLT
Sunday April 25th at 7pm SLT and
Wednesday May 5th at 6.30am SLT

Journey with Singh Albatros (aka Chris Mooney-Singh) to learn about the famous late Ming dynasty allegorical novel Journey to the West by Wu Ch’êng-ên tracing the epic journey of monk Tripitaka and his protectors – Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy and Yulong, the magical horse as they go on a quest from China to India in search of Buddhist scriptures. Singh will also read from his own Singapore-based magic realist novel in progress ‘Ghosts on a Bumboat’ which also draws on sources found in Journey to the West.

Singh Albatros’s presentation, filmed by Chantal Harvey

In real life, Chris Mooney-Singh is a published poet, fiction writer and new filmmaker who has been living in and writing from Asia for more than thirty years. Singh is a founding director of literary arts organisations working in education and the lit arts space. He is the co-founder of a literary cross-arts festival in Singapore with a keen interest in virtual world arts and communities. Read more about his work here.

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Journey to the West 101: Saffia Widdershins shares the basics
Dragon’s Dreams on Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Saturday April 24th at 10am

If you want the full scope of Journey to the West, do try and catch one of Singh’s fascinating presentations – but for those who just want to learn the basics, Saffia will holding a 101 session.

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Dancing in Chinese Myths: A LitFest Party
Dragon’s Blessing on Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Tuesday 27th April at 1pm SLT.

The annual LitFest party is always joyous! Following on from last year’s 1,001 Nights Party, this year we will be celebrating Journey to the West and our beautiful Chinese-themed Faireland with a celebration of Chinese myths and legends as our theme.

and don’t forget …

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Chinese Dance Practice with Ktahdn Vesuvino
Dragon’s Blessing on Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Sunday April 25th at 3pm SLT

Last year, we all had great fun practising for our 1,001 Nights party, with music and dances supplied by  Ktahdn Vesuvino – and this year we have the chance to learn our best Chinese dances, ready for the Party on Tuesday!

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Other Associated Events

The Story of Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙: Fiona Fei is interviewed by Zander Greene
Dragon’s Dreams on Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Friday April 23rd at 2pm SLT

The story behind the beautiful Faireland of Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙 is beautiful and fascinating – and just as fascinating is the story of its creation, and the artist whose vision created it – Fiona Fei.

Join us as Zander Greene interviews Fiona Fei about her work as an artist in real and Second Life, and learns the story of this unique Faireland.

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Boudicca Amat Reads … The Poppy War
Dragon’s Dreams on Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Saturday April 24th at 3pm SLT
Saturday May 1st at 3pm SLT
Saturday May 8th at 3pm SLT

A resident of Second Life since 2007, Boudicca began her SL weekly reading events in 2014 – and reading at Fantasy Faire has been a regular date on her calendar for many years.

For this popular event, she will be reading from The Poppy War, a modern Chinese fantasy novel by R.F.Kuang, an intriguing blend of fantasy and alternative history.

These readings will take place over three consecutive weeks. Don’t worry if you missed an earlier one – Boudicca will make the context clear!

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The Company Rides Out! LitFest Tour No.18: Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Market in Líng Xiāo Village in Líng xiāo lóng 灵霄龙
Friday May 7th at 5pm SLT

Hua Long Dian Jing, is a Chinese proverb meaning “painting a dragon, dotting its eyes.” The proverb comes from a story about an artist who painted a dragon who came to life as soon as the eyes have been dotted. The design of this region brings this proverb to reality, manifesting strokes of ink brush into a 3D world.

This Tour will be led by Saffia Widdershins; Musical accompaniment by Ktahdn Vesuvino

A RFL of SL Event

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