Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cha: Literature From and About Asia

Cha is the Chinese word for tea and at the same time it's the name of a Hong Kong-based online literary journal in English founded in 2007. Tea and reading are a wonderful match, at least for me who adores fine tea and quality literature. Of course, it may not be the best idea to sip my organic fairtrade sencha while sitting in front of a computer, but then it's always good to be careful and pay attention to what we do, isn't it? 

It’s obvious that the publishers of Cha gave their literary journal and its website much thought. Probably, they share my taste for tea and reading like many others in the world. Or maybe they just wanted to name their journal after something typically Asian that would convey the notion of cosiness and relish. The name was a good choice for a journal showcasing "Asian-themed creative work and work done by Asian writers and artists", both established and emerging.

Cha is a completely free online literary journal that offers a rich blend of different literary genres with a focus on quality creative work ranging from poetry, fiction and drama to creative non-fiction, essays and reviews. As a complement also photography and graphic art get room in the journal appearing quarterly in March, June, September and November. On the website the last two issues show in the left panel with their respective link to the contributions by genre. Past issues are available via the archives page sorted by date of issue as well as genre.

Selected work published in Cha is later discussed and replied to in the section called A Cup of Fine Tea which seems to be a seperate website, though, and not very active, I'm afraid. There's also a Blog where updates about the journal and its contributors are being published and where bloggers can share their thoughts, at least in principle. At the moment I don't see much going on there, but then it's summer and we're all cutting back on our indoor activities.

The Guidelines for submissions that Cha published are rather strict. Being a journal for Asian literature and art, any work that isn't from or about Asia is ruled out from publication, of course. Submissions also need to meet many formal requirements and if they aren't met the submissions are being ignored without reading. On the other hand, it's a positive surprise to find that the journal also accepts certain texts that have been published previously in other literary journals and magazines. They are placed in a section called Lost Teas.

All in all, Cha looks like a very interesting online literary journal that allows people from around the globe who otherwise don't have easy access to Asian literature to discover a whole different world. It's definitely worthwhile to browse the site and get absorbed in some of the poetry and other texts.

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