Wistful: A musing on how things change by Graham Lawrence, creator of Eastlit, educational consultant, editor, writing mentor. Banglamphu, Thailand.
Well finally it is here. It is something I have discussed several times previously. But after a year on a work project mixed in with some risk taking, lots of hard work by the team, creativity and a couple of partnerships, it is here. At the American University Alumni Language Center (AUA) where I work, we are able to offer English language learners the opportunity to learn English online.
A year ago I was tasked with working on three streams of new work to move the AUA Language Center forward. These streams were:
- Corporate Teaching – to offer teaching to staff at companies and offices; to offer a full range of English language services to companies and organizations.
- Online teaching – to offer a full range or options for students to learn English online.
- External Testing Services – to offer a variety of testing services mainly aimed at companies and organizations.
This post though concentrates on the online English learning stream.
At the AUA Language Center, we are now able to offer a full set of options for learners:
- Online Language School – students can learn from beginner to advanced level; they also have the option of a series of special courses. Students can also join small group classes with native speaker teachers 24/7/365.
- Writing Online – learners concentrating on writing English can learn with experienced writing teachers.
- Online Community Learning – a cheap option where students can join the AUA Online community. One benfit they get is free membership of the AUA Online Facebook learning group. Here they get a new lesson every week to help them learn autonomously. They also get access to a native speaker teacher to discuss the lessons each week.
After one year of work these can now all be offered to the people of Thailand, and anywhere else. With lots of hard work by the team we have now achieved our vision of giving students the chance to learn English online anywhere and anytime – our mantra from the start.
It is thank you to all the team members, and those who have helped and encouraged us along the way – you know who you are. And also thanks to our partners at elllo who supplied some material and Voxy for the option of a great partnership.
And it is not all over there because the next program will be for students to have video meetings with teachers in a more private learning experience.
The future is looking bright
The next issue of Eastlit will be the 50th. It will be out in early April just before the Thai New Year. Back in 2012 when Bryn and I launched the journal we never thought it would go that far. The idea of having a journal for literature focused on East and Southeast Asia was mainly one of interest to us and a way to give something back to a region that had treated us well.
Now, however with almost 5 years having passed it still seems like only yesterday. In that time we have featured hundreds of writers, poets and artists. A few have featured many times. Most have appeared only once. Around 30% have been first time published writers.
Well over 50% are now non-native writers. And that was one of our initial aims – to raise the profile of local writers using English as a medium. So this statistic is particularly pleasing.
Along the journey we had the short two issue incarnation of Southlit as an independent journal before it was integrated into Eastlit as the Southlit Supplement featuring the writing and poems of South Asia.
And as we approach the 50th landmark, things are now very different. There has been a rise of literary journals across the region led by local writers and publishers. The English literary scene is more advanced and confident than it used to be. With this change it leads us to think what direction should Eastlit take in the future. Should it remain the same? Should it move in a new direction? Is there still a need for it? All of these are things that I find myself mulling over and the 5 year anniversary towards the end of this year seems a good time to see.
In the meantime we still see the readership increasing. It is currently expanding at a rate of 40% seasonally, which is about double of last year. The number of submissions is reaching a level that can we only just about handle without expansion. All of these are also things that we will need to think about in the future.
However for now, I just want to let people know that Eastlit has reached the half-century with some primary goals achieved.
These grammar activities look useful:
The following activities practise the structure ‘to be able to’, and were designed for a pre-intermediate class of mixed ability. However, they can be adapted to practise other structures of lesser or greater complexity, depending on the level of the class.
Grammar is best taught by activity in my experience.
I haven’t mentioned the last three issues of Eastlit until now. Between them they contain over 40 pages of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, novel extracts, reviews and artwork. These can found by hitting the links in the pictures or text. All of this is Asian focused writing, poetry and artwork.
Eastlit March 2016 introduced 9 new writers and poets to Eastlit readers. It featured an Indian themed cover picture by Sheri Vandermolen. Southeast and East themed literature dominated this issue with a small Southlit supplement covering South Asia.
Eastlit April 2016 brought us a further 9 authors and poets new to Eastlit. Again the Southlit supplement was a bit lighter than the Southeast and East Asian published material. The cover featured a crisp professional shot of the mountain Panchchuli by Kamakshi Lekshmanan.
And finally Eastlit May 2016 which has just come out adds another eleven contributors new to Eastlit. The Southlit Supplement is also a lot bigger in this issue which features the most published material of the last three issues. The cover picture is a simple southeast Asian shot call ed Apocalypse by me. This issue is also unique in that it features our first published Iranian contributor: Oasis by Husian Abdulhay.
I hope if you enjoy modern literature focused on Asia these three issues of the journal will bring something of interest to you. They have certainly been good for all of us involved in the production of Eastlit.
Over the coming months there will be a number of changes to Eastlit.
The regular banner picture in the Southlit Supplement will be changed. As we try to give Southlit its own unique feel, we may go to regular changes of this banner every 6 or 12 months, so that there is a mix of continuity and change and to show the cultural diversity of the South Asia region.
The Eastlit literary services previously mentioned elsewhere will finally be launched. We hope that these professional services priced at below normal rates will enable more authors to be able to get the help they need to push their literary careers on.
Lots of new things for Eastlit in the coming year. For all of my friends who support the development of literature in English by non-native writers and literature focused in Asia please take a look, and please help us to spread the word.
In the coming year we hope to partner Eastlit with similar journals in other non-native writing regions and regions that get less exposure such as Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and the Middle East. The aim is to combine the readerships in these places to ensure all the journals can guarantee their writers, poets and artists exposure to a far bigger audience.
Eastlit will also now be offering writing services at very affordable prices to help more people get the advice, help and confidence they need to achieve publication.
And apart from all that, there are a few special publications coming up. All the details can be found at the link below:
Literature News 2016. Eastlit a journal of literature & art focused on East & Southeast Asia: Eastlit announces plans for development in 2016.
Eastlit is a journal and network of supporting sites focused on creative writing, literature and art from or connected to East and South East Asia. The February issue has been out for a while now. If you haven’t seen ityet, why not take a look? Hit the link in the picture or in the information below.
Eastlit February 2016 Cover. Asian creative writing. Southeast Asian literature. Asian poetry. Asian fiction. Asian artwork. Asian non-fiction. East Asia
…This month’s issue includes fiction, poetry, non-fiction and artwork. This issue also features yet another Southlit supplement.
Eastlit January 2016 Cover. Asian creative writing. Southeast Asian literature. Asian poetry. Asian fiction. Asian artwork. Asian non-fiction. East Asia
This is the first issue of Eastlit in 2016. This year the aim is to publish one each month for a total of 12. After achieving this in 2013 and 2014, we were only able to come up with 10 in 2015 due to work and family. I am sure 2016 will be back to normal!
Eastlit Regional Growth
This issue has a lot of contributions from Malaysia and is being well read there too! It is nice to see this following on from similar trends in The Philippines and Vietnam. One of the original aims was to better showcase fiction, poetry and non-fiction from East and Southeast Asia. To be achieving this so well in Southeast Asia is a pleasure for all of us. In 2016 we hope to further this and extend it better into East Asia.
Southlit Supplement & South Asia
Southlit Supplement was first introduced in 2015. Since then it has appeared in every issue of Eastlit. The move into South Asia seems to have been complimentary to what we have been featuring from East and Southeast Asia. Considering the cultures, this is no real surprise.
Southlit Supplement will continue into the coming year and already seems to be attracting both more contributions and readers.
As always we continue to take submissions in all categories:
- Novel extracts
We are also looking for anyone published by us who would like to be interviewed. Just contact us through the usual submission procedure. The link to the submissions guideline is in the title of this section.
And finally, if you would like to see more of what we are doing, head over to Eastlit Literature Journal.
Running a literature and artwork website means that I get to receive and store large amounts of files every week. Some of these files can also be of a very large size. That means reliable data storage that can be accessed from anywhere. So for years now I have been using cloud storage that can be accessed across platform for this. Every year I do a check on which service is the best. It is time for that again as 2016 approaches. This article offers a good overview.
Online storage is an integral part of life now, but with so many available it’s hard to decide which one to use. To help you make the right choice we’ve rounded up and tested 14 of the best cloud storage services, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Mega, Tresorit, Copy, pCloud, and OneDrive.
It is not surprising that Dropbox remains the industry standard. In fact it seems to be increasing its lead with One Drives negative changes and the Google Drive internal data loss and security issues. Probably the good thing is the increase in alternatives. This means more competition and that can only be good.
One big advantage that Dropbox has is that it is compatible across more platforms than and of the other services. As automation increases this is going to be critical. There is an advantage to being a specialist company such as Dropbox. They can concentrate on producing one quality product and constantly improving it. Others such as Google and Apple are producing a multitude of products. They also aim primarily at products that complement and work across their own architecture. This is great when everyone you are working or communicating with is using the same. However, if like at Eastlit you are communicating with people all over the world using a all kinds of different platforms, the Dropbox compatibility advantage is a big one. We will continue to use Dropbox into the future for our storage and also recommend it to others.
Well I have finally got something new up on Eastlit Live. And it feels good. I hope to have some more multimedia literature and artwork to add again soon. This is still a project that really excites me and I am actively seeking multimedia content of literature and art to post soon.
In the meantime here is Pangolin by Usha Kishore:
The poem Pangolin by Usha Kishore was first published in Eastlit May 2015.
If you would like to submit something, then you can contact Graham or go through the literature submission process of Eastlit. For Eastlit Live I will consider anything that is connected to literature or art, and that is focused on Asia.