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10:35 Apr 19 2012

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Tibetan writers at London Book Fair
10:28, April 19, 2012  

Two Tibetan writers from China talked about their experience and writing at the ongoing London Book Fair on Tuesday to help people learn more about a real Tibet.

Alai, who was born in southwestern Sichuan province in 1959, recalled the education he received as insufficient but helpful.

"I was in a village and every day I drove the sheep uphill before going to school," he said. In the afternoon, the students raised their hands to remind the teachers to dismiss class, so that they could bring the sheep back home.

In comparison, Cering Norbu, born in 1965, was lucky. He grew up in Lhasa and received bilingal education there.

The environment gave them inspiration.

Alai finished his story King Gesar, based on the Tibetan epic with the same name.

"It was the epic of the Tibetan people, just as the Greek mythology to Greece," he said.

Dubbed the Eastern Homer, the Epic of King Gesar, an epic poem from Tibet, is a piece of intangible cultural heritage that China has been trying hard to preserve.

"Even today, many storytellers are still telling this story in the villages or on the farms," he said.

However, Alai noted that while the Greek mythology became novels, movies and musicals, King Gesar remained less known. "It is time to retell it," he said.

This is a difficult task. On the one hand, the epic was extremely long and it was hard to choose which part for retelling. On the other hand, some part has became obscure over the centuries.

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