Monday, 21 December 2015

Closing for Christmas

Merry Christmas! Merry reading! 
Best wishes for 2016!

The blog is closed from today, Monday 21 December, until Tuesday 12 January, when we'll be back with details of the Asian Books Blog Book of the Lunar Year Award, for the Year of the Sheep / Goat / Deer.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Tales of Two Cities: Hong Kong and Singapore

Tales of Two Cities: An Anthology of Short Stories by the Hong Kong Writers Circle, and the Singapore Writers Group presents four faces of each city: the changing city; the historic city; the mystical city; the capricious city.  There are twenty three stories in the collection, which has been co-edited by Alice Clark-Platts, and S. Micky Lin, from the Singapore Writers Group, and Edmund Price and Harmony Sin, from the Hong Kong Writers Circle.  Here, Alice Clark-Platts gives a glimpse of how the collaboration worked.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Indie spotlight: Christmas marketing opportunities

Indie spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. This month our regular columnist, Siobhan Daiko, who is herself an indie author, explains how Christmas presents many marketing opportunities, to those with a book to sell.

Just quickly

I wrote an account of viewing snow in Singapore, for the UK Telegraph. If you're interested, click here.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Lion City Lit: Swag

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Lion City Lit explores what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Here Jo Furniss introduces Swag, the new online literary magazine she's launching. Its events calendar,  which brings all relevant listings together in one convenient place, is already live, and is packed with ideas. From January, the quarterly journal will feature author interviews and new writing.

So: over to Jo…

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Just quickly

My weekly blog from Singapore for the UK Telegraph is here, if you're interested.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Thursday, 3 December 2015

500 words from William L. Gibson

500 words from...is a series of guest posts from authors writing about Asia, published by Asia-based, or Asia-focussed, publishing houses, in which they talk about their latest books. Here Jakarta-based William L. Gibson talks about Singapore Yellow, volume two in his 19th century Detective Hawksworth trilogy, set in Singapore and Malaya – it kicked off with Singapore Black, and will conclude with Singapore Red. The trilogy is published by Monsoon, a company specialising in books that open windows onto south-east Asian history.

Just quickly...

I wrote an account of the amazing building housing Singapore's new National Gallery, for the UK Telegraph.  If you're interested, click here.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Thursday, 26 November 2015

500 Words From Tim Hannigan

500 Words From...is a series of guest posts from authors writing about Asia, published by Asia-based, or Asia-focussed, publishing houses, in which they talk about their latest books. Here UK-based Tim Hannigan talks about A Brief History of Indonesia: Sultans, Spices, and Tsunamis: The Incredible Story of Southeast Asia's Largest Nation, published by Tuttle, a company specialising in books that build bridges between East and West.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Published Today: Little Aunt Crane by Geling Yan

About the book: In the last days of World War Two, the Japanese occupation of Manchuria has collapsed. As the Chinese move in, the elders of the Japanese settler village of Sakito decide to preserve their honour by killing all the villagers in an act of mass suicide. Only 16-year-old Tatsuru escapes. But Tatsuru’s trials have just begun, and she falls into the hands of human traffickers. She is sold to a wealthy Chinese family, where she becomes Duohe – the clandestine second wife to their only son, and the secret bearer of his children. Against all odds, Duohe and the first wife Xiaohuan put aside their differences and form an unlikely friendship, united by the unshakeable bonds of motherhood and family. Spanning several tumultuous decades of Mao’s rule, Little Aunt Crane is a novel about love, overcoming adversity, and how humanity endures in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

500 Words From Kalyan Lahiri

500 Words From...is a series of guest posts from Asia-based authors published by Asia-based, or Asia-focussed, publishing houses, in which they talk about their latest books. Here Kolkata-native Kalyan Lahiri, talks about his debut novel, The Kolkata Conundrum, which introduces detective Orko Deb. It is published by Hong Kong-based Crime WavePress.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Just Quickly...

Click here for a very nice piece by Elizabeth Roberts, about my novel Olivia & Sophia, from the UK Telegraph.

Indie Spotlight:John Hudspith

Indie Spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. This month our regular columnist, Siobhan Daiko, who is herself an indie author, interviews her UK-based editor, John Hudspith, about his work.


As well as editing manuscripts, John also offers advice on such topics as overcoming writer’s block, creating an epic, and the eBook eruption - he is a one-man, one-stop service for indie authors wherever they live.  Meanwhile, he too is an indie author. His first novel, Kimi's Secret won a highly coveted YouWriteOn book of the year award in 2013. The second novel in his Kimi series, Kimi’s Fear, is out now.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sue Guiney: Philanthropist And Author

Sue Guiney is the British-based American founder of Writing Through, a charity working with children in Cambodia to promote conceptual thought and self-esteem, through the teaching of creative writing. Instruction is in English, so classes also help students develop fluency in a language that opens doors otherwise closed to them.  

Sue is also a poet, and a novelist.  Her novels explore modern-day Cambodia.  I met her in Singapore, to discuss both her philanthropy, and her writing.

Just Quickly...

William L.Gibson, author of Singapore Yellow, the second novel in his Detective Hawksworth Trilogy, has written his own account of our recent shared book launch, you can check out his version here.

This Week in Asian Review of Books

See the Asian Review of Books for ever-interesting discussion. Here is a list of its newest reviews, excerpts, letters, links, essays, and round ups:


Happy Deepavali

From Asian Books Blog!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Final Day: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which finished yesterday, daily posts offered a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: the final day...

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Day 9: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 9...

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Day 8: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 8...

Friday, 6 November 2015

Day 7: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 7...

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Day 6: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 6...

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Day 5: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 5...

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Day 4: Announcing Singapore / Frankfurt Tie-up

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 4...

APWT Manila Conference / Jane Camens

This has been a busy few weeks in the Asian literary calendar, with a variety of events on offer. See, for example, recent posts on the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, as well as the on-going series from the Singapore Writers Festival. Furthermore, the region’s literary network, Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, which is currently based in Hong Kong, but which is soon to move its headquarters to Brisbane, held its eighth annual conference in Manila, from 22 – 25 October.  Here Jane Camens, co-founder and Executive Director, Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, gives an account of proceedings.

This Week in Asian Review of Books

See the Asian Review of Books for ever-interesting discussion. Here is a list of its newest reviews, excerpts, letters, essays, and round ups:


Monday, 2 November 2015

Day 3: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 3...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Sunday Post / Secular Publisher Hacked To Death In Bangladesh

The Sunday Post is suspended this week, because of the Singapore Writers Festival, but one calamity must be reported.

There is again horrible news from Bangladesh, where four atheist bloggers have been murdered over the past few months: Islamist extremists have hacked to death one publisher of secular books,  Faisal Arefin Deepan, and attacked another one, landing him in hospital. Two writers were also attacked. 

You will be able to find plenty of coverage on the internet, and through social media, but here are some places to start:

The Daily Star (Bangladesh) - under the headline free thinking mauled once again.

PEN, the international free speech advocacy group, this is the response from the American branch. 


Al Jazeera (Qatar) 

The Hindu (India)

Day 2: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events in the Lion City.

So: Day 2 ...

I evidently managed to miss Stories From Islands, Songs From Islanders 1, but I did catch Stories From Islands, Songs From Islanders 2. This brought together 5 authors, from geographically widely separated islands, to explore what, if anything, is unique about literature from islands. Does it reveal a sense of isolation? A strong sense of identity? Or what?

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Olivia & Sophia: Launch

Olivia & Sophia, my own new historical novel, which examines Raffles' life through the eyes of his two wives, has its Asian launch at the Singapore Writers Festival tomorrow - Sunday November 1. (It will be publishing in the UK in March 2016.) If you happen to be in Singapore, and you'd like to come along: great! The launch is 5.30 - 6.30 at The Arts House.  

Olivia & Sophia is available from Amazon here.

Day 1: Singapore Writers Festival

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. During the Singapore Writers Festival, (SWF) which is on now, and runs through until November 8, daily posts will offer a flavour of events on offer in the Lion City.

So: an update on the launch...


Friday, 30 October 2015

Q & A: Yeow Kai Chai

Lit-wise, Hong Kong and Singapore are both busy at the moment.  The Hong Kong International Literary Festival started on Monday, October 26, and runs through until November 8. Meanwhile, The Singapore Writers Festival starts today, October 30, and also runs until November 8.  (The two Festivals often overlap; when last year I asked why, I was told it enabled authors travelling long distances from the West to visit both Hong Kong, and Singapore.)

Yesterday, Phillipa Milne, Programme Manager, Hong Kong International Literary Festival answered questions.  Today, it’s the turn of Yeow Kai Chai, Festival Director, Singapore Writers Festival. (SWF)

So: over to Kai Chai…

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Q & A: Phillipa Milne

Lit-wise, Hong Kong and Singapore are both busy at the moment.  The Hong Kong International Literary Festival started on Monday, October 26, and runs through until November 8. Meanwhile, The Singapore Writers Festival starts tomorrow, October 30, and also runs until November 8.  (The two Festivals often overlap; when last year I asked why, I was told it enabled authors travelling long distances from the West to visit both Hong Kong, and Singapore.)

Today, Phillipa Milne, Programme Manager, Hong Kong International Literary Festival, answers questions.  Tomorrow, it will be the turn of Yeow Kai Chai, Festival Director, Singapore Writers Festival.

So: over to Phillipa…

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ubud Censorship / Upcoming Festivals

The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival starts today, and runs through until November 1. The start of the Festival has been marred by censorship. This year is the 50th anniversary of communist repression and killings in Indonesia, in 1965. Ubud Writers & Readers Festival had planned to mark the anniversary – but the authorities had other ideas.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

David T. K. Wong by Lee Li Ying

Author and philanthropist David T. K. Wong is an elder statesman of Asian letters. Here, Lee Li Ying, one of his editors at Epigram Books, the Singapore-based publisher of Adrift, the first part of his multi-volume family memoir, reveals him to be a man who knows his passion, purpose and priorities.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Q & A: Chantal Jauvin

Chantal Jauvin co-authored, with Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs, The Boy with A Bamboo Heart, an account of Dr. Amporn’s life.

Dr. Amporn, the founder of the Foundation for Rehabilitation and Development of Children and Family (FORDEC), is today one of Thailand's most generous benefactors – but he didn’t have an easy start to life. Orphaned at six, he scrambled for survival in the markets of Surin.  At fifteen, he became a boy soldier, trekking through the Cambodian jungle. His tumultuous experiences left him prone to self-loathing, but through learning to accept the kindness of others he surmounted his self-destructive tendencies. After a spell as a Buddhist monk, he was able to follow his true vocation, and, eventually, to save the lives of over 50,000 street children.

Asian Review of Books / More Catching-up

See the Asian Review of Books for ever-interesting discussion. Here is a list of reviews, excerpts, letters, essays, and round ups published whilst I was away:

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Sunday Post / Catch-up

The Sunday Post usually offers a rojak* of items from the previous week, but since I’ve been away, this one covers the last fortnight…

Saturday, 10 October 2015

But One Last Thing....


Also, this is the cover of my new novel, Olivia & Sophia.  I hope you like it.

Olivia & Sophia is a fictionalised account of the adventures of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, as seen through the eyes of his two wives.

It's in paperback, from Monsoon Books, publishing Nov 1 in Asia and Australia, and next year in the UK.  I'll post more about it when I'm back...


Closing Until October 25

I will be travelling in the States for the next 2 weeks, so I'm closing Asian Books Blog for the duration.  It will resume with The Sunday Post on October 25. Until then: happy reading!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Svetlana Alexievich WinsThe Nobel

Alexievich at the Nobel ceremony
The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2015 has been awarded to the Belarusian author Svetlana Alexievich "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Lion City Lit: New Books From Ethos


Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Lion City Lit explores what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Local publisher Ethos Books has recently launched a slew of new books, and will be launching several more at the upcoming Singapore Writers Festival, SGWF, which will run Oct 30 - Nov 8.  Click on the highlighted link to explore  a selection of what Ethos is offering...

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Thursday, 1 October 2015

500 Words From Nick Wilgus

500 Words From...is a series of guest posts from Asia-based, locally-published authors, in which they talk about their latest books. Here Nick Wilgus, who is now based in the USA, but who lived and worked in Asia for many years, discusses The Curious Corpse, the latest title in his Father Ananda murder-mystery series, published by Hong Kong-based Crime Wave Press.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Indie Spotlight: Nicki Chen

Indie Spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. This month Siobhan Daiko interviews Nicki Chen about her debut novel, Tiger Tail Soup: a novel of China at war.  When the first bombs fall, An Lee is pregnant and her husband is missing. He won't be home for another seven years. It's up to An Lee to protect her family. Surrounded by the Japanese military, An Lee struggles to survive, enduring hunger, loneliness, and fear. Then, on December 7, 1941, the enemy invades and occupies their little island on the coast of China, and An Lee's strength is put to the test…

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Sunday Post

A rojak* of items that caught my eye this week…




Seen Elsewhere: Discussion Of The Man Booker Shortlist
I wanted to give links to coverage of the Man Booker shortlist by publications within Asia - but it seems to have received very little coverage in our part of the globe. But here are a couple of pieces you may find interesting.

Doom and gloom make the cut: International Business Times (headquartered in the USA.)

If you want to follow the betting odds click here.

Jackie Collins Dies
It has just been announced that Jackie Collins, the internationally bestselling author of Hollywood tales, who was particularly successful in the 1980s, has died overnight of breast cancer. See here for coverage by People magazine -  no doubt many more obituaries and tributes will appear today. 

Blog Spot
Each week I invite the administrator of a relevant and interesting-sounding blog to write a paragraph. This week, nobody has been in touch, and so there is no Blog Spot. A pity. Do you run a blog you think may be of interest to readers of Asian Books Blog, and which you’d like to see featured here?  If so, please get in touch, preferably via e-mail -asianbooksblog@gmail.com. Thanks. If you don't run a relevant blog, but you know somebody who does, perhaps you could pass the message on?  Again, thanks.

Twitter Spot
Each week I make a suggestion of an interesting Twitter account you may like to follow.  This week, Asia House, @asiahouseuk.  Asia House is based in London. Its mission is to bring the UK and Asia closer through business, policy, politics, arts and cultural events. It hosts an annual literary festival, and is active in promoting literature of Asian interest.

*A rojak is a Singaporean salad. Like Asian Books Blog on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter: @asianbooksblog

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Lion City Lit: We Rose Up Slowly by Jon Gresham

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Lion City Lit explores what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Here Jon Gresham talks about We Rose Up Slowly, his debut collection of short stories, published by Math Paper Press, a local publishing house dedicated to promoting poetry and literary fiction. It is run by the same people who run BooksActually, an independent book shop which is well-known in Singapore.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Just Quickly

The Man Booker Prize for fiction 2015 shortlist is revealed here

Published Today: Dancing Through Red Dust by Murong Xuecun

About the book
Dancing Through Red Dust tells the story of lawyer Wei Da, who is forced to go on the run after an accident leaves his girlfriend’s blackmailing ex-lover dead. He destroys evidence, hides his assets and plans to flee China but his desperate bid for freedom ends in anguish when he is arrested and sent to the notorious Cao River Remand Centre.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Just Quickly...

You may be interested in this piece I wrote for the UK Telegraph, on book subscription services for expats, if so click here.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Indie Spotlight: Translation opportunities for indie authors

Indie Spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. This month Siobhan Daiko explains how to get indie titles translated.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sunday, 2 August 2015

See you in September

I am closing the blog for August as I am spending the month travelling, and it's too difficult to keep posting from boats, trains, airports, hotel rooms, etc. The blog will resume on Sunday, September 6. In the meantime: happy reading!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Indie Spotlight: Malika Gandhi

Indie Spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. This month our indie correspondent Siobhan Daiko talks to Malika Gandhi, who was born in Mumbai, and who writes historical fiction making cross-cultural connections.

Can you tell me something about your debut novel, Freedom of the Monsoon?
The novel is set during the struggle for independence: the British Raj needs to go and the Indians must have their country back. It lets readers re-live the determination of Indians fighting against the British, by following five individuals as they face fear, love, sacrifice and hate.  

Man Booker Prize 2015 longlist

I’m never sure what to make of longlists for literary prizes – it’s quite a chasm between being on a list and winning a prize, even when the list is the shortlist. But for what it’s worth the longlist for the GPB 50,000 Man Booker Prize was announced yesterday, in London.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Published Today: New Asia Now

49 authors under 45 from across Asia have today been published in a themed edition of the Griffith Review, one of Australia’s leading literary magazines. Griffith Review 49: New Asia Now, edited by Julianne Schultz and Jane Camens, and published in parallel with an edition of  Asia Literary Reviewtakes a journey through the region’s diversity, featuring a new generation of literary stars.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Lion City Lit: Exploring South Asian Identity, by Verena Tay

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Lion City Lit explores what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Here, Verena Tay talks about the South Asia Literary Salon, organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. It was chaired by Meira Chand and took place earlier this month.

Authors at Ubud

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, which runs this year from 28 October until November 1, has announced some of the authors, artists and thinkers who will attend.  More names will follow in August, but for the now, this is the list:

Monday, 20 July 2015

Read Paper Republic

Paper Republic is a collective of literary translators, promoting new Chinese fiction in translation. Last month it launched a fantastic year-long initiative, Read Paper Republic, for readers who are unfamiliar with Chinese fiction, but who wonder what new Chinese fiction in English translation has to offer in manageable formats - so no 500 page novels.