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.

The Singapore Writers’ Group has been in existence since 2012 and has seventy paid-up members and over eight hundred informally connected members here in Singapore.

Every year, the plan is to publish an anthology of short stories, representing the best of our writers. And this year, we were excited to collaborate with the Hong Kong Writers’ Circle on a collection of stories encompassing different perspectives and ideas about our respective cities.

The process began back at the beginning of 2015 with a call for submissions. Then began the selection process of what was an extremely high standard of collective work. Whittling down the submissions into twelve stories from each city proved to be a hard task, but we had a dedicated team of editorial volunteers and a hugely convoluted voting system! Once the scores had been deciphered, we were all set with our twenty four stories – twelve from each city. That was the intention, anyway, but we lost one story along the way, so the final collection has only twenty three stories!

Ethos Publishing, a Singapore-based publisher, came on board in the summer. They have been instrumental in helping with the final edits; designing the layout and cover; and of course, in getting the final book into bookstores across Singapore.

From tales of expats living the high life at Raffles Hotel, to a Singaporean man’s unlikely relationship with a Filipino neighbour, to the difficulties Hong Kong Chinese face in dealing with gweilos, to a story set in Hong Kong’s dodgy Wan Chai neighbourhood, Tales Of Two Cities, reflects the different layers of each city and their mixture of local traditions and post-modern ambitions.

The book was launched at The Singapore Writers’ Group annual Christmas party, where we raised a glass to our achievement, and offered up the hope that the book is well received!

Details: Tales of Two Cities: Hong Kong and Singapore is published by Ethos Books, in paperback, priced in local currencies.