Friday, 28 April 2017

Aquatic culture in Việt Nam / guest post by Ben Kiernan

Newly-published Việt Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present,  by Ben Kiernan  explores the history of the different peoples who have lived in the three major regions of Viet Nam over the past 3,000 years. It brings to life their relationships with these regions' landscapes, water resources, and climatic conditions. It addresses head-on the dramatic impact of changing weather patterns from ancient to medieval and modern times. The central importance of riverine and maritime communications and systems to life in Việt Nam is a key theme.

Ben Kiernan is the A. Whitney Griswold Professor of History at Yale University. He founded the University's Cambodian Genocide Program, which later became the Genocide Studies Program, and has served as Chair of Yale’s Council on Southeast Asia Studies. He has written extensively on South East Asia, on genocide worldwide, and on genocide in Cambodia.

Here he discusses Việt Nam as an aquatic culture.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Lion City lit listing: Art Book Fair at Gillman Barracks

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore – the Lion City.  Lucía Damacela keeps an eye on local listings.

What: An annual event, the Singapore Art Book Fair (SABF) showcases contemporary art books & magazines.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lion City Lit: OF ZOOS

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Our regular column Lion City Lit explores in-depth what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Here Lucía Damacela continues her occasional series highlighting Singapore online literary magazines, by talking to New York-based Kimberley Lim and Singapore-based Hao Guang, respectively the founding editor and the co-editor of OF ZOOS, an annual, theme-based, online magazine publishing poetry and poetically sensible art by Singaporeans for Singaporeans, and for everyone else. It published its first issue in April 2012.  

Saturday, 22 April 2017

500 words from Tim Symonds

500 Words From is a series of guest posts from writers, in which they talk about their latest books. UK-based Tim Symonds writes Sherlock Holmes novels. He has just published Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil, which takes Holmes and Watson to the Forbidden City in Beijing - at the time in the West still called Peking - during the turbulent last days of the Qing dynasty. If you’ve never heard of a sigil, it’s an occult symbol. In Tim’s novel, a menacing nine-dragon sigil is embroidered on the back of a gown the Empress-Dowager Cixi gives her son. 
So: over to Tim...

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Man Booker International Prize 2017 shortlist announced

The Man Booker International Prize celebrates fiction from around the world translated into English. The judges have now revealed the shortlist for the 2017 prize - the second time it's been awarded.

Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) travels to London

Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director of Oxford University Press, Pakistan (OUP), has just announced in Karachi that to celebrate 70 years of Pakistan’s creation, Pakistan’s biggest literary event, the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), which her company produces, will be launched in London on 20 May 2017 at a prestigious arts centre, the Southbank Centre, as part of their Alchemy festival – an annual festival celebrating the rich cultural relationship between the UK and South Asia.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Q & A: Choo Waihong

Choo Waihong has just brought out The Kingdom of Women: Life, Love and Death in China’s Hidden Mountains, an account of the Mosuo tribe, who worship the female spirit, and are the last surviving matrilineal and matriarchal society in the world. The book raises questions about gender roles in modern, urbanised society, and provides a glimpse into a hidden way of life teetering on the edge of extinction in today’s China.


A Singaporean, Choo Waihong was a corporate lawyer with top law firms in Singapore and California. She dealt in fund management law, not women’s rights, but, separately, she was involved with AWARE, a women’s rights group in Singapore; she acted as its vice-president for two terms.


In 2006, she took early retirement, and left behind the fifteen hour days of corporate life to travel in China. From the moment she stepped into the Kingdom of Women, Waihong was captivated. She became the first outsider to move into the heart of the tribe, where she stayed for six years. She now spends half the year with them in Lugu Lake, Yunnan. The rest of the time she continues to live in Singapore, while also travelling to Europe and America to spend time with her family.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Lion City lit notes: Singaporean writers shortlisted for international short story prize

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore. Our regular column Lion City Lit explores in-depth what’s going on in the City-State, lit-wise. Lion City lit notes provide quick updates between columns. By Lucia Damacela

Friday, 14 April 2017

Seen Elsewhere: Some People Juggle Geese

American-born, Singapore-resident writer and editor Lucy Day, who blogs at Some People Juggle Geese, has compiled a list of her own blog posts which may be of interest to readers of Asian Books Blog. Take a look!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Bamboo Trilogy / Ann Bennett

UK-based Ann Bennett’s newly-published Bamboo Road is part of a Second World War trilogy of historical novels set in Southeast Asia. Her trilogy can be read in any order and includes her earlier titles Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Island. Here Ann explains what inspired her to write a trio of linked, standalone stories.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Newly published: The Kingdom of Women by Choo Waihong

The Mosuo tribe is the last surviving matrilineal and matriarchal society in the world. Choo Waihong brings their story to light in The Kingdom of Women: Life, Love and Death in China’s Hidden Mountains.