Saturday, 9 December 2017

Elaine Chiew converses with multi-talented Bernice Chauly, author of Once We Were There



Photo courtesy of Daniel Adams
Bernice Chauly may be no stranger to readers in Asia but here AsianBooksBlog has the pleasure of talking to her about her first foray into the novel form and the challenges she found in writing her book Once We Were There.

Bernice Chauly is a Malaysian writer, poet, educator and festival director. Born in George Town to Chinese and Punjabi teachers, she read education and English literature in Canada as a government scholar. She is the author of six books of poetry and prose: going there and coming back (1997), The Book of Sins (2008), Lost in KL (2008), Growing Up with Ghosts (2011), which won the Readers’ Choice Awards 2012 in the non-fiction category, and a third collection of poems, Onkalo (2013), described by J.M. Coetzee as ‘direct, honest and powerful’. 

For 20 years she worked as a multidisciplinary artist and is recognised as one of the most significant voices of her generation. Since 2011 she has served the director of the George Town Literary Festival, shortlisted at the International Excellence Awards at the London Book Fair 2017, and is an Honorary Fellow in Writing from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2014). She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus. She is also the founder and director of the KL Writers Workshop. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Once We Were There, was published in 2017 by Epigram Books (Singapore-London) and won the inaugural Penang Monthly Book Prize.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star: guest post by Vaseem Khan

You never know what will happen when you turn the page…UK-based Mulholland Books publishes crime, suspense and thriller novels you’ll find difficult to put down. Somebody in the editorial department must have an interest in Asia, as the imprint is home to both Adi Tantimedh, who wrote a guest post earlier this week, and Vaseem Khan, who does so today. 
Vaseem was born in London, spent a decade working in India, and now works at University College London’s Department of Security and Crime Science. His passions include cricket, literature, and elephants – which he first encountered on a street in Mumbai, a sight that stayed with him, and, eventually, inspired his Baby Ganesh Detective Agency series, featuring retired Inspector Ashwin Chopra, and his baby elephant sidekick, Ganesha. Together, Inspector Chopra and Ganesha investigate the dark side of Mumbai.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Oxford University Press Pakistan launches piracy awareness song

Oxford University Press Pakistan (OUP) believes book piracy poses a major threat to the local book publishing industry and is hence actively involved in efforts to curb this menace in Pakistan.

As a part of its continuous Copyright Awareness programme, OUP launched the video of the song Lafz written, composed, and performed by the singer and social activist, Shehzad Roy. The song was launched at an intellectual property training workshop for judicial members organised by multiple interested agencies within Pakistan.

Kwame Anthony Appiah to chair the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

The New York-based philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist Kwame Anthony Appiah has just been named chair of the judges for the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, one of the most prestigious awards for fiction written in English. The Prize turns 50 next year, and during this significant anniversary Appiah will lead a panel of five judges in choosing the winner from eligible novels published between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

Kwame Anthony Appiah said: "Who could resist an invitation to join a diverse and distinguished group of fellow readers to explore together the riches of a year of Anglophone fiction, drawn from around the world?  The excitement around the prize can help draw attention to brilliant books and worthy writers and creates one of the more interesting literary conversations each year.  I'm delighted to contribute to that process."

Monday, 4 December 2017

Her Beautiful Monster: guest post by Adi Tantimedh

You never know what will happen when you turn the page…UK-based Mulholland Books publishes crime, suspense and thriller novels you’ll find difficult to put down. Somebody in the editorial department must have an interest in Asia, as the imprint is home to both Adi Tantimedh and Vaseem Khan, both of whom will be writing guest posts this week.  First up: Adi

Adi Tantimedh is of Chinese-Thai descent; he grew up in Singapore and London, and now lives in New York. He has written radio plays, television scripts, and Hollywood screenplays, as well graphic novels and commentary about pop culture.  He is currently writing a series of novels featuring British-Indian Ravi Chandra Singh, a most unlikely private investigator.

A failed religious scholar, Ravi now works for Golden Sentinels, a gleefully amoral private investigators’ agency. On the job, his attempts to do the right thing often result in mayhem. He has visions of Hindu gods, and thinks he might be going mad, which doesn’t help when it comes to solving crimes.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Six images of Chinese wallpaper

Chinese wallpaper has been an important element of western interior decoration for three hundred years. As trade between Europe and China flourished in the seventeenth century, Europeans developed a strong taste for Chinese art and design. The stunningly beautiful wall coverings now known as Chinese wallpaper were developed by Chinese painting workshops in response to western demand.

Despite their spectacular beauty, Chinese wallpapers have not been studied by European scholars in any depth until relatively recently. Chinese Wallpaper in Britain and Ireland, by Emile de Bruijn, changes that. It provides an overview of some of the most significant surviving Chinese wallpapers in private and public ownership in the British Isles. Sumptuously illustrated, it shows how these wallpapers became a staple ingredient of high-end interiors.