Thursday 4 December 2014

Writers in Taiwan

Raelee Chapman, our indie correspondent, is seeking out the vast and varied writing communities across Asia, here she chats with Mark Chapman, (no relation) organiser of Writers in Taiwan.

When and why was Writers in Taiwan formed?

Writers in Taiwan is 1.5 years old and now has over 150 members. I formed Writers in Taiwan to meet more writers, find people interested in critiquing and simply for interest and support.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Lion City Lit: Woolf Works

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore.  Lion City Lit explores literary life in our own backyard.  This week Raelee Chapman visits Woolf Works, a coworking space dedicated to women, and named after Virginia Woolf, who famously declared, in her extended essay A Room of One's Own, that women must have a space of their own to produce art. 

Where does a woman go to write if she cannot write at home? There are myriad reasons why writing at home can be complicated, and full of distractions. So I was curious when a writer friend of mine told me about Woolf Works, and I went along to an open day - a chance for women to bring their moleskin notebooks and laptops and explore the space.

This Week In Asian Review Of Books

Asian Books Blog is not a review site.  If you want reviews, see the Asian Review of Books.  Here is a list of its newest reviews:

Cat Town, poetry by Sakutaro Hagiwara, translated by Hiroaki Sato reviewed by Jennifer Wong
Meltdown in Tibet: China’s Reckless Destruction of Ecosystems from the Highlands of Tibet to the Deltas of Asia by Michael Buckley reviewed by Sinead Ferris
Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East by Gerard Russell reviewed by Peter Gordon 
Letters from Hong Kong: The sound of silence
 by Jeffrey Wasserstrom

Saturday 29 November 2014

New & Notable: International & Regional

International: The Book of Gold Leaves by Mirza Waheed

In an ancient house in the city of Srinagar, Faiz paints exquisite papier mache pencil boxes for tourists. Evening is beginning to slip into night when he sets off for the shrine. He looks up to see the girl with the long black hair.

Roohi has been waiting for him. She wants a love story. And so it begins.

An age-old tale of love and conflict, within families, between worlds, The Book of Gold Leaves is a heart-breaking tale of what might have been, what could have been, if only.

DSC Prize for South Asian Literature Shortlist Announced

The shortlist for the fifth annual DSC Prize for South Asian Literature was announced at the London School of Economics and Political Science late last week. 

A dynamic mix of books made the cut. The shortlist of five features: two authors of Indian origin, Jhumpa Lahiri (The Lowland - Vintage Books / Random House, India) and Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (The Mirror of Beauty - Penguin Books, India); Pakistani authors Bilal Tanweer (The Scatter Here is Too Great - Vintage Books / Random House, India) and Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone - Bloomsbury, India); and Sri Lankan born British writer Romesh Gunesekera (Noontide Toll - Hamish Hamilton / Penguin, India).

Thursday 27 November 2014

500 Words From Ovidia Yu

500 Words a series of guest posts from authors, in which they talk about their books and characters.  Here, Ovidia Yu, one of Singapore’s most acclaimed authors, talks about Aunty Lee, feisty widow, amateur sleuth, and proprietor of The Lion City’s best-loved home-cooking restaurant.  Aunty Lee has now brought her charm and wit - not to mention her intelligence, nosiness, and crime-solving skills - to two delectable mysteries, Aunty Lee’s Delights, and Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials.  Both books are published internationally by William Morrow Paperbacks, enabling readers far beyond Singapore to be beguiled by Aunty Lee. 

So, over to Ovidia…

“Inspiration for Aunty Lee? Parts of Aunty Lee came from various so-called aunties I know - not necessarily older, good at cooking or even female! She loves cooking and feeding people and as far as she is concerned, eating together is the best way of becoming friends. She also loves sorting out other people’s problems for them, including murders they may be suspected of committing.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Indie Spotlight / Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries by Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson
It can be a hard slog being an indie author.  To keep self-published writers inspired our indie correspondent Raelee Chapman chats to Tim Anderson, a native of North Carolina, whose self-published memoir about his time living and working in Tokyo, Tune In Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, published in 2010, was picked up by AmazonEncore and republished to a wider audience a year later. It has now been translated into Thai.  

The original cover
Why did you choose to self-publish Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries and which company/tools did you choose for this path?

I actually went the self-publishing route after a few years of my agent pitching the book, getting close to closing a deal, then getting the dreaded "not right for us at this time" response. One editor told us that, because David Sedaris had just released a book featuring a chapter set in Tokyo, she was going to pass, since that one chapter in that one book had obviously saturated the market with the one comical story set in Tokyo that could be told! So I started on the next book, but couldn't shake the feeling that there was an audience for Tune in Tokyo and I wanted to try to find it. I used the CreateSpace platform available from Amazon. I chose CreateSpace because the process seemed pretty straightforward, and it pretty much was!