Tuesday 10 March 2015

Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction announce 2015 longlist

It was announced today that the following books are on the longlist for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize).  Note the  inclusion of I am China / Xiaolu Guo, A God in Every Stone / Kamila Shamsie, The Bees, by Laline Paull, and The Life of a Banana / PP Wong.  It will be interesting to see if any of them make the shortlist...

Rachel Cusk: Outline
Lissa Evans: Crooked Heart
Patricia Ferguson: Aren’t We Sisters?
Xiaolu Guo: I Am China
Samantha Harvey: Dear Thief
Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing
Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven
Grace McCleen: The Offering
Sandra Newman: The Country of Ice Cream Star
Heather O’Neil: The Girl Who Was Saturday Night
Laline Paull: The Bees
Marie Phillips: The Table of Less Valued Knights
Rachel Seiffert: The Walk Home
Kamila Shamsie: A God in Every Stone
Ali Smith: How to be Both
Sara Taylor: The Shore
Anne Tyler: A Spool of Blue Thread
Sarah Waters: The Paying Guests
Jemma Wayne: After Before
PP Wong: The Life of a Banana

Quick Notice: Anatomy of Life by Devdan Chaudhuri

Anatomy of Life follows the life of an unnamed poet from the age of 16 to 25, as he negotiates contemporary urban India. The poet has a quest to understand the human self, and he makes many surprising and illuminating discoveries along the way.

Anatomy of Life is organised in six thematic chapters: Seasons; Myriad Void; Circles and Spheres; Centre and Periphery; Balance; The Wheel.  The chapters gradually draw these various themes together to reveal an invisible structure of life, one common to all humanity.

Friday 6 March 2015

Quick Notice / The Lost World of Ladakh: Photographic journeys through Indian Himalaya 1931-1934 by Rupert Wilmot, Roger Bates, Nicky Harman

A superb collection of 150 black-and-white photographs of 1930s Ladakh, capturing its final days as a hub of trade routes between Tibet and Kashmir, India and Yarkand. These portraits of people, landscapes and Buddhist ceremonies taken by amateur photographer Rupert Wilmot, are notable for their careful composition, fine detail and engaging informality. They have been meticulously researched and captioned by Nicky Harman and Roger Bates, respectively, niece and nephew of Rupert Wilmot, and include maps, an introduction and a bibliography. Of considerable historical and ethnographic interest.

Thursday 5 March 2015

Quick Notice / The Burma Spring: Aung San Suu Kyi and the New Struggle for the Soul of a Nation by Rena Pederson

Aung San Suu Kyi has been an inspiration around the world, but even in Asia relatively little is known about this strong, mysterious woman.  Though she’s been on the cover of Time magazine, and has won the Noble Peace Prize, her life, and the country she has fought so hard for, still too-often remain shrouded in secrecy and misinformation. Award-winning journalist and former US State Department speechwriter Rena Pederson brings to light fresh details about the woman, the country and the Burmese people. 

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Indie Spotlight: Monica Li

Indie Spotlight is our monthly column on self-publishing. Here, Raelee Chapman talks to Singaporean indie author Monica Li about her first novel The Dragon Phoenix Bracelet.

The Dragon Phoenix Bracelet is an historical novel that follows a family through the turbulent political history of twentieth century China. Tell us about what inspired you to write this novel. Who would you say the target audience is, and who are your literary influences?

Monday 2 March 2015

Lion City Lit: Singapore Mutiny

Asian Books Blog is based in Singapore.  Lion City Lit explores literary life in our own backyard. This week, we offer a quick notice for Singapore Mutiny, a stirring account of combat and survival, by Mary Brown and Edwin A. Brown. This is a must-read for all history buffs, but especially for those with an interest in military history, or in the history of India, or in that of South East Asia.  

The Singapore Sepoy Mutiny of 1915 was an alarming episode in Singapore’s colonial history that saw 850 Indian soldiers serving in the British army revolt and slaughter 47 Brits, both soldiers and civilians. To mark the Mutiny's centenary Monsoon Books has brought out a diary kept at the time by the Browns, a colonial couple who were in the thick of the action.  The diary, never previously published, has forewords by Professor Brian P. Farrell, Department of History, National University of Singapore, Nigel Barley, the author and anthropologist, and Celia Ferguson, the Browns’ granddaughter.

Here’s an extract from the diary’s opening entry:
Chinese New Year 1915 will long be remembered in the Straits Settlements…We left for home, had a tiffin, and went to our rooms for a lie-off, having arranged to go for a good walk when the heat of the day was over. We had our tea, and at 5 pm got into the trap. We drove along Tanglin Road, into Stephens Road, and along Bukit Timah Road to the junction of Cluny Road, and there we dismissed the syce. We thought it a curious fact that no-one was playing tennis…and there was not a soul to be seen on the garrison golf course…You can imagine our horror when we found that the 5th Light Infantry had broken out in open mutiny and had been in Tanglin that afternoon, and were even then supposed to be marching on Singapore!

Also by Edwin A. Brown, Indiscreet Memories: 1901 Singapore through the eyes of a colonial Englishman. 

Both books are published in paperback, priced in local currencies, and widely available in Asia. Ebooks are available from online retailers.