Sunday, 19 April 2020

New book announcement: The Book of Shanghai, edited by Dai Congrong & Jin Li

The Book of Shanghai  published in the UK in partnership with the Confucius Institute, which promotes Chinese language and culture worldwide, is the latest addition to Comma’s Press' award-winning Reading the City series.

The anthology showcases 10 leading authors from China’s largest city: Wang Anyi; Teng Xiaolan; Xia Shang; Xiao Bai; Pu Yuehui; Shen Daicheng; bestselling horror writer Cai Jun; multi-award winning sci-fi writer Chen Quifan; Wang Zhanhei; and Chen Danyan.

All the stories have been sensitively translated into English by a top-notch team of translators including Helen Wang, Yu Yan Chen and Fran Nichols.

Stories range from crime thrillers, to historical dramas set over the past 50 years, from comedic interludes, to sci-fi visions of the future. Collectively, they offer an insight into the cultures, customs and social make-up of Shanghai, the city long-heralded as the cultural capital of China, and one where Eastern and Western cultures converge.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Stephanie Chan aka Stephanie Dogfoot talks about her stirring collection Roadkill for Beginners, slam poetry, and her different performing hats.

Courtesy of Author
Bio:

Stephanie Chan’s poetry has been described as “conjuring a kind of matter-of-fact magic, full of warm, everyday rhythms and rhymes – aspects of life exaggerated or distilled to their most joyous, beautiful and/or ridiculous.” A former national poetry slam champion in Singapore and the UK, Stephanie currently produces poetry and stand up comedy nights in Singapore. She has been invited to perform on stages across five continents, including the Glastonbury Festival, Ubud Writer’s and Readers’ Festival and the George Town Literary Festival and has toured Australia, Germany and North America with her poetry. 

Synopsis:

Roadkill for Beginners is Stephanie Chan’s first collection of poetry. It’s part scrapbook of love letters to places, part field guide to the people in them. It’s a messy celebration of open mics, bonfires, and poetry stages around the world, the connections that grow up around them and the adventures that happen after. It explores desire, moving, belonging, and everything in between. It’s got apocalyptic hawker centres, magical night bus rides, and hungry turkey vultures. It’s about growing up, and not. For you, it hopes to feel like the lyrical equivalent of spooning in strange buildings then flying at full speed down a steep empty road on a bike at two in the morning.


Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Talented Ivy Ngeow dishes on her recent book Overboard: research, characters and the time it took to write her book

Courtesy of Author
Bio
Ivy Ngeow was born and raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. She is the author of three novels, Cry of the Flying Rhino (2017), Heart of Glass (2018) and Overboard (2020). A graduate of the Middlesex University Writing MA programme, Ivy won the 2005 Middlesex University Literary Prize and the 2016 International Proverse Prize. She has written non-fiction for Marie Claire, The Star, The New Straits Times, South London Society of Architects’ Newsletter and Wimbledon magazine. Her short stories have appeared in Silverfish New Writing anthologies twice, The New Writer and on the BBC World Service, Fixi Novo’s ‘Hungry in Ipoh’ anthology (2014) and 2020 anthology. 




Synopsis
Thailand. An epic storm. A shipwreck. A white man has been found. Alive.

But who is he? Suffering horrific injuries and burns, he is taken to a local hospital. He is mute. Everything is a blank. They tell him his name. That is all he knows. When his Chinese wife arrives, he has no choice but to return to London to her family. He starts getting better with care and more surgery until one day… he’s assaulted. And he knows why. The blow brings back a dangerous memory. But he’s crippled, disfigured and penniless… and he’s living the life of the man they think he is.  What will he risk to uncover the truth?

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Guest post: Yongsoo Park

Yongsoo Park is the author of the novels Boy Genius and Las Cucarachas, as well as the essay collection The Art of Eating Bitter: A Hausfrau Dad’s Journey with Kids, about his one-man crusade to give his children an analog childhood. Born in Seoul, he grew up in NYC. Boy Genius was a Notable Title Selection for the 2002 Kiriyama Prize, and Las Cucarachas was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award.

Rated R Boy Life is a memoir about how life in NYC wasn’t what Yongsoo envisioned it to be when his family moved there from Seoul in the summer of 1980. The streets are filled with homeless people. The subway is covered in graffiti. Older kids on his block push him around and force him to do things he doesn’t want to do. But the biggest legacy of such a move, of course, was that for the rest of their lives, he and his family were haunted by doubt and longing for what they’d left behind and what might have been.

So, over to Yongsoo...

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Osprey's Japanese Armies 1868 - 1877 - The Boshin War and Satsuma Rebellion


Osprey Publishing has become synonymous (in my mind at least) for quality research into military history of all time periods, throughout the world. It should come as no surprise that I immediately picked up Osprey's latest title Japanese Armies 1868 - 1877 by Gabriele Esposito and illustrated by Giuseppe Rave, which covers the Boshin War and Satsuma Rebellion.



Friday, 3 April 2020

Polymath Desmond Kon talks about his near-death experience, religion and philosophy & writing in The Good Day I Died

Bio:

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-MingdĂ© is a Singapore writer. He is the author of an epistolary novel, a quasi-memoir, two lyric essay monographs, four hybrid works, and nine poetry collections. A former journalist, he has edited more than twenty books and co-produced three audio books. Trained in book publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his world religions masters from Harvard University and creative writing masters from the University of Notre Dame. Among other accolades, Desmond is the recipient of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, National Indie Excellence Book Award, Poetry World Cup, Singapore Literature Prize, two Beverly Hills International Book Awards, and three Living Now Book Awards. He helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor. 

He can be found at: www.desmondkon.com



Book Synopsis:

In 2007, Desmond Kon died, and came back to life. This is better understood as a near-death experience (NDE). Fresh from studying world religions at Harvard, Desmond’s NDE shared remarkable consistency with other documented NDE accounts, such as encountering otherworldly beings, altered time-space realms, and the classic tunnel of light. Post-NDE symptoms included paranormal sightings. How did Desmond make meaning of his NDE given his academic background in world religions? He even took a class on angelology—how then did he perceive the angelic beings he encountered? Framed as a quasi-memoir, The Good Day I Died is constructed as a self-administered interview, allowing the account its moments of deep intimation. Moving beyond the current literature’s attempts at legitimizing the NDE, The Good Day I Died weaves in excerpts of Desmond’s literary oeuvre, which help shed light on the indelible impact of his NDE. This book represents Desmond’s most confessional writing yet, relating the story of his death, and his transformed life after his return.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Tsundoku #8 - April 2020

Lockdown for so many of us may (and I emphasise ‘may’) mean a chance to get to that tottering tsundoku at last. Also plenty of booksellers are still managing to find innovative ways to get books to people – online of course, but also by hand, kerbside pick-up, partnering with food delivery apps and so on. So there’s no excuse!! So here is this month’s springtime shelf-isolation (geddit!!) tsundoku column. As ever, some fiction first...