NEWS FROM MALAYSIA
An email from Shirley Ng of MPH Distributors, Malaysia informs me about another book - a collection of 11 short stories.
The author is Wena Poon and her stories examine the quiet lives of Singaporeans living abroad and those in Singapore who are often torn between worlds in their search for an imaginary homeland. There is the model student who breaks his parents’ hearts when he drops out of medical school to study fashion design in London. The shampoo girl who leaves Singapore for the hustle and bustle of New York’s Chinatown. The schoolteacher whose anxiety about white people cripples his dream retirement in Toronto. The mother who dreams of an old world amidst changing landscapes, and an unlikely Singaporean family in Nevada cut off from the rest of the world by an obsessive patriarch.
Themes of home and away have been explored before though the lives of displaced Singapore though in this case it is interesting to see the Singapore connect.
Poon’s 'Lions in Winter' are portraits of lives that share a common, constant yearning to belong in a place made foreign by time or space.
Beyond these stories, is the story of the Editor. Eric Forbes it is. Good Books Guide. Another blog name moved into real life at the Ubud Writers Festival, though we never quite got to chat. A brief hello it was in September, another brief hello i
t turned out to be at Singapore Writers Festival in December. The promised cup of coffee and conversation never happened. Eric's been great at book and author spotting and getting writers on the right course. Having edited copy and written features along the way, I can vouch for the fact that every writer, however gifted, needs an Editor. I've had several wordsmiths to thank for making my copy sing on occasion. The most recent one being a piece on Bollywood, that I was putting together on the way from Genting, at the KL airport and punching away to beat the deadline. If it weren't for Ross Wallace (then with Today newspaper), the story wouldn't have read the way it did. A lot of what Editors or Subs in news do goes largely unrecognised. That's because they'd rather have their copy do the talking. It always does! While I haven't had the fortune of working with Eric, (we haven't even had a decent chat yet), his blog posts are indicative of the effort he puts in, not just in talent spotting but in ensuring the final product is as good as it gets. Given that he has had a lot to do with 'Lions in Winter' is another good reason why you should read it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Now, for, credit where it's justly due. The promising young author, Wena Poon was born in Singapore and has lived in Hong Kong and the US. Her fiction, poetry and nonfiction work has been widely anthologised and published in the US, Europe and Asia. She studied literature and law at Harvard University and currently lives in San Francisco. Wena will be in Singapore on 26th and 27th January. I'm certain book readings/signings have been planned. I'll be sure to look out for them.
Also read Sharon's post on Wena's Big Break.
Author photo - Zubin Shroff