Book Stories

Saman by Ayu Utami

Jun 28, 2021 / Saman: A Novel
In the ten years since I set out to read the world, I have interacted with thousands of book lovers, writers, academics and curious readers around the globe. Many of the most illuminating of these discussions have been with translators – people who, by virtue of having expertise in two or more languages and extensive experience working on texts, are able to shed light on how books travel and what comes into English, and often draw my attention to gems that would otherwise pass me by.

A Clear Dawn: The voices breaking into New Zealand literature

May 12, 2021 / A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand
“Like writing, identity is an ongoing act of discovery. So is reading.” The words that open the new anthology A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand are a promise for the rest of the book, the first-ever anthology of Asian-New Zealand writing. “I think, you know, the name of the anthology - A Clear Dawn - is really a dawn. It's the beginning.” writer and co-editor of the book, Alison Wong, says. Wong and author Paula Morris (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngai Whatua) edited the collection, bringing poetry, short stories, novel excerpts, and creative nonfiction from 75 different people.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto

May 10, 2021 / Dial A for Aunties
Chinese-Indonesian, US-based Meddelin Chan finds herself in an impossible situation: after she accidentally kills her blind date in self-defense, her mother brings in reinforcements to help get rid of the body: her three sisters, Meddie’s aunties. But how can they cover up a murder and prepare a lavish wedding the next day – the biggest job their family business has ever landed?

Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with this diverse collection of 5 recent novels

May 05, 2021 / The Majesties
This year, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month is sure to attract more readers and listeners than usual, moved by anti-Asian racism and harmful acts to attend the voices and experiences of AAPI authors. Here are just a few of the dozens of recent novels that reflect the growing diversity of AAPI stories being told today.

Sergius Mencari Bacchus

May 05, 2021 / Sergius Mencari Bacchus
Some writings can truly have devastating effects on the reader, and Sergius Mencari Bacchus (officially translated into English as Sergius Seeks Bacchus by Tiffany Tsao) is one of those. Every word, every line, every verse Norman Erikson Pasaribu penned down on this poetry collection not only sound, but feel so painful. You might get your heart wrenched brutrally reading every piece of poem on the list, whether or not you feel related to the issues being discussed. This book doesn’t only talk about being different, or how to deal with it and people’s general lack of approval. It talks mostly about the pain, the dilemma, the acceptance of oneself as a homosexual when the family―and the society―see it as a sin, a sickness to be cured, and thus expel them to the lonely corner where they are forced to feel weird about themselves and try to figure out what they should be.

Q&A: Jesse Q. Sutanto, Author of ‘Dial A For Aunties’

Apr 27, 2021 / Dial A for Aunties
Dial A For Aunties is a hilariously quirky novel that is equal parts murder mystery, rom-com, and a celebration of mothers and daughters as well as a deep dive into Chinese-Indonesian culture by author Jesse Q. Sutanto. We chat with Jesse about her latest release Dial A For Aunties, releasing her first two published novels in the space of a few months, writing, book recommendations, and more! Hi, Jesse! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself? Hi! I’m Jesse, author of Dial A For Aunties and the YA thriller The Obsession. I’m an Indonesian writer living in Jakarta with my ridiculously huge family. My hobbies include…psych! I don’t have hobbies because all my time is spent writing or looking after my two little ones, lol.

Book on Rumi thoughts on women, gender equality published in Indonesian

Apr 25, 2021 / Ngaji Rumi: Kitab Cinta dan Ayat-ayat Sufistik
“Rumi’s Book of Love and Sufistic Verses” written by Afifah Ahmad was released by Afkaruna, an Indonesian interdisciplinary journal of Islamic studies, the Iranian Cultural office in Jakarta announced on Saturday. “This book is full of spiritual and intellectual knowledge from a great world legend, Molana Jalal ad-Din Rumi,” the publisher has said. Afifah Ahmad is one of the few Indonesian women who is able to write about Rumi in Indonesian well and captivatingly.

Child-free and happy: A group for Indonesians without kids – by choice

Apr 14, 2021 / Childfree & Happy
Victoria Tunggono, a 37-year-old author and a member of the Facebook group, decided to write a book on the topic after a publisher offered her the opportunity, as there was no Indonesian literature on being child-free – not even translations of English-language books. Publisher EA Books noticed Victoria after her April 2020 Instagram and Facebook posts on being child-free went viral. Thousands of people left comments, from condemning her choice to quoting religious texts to her. “I wrote Childfree & Happy [the title is in English, but the book is in Indonesian] so that people could understand why child-free individuals exist and not be so narrow-minded but instead see others’ perspectives,” said Victoria, who lives in South Tangerang, Banten.

The (Im)persistence of Memory: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror 2021

Apr 02, 2021 / Reset
New works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror untangle the often-fragile links between recollection and identity. Reset Sarina Dahlan. Blackstone, June In what PW called an “immersive debut,” Aris, a scientist, lives in a postapocalyptic society that mandates memory wipes every four years in order to erase prejudices and maintain peace. She falls in with an underground group who believe people’s dreams contain memories from past cycles; when she meets their leader, Metis, the two try to resurrect what they feel certain is a previous connection between them.

Shortlists announced for 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards

Mar 24, 2021 / Sergius Seeks Bacchus
The shortlists for the 2021 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards have just been announced. Thirty judges considered a record of 633 entries across 10 prize categories, with the winners to be announced online on the eve of the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Monday 26 April 2021. NSW Translation Prize ($30,000 - biennial award) This Tilting World by Colette Fellous, translated by Sophie Rebecca Lewis (Two Lines Press & Les Fugitives) Travels with a Writing Brush: Classical Japanese Travel Writing from the Manyoshu to Basho translated by Meredith McKinney (Penguin Random House Publishing) Autumn Manuscripts by Tasos Leivaditis, translated by N.N. Trakakis (Smokestack Books) Sergius Seeks Bacchus by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated by Tiffany Tsao (Giramondo Publishing) Imminence by Mariana Dimopulo, translated by Alice Whitmore (Giramondo Publishing) Russia Washed in Blood: A Novel in Fragments by Artyom Vesyoly, translated by Kevin Windle (Anthem Press)