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The Unfamiliar But Fascinating Literature of ASEAN

In Korea, the literature of ASEAN is relatively unknown. One reason for this is because it isn’t readily accessible. In large bookstores in Korea, Southeast Asian literature is categorized under “Fiction from Other Countries” or “World Literature from Other Countries”, and in libraries, it’s … [Read more...]

Birth Canal

The Jakarta sky “had a rosy nuance that somehow seemed both warm and sad, like a freshly slapped cheek” the day a stranger, a photographer, told Nastiti that she was incredibly beautiful and took her picture. She enjoys a moment of glamour when the photo appears in a trendy exhibition and in a … [Read more...]

Why Eka Kurniawan’s translated short stories in Filipino are essential reading

In Kate Briggs’ wonderful book on translation “This Little Art,” she makes a case for the importance of translating books, or even translating in general: “We need translations, urgently: it is through translation that we are able to reach the literatures written in the languages we don’t or can’t … [Read more...]

Understanding the impact of Pramoedya’s ‘Buru Quartet’

Leading Australian expert on Indonesia Max Lane recounts late Indonesian literary giant Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s role in inspiring the downfall of former president Soeharto’s New Order regime through his Buru Quartet tetralogy One man come in the name of love One man come and go One man come he to … [Read more...]

Singapore Shelf: ‘Ear prostitutes’, secrets in Clarissa Goenawan’s Watersong

When she was a busy marketing professional in her 20s, Clarissa Goenawan felt she had no time to read anything except manga. One day, a colleague lent her a novel. It was Norwegian Wood (1987) by Haruki Murakami. "I thought, never mind, I'll take it home and a couple of days later I'll return … [Read more...]