Since learning that Malaysian writer Shih-Li Kow’s collection of short stories – Ripple and Other Stories - was shortlisted for the 2009 Frank O’Connor Short Story Prize, coming ahead of collections by prestigious authors like Ali Smith and Kazuo Ishiguro among others, I’ve been meaning to get around to reading her work.
In the mean time she wrote her first novel, The Sum of Our Follies, which has been translated into French (by a blind man) and Italian, and also won the French 2018 Prix du Premier Roman étranger.
Last November I met the writer herself in person at the George Town Literary Festival and I had to confess that to my shame that beyond a single short story published in a collection of Malaysian writing I still hadn’t read any of her work. This obviously needed to be remedied, so I bought both of her books at Gerakbudaya’s new bookshop in Hikayat on George Town’s Beach Street.
I started by reading her most recent work, The Sum of Our Follies. I was not disappointed. While her …
It's an honour to have two pieces featured in Telltale Food, an anthology of food writing that was launched last week at the 2019 George Town Literary Festival.
The collection covers three years and shares many of the submissions for the Fay Khoo award.
One of my stories included is called Escargots de Bourgogne and relates the pitfalls of assuming too much, whether in cooking or life, and is based on a period I spent on a tiny farm in Burgundy more than thirty years ago.
The second piece is called the Taste of Paradise and is more humourous - or at least that was my intention. It is about coconuts, the salacious advertisements that used to feature on Irish television when I was a teenager in the 1980s, and my now regular consumption of coconuts as a staple of the tropical life I've been leading for the last 15 years.
The launch was great fun and all the contributors present received chopsticks and metal straws and copies of the book and the talented Foo May Lyn treated the audie…