Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Will Lovers and Strangers Revisited go Bahasa Melayu?

Yesterday I received a telephone call from a Bahasa Melayu publisher in Malaysia expressing an interest in having Lovers and Strangers Revisited translated into Bahasa Melayu.  Last week at Tun Jugah, during a break of selling books and signing autographs (we had a lot of down time), I met with some BM authors and asked about their Malaysian publishers.  One of their representatives was on hand and we exchanged business cards.

So when the director of this BM publisher called me and expressed an interest in my book, I thought this might happen a lot faster than I expected.  In fact he was already familiar with my book, having seen me the last two years at the Popular Reader’s Choice Awards  He was there to support his own BM authors.  The fact that I won the award in 2009 must’ve made an impression on him, because we’ll be meeting in Kuching next month to discuss my book.

After the success of having Lovers and Strangers Revisited translated into French, I’ve been thinking it was high time I made some enquires about BM publishers.  Ever since the Silverfish version came out in early 2006, I have felt that this book would do nicely in BM.  Malays have always responded well to the book, particularly the stories that involves a Malay such as “On Fridays”, “Smooth Stones”, “Mat Salleh”, “Home for Hari Raya” and even "Neighbours".  The Malay stories are nearly half of the book.  The book title, however, did cause some concern as I blogged in 2007 (and wrote about in Tropical Affairs) about a USM student discussing the title with a woman who worked at the USM bookstore.  

If the title Lovers and Strangers Revisited still concerns the BM publisher, I am willing to change it to Three Faces of Malaysia or Three Other Malaysia, which is the title that the French will be using. Three Faces of Malaysia also fits nicely into Malaysia’s multi-culture identity, at least for those on Peninsular Malaysia.  Sabah and Sarawak is a whole different matter.

So far 2011 seems to be a good year for Lovers and Strangers Revisited and we still have two-thirds of the year to go.  So let’s wait and see what happens.  For now, MPH has sent them a copy of Lovers and Strangers Revisited, and I’m in the midst of emailing to them, highlighting the good track record of those 17 short stories set mostly in Malaysia.  And yes, I’ll be mentioning The Story Behind The Story, which seems to  keep growing and growing…
        --Borneo Expat Writer

*Update: Here's a link to the intro and excerpts in French and to four reviews of Trois Autres Malaisie in,,, and Petit Futé mag.

**Here’s an update to the French blog about Trois autres Malaisie, a link to meeting the French translator Jerome Bouchaud in Kuching, and also to order a copy or recommend it to your friends, especially those who would like to know more about Malaysia or have an interest in Southeast Asia.

***Update, the 20th anniversary of Lovers and Strangers Revisited


sintaicharles said...

Great news!

Borneo Expat Writer said...

Thanks. Nothing official. The interest is there and we'll take it from there. This is how the French deal came along. They contacted me, I followed up with a lengthy letter about the book, as a formal pitch, the reviews, the link to "On Fridays".

MPH has already sent them a copy. The rep in Kuching had already read an article about me and the review from The Star. No doubt they followed that up by checking out my website, my blog. It's all tied together.

Now it's a matter of following up. Getting it translated into BM will also open the door to Indoneasia. Just wished I had done this years ago but went about it the wrong way. Instead of making casual enquiries for someone to translate the book, I went straight to the BM publisher, and if they want the book, they'll deal with the translation.