“Capturing the Spirit of Malaysia” published in the July-August issue of Senses of Malaysia, which I posted yesterday, is my 500th publication, and it falls on August, too. I love August, my birthday month, which over the years has often been a good month for me as a writer. August is a big month this year for Malaysians, too. Not only is it the fasting month of Ramadan, but also its Hari Raya and then Merdeka! (Malaysian’s Independence Day).
Last August Cha: An Asian Literary Journal accepted my 100th short story sale, “On Fridays” and even linked it with the blog, The Story Behind the Story. Most of those short story sales have come from Lovers and Strangers Revisited (the French translation is due out very soon, originally slated for August, though it’s looking more like September), including my last short story sale “Home for Hari Raya”. Just in time for this year’s Hari Raya.
In August 2009, I had a short story, “The Merdeka Miracle” (written with Lydia Teh and Tunku Halim) published in the August issue of Going Places, an article “Becoming Malaysianized” in Pop Club (Popular Books), and then I won the 2009 Popular The Star Reader’s Choice awards for Lovers and Strangers Revisited—a rather nice belated birthday present.
Of course for reporters and those who write weekly newspaper or online columns, 500 isn’t such a big deal. They’ll reach that in 10 years, assuming they write nothing else. My friend Mary Schneider, who I just met with in Penang and who writes for The Star (and has a birthday in August) has already passed her 700th column! (Not easy to come up with all those ideas, she tells me.) So I have a long way to catch up to her and I began publishing years before she did. Hmm, perhaps I should look into writing a column of my own. . . . My 500 total, by the way, doesn’t include the 224 blog posts. Many in fact are actual articles that have gone onto being published elsewhere.
“Capturing the Spirit of Malaysia” will also be repeated in the August issue of The Expat (still awaiting my copy). I have another article or two that should be coming out this month (not confirmed), plus this weekend I do have a creative writing workshop in Kota Kinabalu (if you haven’t signed up, or know someone who may be interested in KK, please contact the organizers). Already this August is shaping into a pretty good month (we even spent my birthday in Penang) and there’s still 21 days to go! Of course my birthday wish this August is an agent and a book contract for one of my novels (two did rather well in the recent Faulkner-Wisdom novel contest). That would make this particular August absolutely divine…
Here are links to some of my author-to-author interviews of first novelists:
Ivy Ngeow author of Cry of the Flying Rhino, winner of the 2016 Proverse Prize.
Golda Mowe author of Iban Dream and Iban Journey.
Preeta Samarasan author of Evening is the Whole Day.
Chuah Guat Eng, author of Echoes of Silence and Days of Change.
Five part Maugham and Me series
Beheaded on Road to Nationhood: Sarawak Reclaimed—Part I