For the second year in a row, my novel Taking the Expat Exit (formerly A Perfect Day for an Expat Exit) was named finalist for the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Award. (In 2014 it was also a short-list finalist and a finalist 2012!) “The Musical Tree”, an excerpt from the novel, was recently published in French.
In 2015, the sequel The Girl in the Bathtub (formerly Caught in a Mousetrap: Expats at Play), was also a finalist (and a finalist for 2012 Novel-in-Progress category). Both are set in Penang, Malaysia.
An Unexpected Gift from a Growling Fool, was also named a semi-finalist this year, though it was a short-list finalist in 2013! In the past, another novel The Resurrection of Jonathan Brady was a short-list finalist in 2014 (and Quarter-finalist in 2012 Amazon Breakthrough) and my novella The Act of Theft, a finalist in 2014 Novella category. At least I’m persistent!
This year Faulkner-Wisdom had 502 full-length novel entries, so competition was fierce. Although judging can be subjective from year to year, my two Malaysian-set novels keep striking a chord with the judges. Every year since 2011 at least one of my Malaysian novels has been a finalist or a short-list finalist for the Faulkner-Wisdom Novel Award. Not a bad track record….After getting some encouraging feedback from a US agent recently, along with an insightful critique of Taking the Expat Exit that pointed me in the right direction, I plan to rewrite the novel after finishing the first draft of a new book that I’ve been working on.
I’m also planning to do a series of dialogue type of interviews with other novelists that I have met, starting with London-based, Malaysian author Ivy Ngeow who has her first two novels coming out this year (one of which was crowdfunded in the UK). She had interviewed me back in July after I read the advance copy of one of her novels and has been quite busy working with both publishers. Should be exciting.
—Borneo Expat Writer