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August 2022: Yen Ooi

Photo of author Yen Ooi

Photo credit: iamkenloh

Yen Ooi is a writer-editor-researcher whose works explore East and Southeast Asian culture, identity and values. Her projects aim to cultivate cultural engagement in our modern, technology-driven lives. She is a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London looking at the development of Chinese science fiction by diaspora writers and writers from Chinese-speaking nations. Yen is narrative director and writer on Road to Guangdong, a narrative-style driving game. She is author of Rén: The Ancient Chinese Art of Finding Peace and Fulfilment (non-fiction), Sun: Queens of Earth (novel) and A Suspicious Collection of Short Stories and Poetry (collection). She is also co-editor of Ab Terra, Brain Mill Press's science fiction imprint. When she's not got her head in a book, she lectures, mentors and plays the viola.

Read more on her website.

We're delighted to feature Yen Ooi this summer, with her non-fiction book Rén: The Ancient Chinese Art of Finding Peace and Fulfilmentpublished in 2022 by Welbeck Publishing Group and illustrated by Sinjin Li.

The book takes the Confucian concept of Rén and looks at the ways in which it can help us navigate our own, hectic modern lives.

Cover of book, Ren: The Ancient Chinese Art of Finding Peace and FulfilmentThe Chinese character for Rén 仁 combines the word for 'person' 亻and the number 'two' 二, representing human connection. And in the teachings of ancient philosopher Confucius, Rén is the study of our relationship with those around us.

In this accessible and beautiful book, Yen Ooi explains the various facets of Rén and explores how this philosophy applies to everything from our relationship with ourselves and the people in our lives, to how we relate to society and the wider world.

She shows us how, using the basic principles of Rén and through simple changes to our lives, we can connect better with friends, family and colleagues, become helpful members of society and find fulfilment in ideas of community, justice, morality and compassion.

We're grateful to the author and publisher for allowing us to feature an excerpt from the book.

If you'd like to find out more, there's a lovely interview with Yen on the Chinese Books for Young Readers blog, where she discusses Rén, as well as her work in science fiction, and her childhood reading and recommendations.

I have been working as a writer for just over ten years and I love working with different formats, mediums, and genres. I’m passionate about exploring ideas of culture and identity in storytelling. As a British East and Southeast Asian (BESEA) writer, it is wonderful to be a part of communities like The Bubble Tea Writers Network where BESEA writers can connect and engage with each other’s work.

October 2022: Read an interview with Yen on our blog!