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December 2017: Jeremy Tiang

Jeremy Tiang is the author of State of Emergency (2017, finalist for the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize) and It Never Rains on National Day (2015, shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize). He won the Golden Point Award for Fiction in 2009 for his story “Trondheim”. He also writes and translates plays, including A Dream of Red PavilionsThe Last Days of LimehouseA Son Soon by Xu Nuo, and Floating Bones by Quah Sy Ren and Han Lao Da. Tiang has translated more than ten books from the Chinese—including novels by Chan Ho-Kei, Zhang Yueran, Yeng Pway Ngon and Su Wei-chen—and has received an NEA Literary Translation Fellowship, a PEN/Heim Translation Grant, and a People’s Literature Award Mao-Tai Cup. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

Bio from Ricepaper Magazine

We're delighted to feature Jeremy as our author of the month for a second time. He recently visited us in Leeds to talk about his debut novel State of Emergency, and discuss the literary scene in Singapore.

Jeremy Tiang’s debut novel dives into the tumultuous days of leftist movements and political detentions in Singapore and Malaysia. It follows an extended family from the 1940s to the present day as they navigate the choppy political currents of the region. What happens when the things that divide us also bind us together?

There's a lovely review of the novel from Theophilus Kwek at the Asian Review of Books:

'In the end, State of Emergency speaks as much to a world rocked by division and inequality as a country grappling with its own biography. It persuades us that there is always another layer to the truth, that one’s security and prosperity is ever, for another, a perpetual and bruising state of emergency.'

We'd like to thank Jeremy and Ricepaper Magazine for allowing us to reprint his story 'Corridor', first published in Ricepaper in September 2017, for our December Writing Chinese Bookclub.

We have previously featured Jeremy's story '1997', first published in The Brooklyn Rail, and later reprinted in our special issue of Stand magazine, on Chinese Journeys. Jeremy's collection of short stories, It Never Rains on National Day, published by Epigram Books, was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize.

A woman fleeing her previous existence meets a fellow Singaporean on an overnight train in Norway. A foreign worker is decapitated in an HDB building site accident. A Singaporean wife must negotiate Beijing as her British husband awaits a heart transplant. And in different corners of the world, Singaporeans and exiles mark National Day in their own ways.

Ploughshares magazine interviewed Jeremy about the book and his writing.

You can find out more about Jeremy and his work on his website.