BooksActually’s Gold Standard 2016


Several months ago, I was invited to translate for and contribute to this groundbreaking anthology of Asian writing – BooksActually’s Gold Standard 2016. This is the first edition a new annual anthology comprising what indie Singaporean bookstore BooksActually considers the best short fiction from cult writers in East and Southeast Asia.

If you’re going to be in Sydney this Thursday (Dec 1) you’re more than welcome to pop by for the anthology launch at Better Read Than Dead in Newtown! There’ll be wine. And a spirited conversation on race and writing. (Event details here.)

I was incredibly honored by the invitation. And very inspired by the anthology’s aspirations (which you can read more about here, in an interview I conducted for Asymptote of the anthology’s editor Julie Koh).

The story I wrote for the anthology is titled “Cocooned,” and was adapted from my unpublished realist novel set in the glittering world of wealthy Chinese-Indonesian society at the turn of the 21st century. (Very different in tone from The Oddfits.)

The Indonesian stories I translated for the anthology are “Once Upon A Time There Was Mother and Radian” by Avianti Armand and “This Kid Wants to Piss All Over Jakarta” by Ahmad Tohari. Both were originally published in the Indonesian newspaper Kompas. (That’s right! Newspapers in Indonesia frequently have sections devoted to publishing stories and poems! How cool is that!) And each story was awarded the prize for best short story in Kompas for the respective years they came out (2009 and 2015).

The anthology is available for purchase here. Do consider it. You’ll get nineteen of the most compelling and original voices in Asia in return. Even with international shipping costs thrown in, it’s a bargain when you think about it – less than 2 US dollars per compelling and original Asian voice!



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