Quayum, Mohammad A. (ed.)
Interviews with Modern Malaysian and Singaporean Poets, Novelists and Dramatists
Year of Publication: 2007
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 305 pp.
ISBN 978-3-03911-061-2 pb. (Softcover)
Weight: 0.460 kg, 1.014 lbs
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This book brings together for the first time interviews with sixteen major writers in the English language from Malaysia and Singapore. Three generations of writers representing various literary genres and ethnic groups come together to make this book fully illustrative of the literature of the two countries. In their respective interviews, the writers discuss significant issues pertaining to their own lives, careers, and works. They also explain what they think of the present state of their own societies, literatures, and cultures, and where they stand vis-à-vis the questions of religion, science, technology, censorship, gender, ethnicity, multiculturalism, nationalism, and globalisation. Moreover, the writers comment on the challenges they encounter writing in an «alien» language as well as in an environment of growing materialism and technocracy; and, finally, they discuss the future of their own writing and writing in English in Malaysia and Singapore more generally.
Contents: Edwin Thumboo (1933-) - Wong Phui Nam (1935-) - Robert Yeo (1940-) - Catherine Lim (1942-) - Muhammad Haji Salleh (1942-) - Chuah Guat Eng (1943-) - Shirley Geok-lin Lim (1944-) - Leong Liew Geok (1947-) - Suchen Christine Lim (1948-) - Kirpal Singh (1949-) - Kee Thuan Chye (1954-) - Che Husna Azhari (1955-) - Marie Gerrina Louis (1964-) - Philip Jeyaretnam (1964-) - Lau Siew Mei (1968-) - Dina Zaman (1969-).
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Editor: Mohammad A. Quayum has taught at universities in Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and the US, and is currently professor of English at International Islamic University Malaysia. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, and his scholarly articles have appeared in distinguished literary journals in the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, India, and Malaysia.
«This fascinating and invaluable collection of interviews will be of lasting interest, not only to those with a specific interest in Malaysian and Singapore literature written in English, but also to the growing number of scholars and students working in the broader field of South East Asian literature. Professor Quayum's innovative use of email interview has elicited considered and articulate responses from sixteen major modern Malaysian and Singaporean writers on a range of important issues, such as the choice of English as a literary language, the role and responsibility of the writer, literature in a consumerist society and national identity. The interviews are complemented by an informative and lucid introduction, which provides the historical and literary contexts in which Professor Quayum's subjects have written, outlines his methodology and highlights both similarities and contrasts in some of the writers' responses. Professor Quayum is to be congratulated for making these interviews accessible to a wide audience in this volume.» (David Smyth, Chair, Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia and the Islands, SOAS, University of London)
«This is an exceptionally well-edited and thought-provoking collection of interviews with writers from an important region of South-East Asia. In the course of these fascinating and engaging interviews that were conducted through e-mail - an instance of technology as friend rather than foe as the editor notes in his informative introduction - the writers express their views on such important issues as the value of literature in contemporary social life, the politics of language choice and use, the problems of censorship, the status of women, the complexities of diasporic identity and ethnicity, and modern Asian responses to consumerism and globalisation. 'Peninsular Muse' is not just a «first» in gathering together interviews with writers from Malaysia and Singapore, it is also a most welcome addition to the growing field of new literatures in English.» (Victor Li, Professor of English, University of Toronto, Canada)
«Mohammad A. Quayum has done us a great service by bringing together this collection of interviews with sixteen major English-language writers of Malaysia and Singapore. It allows the writers to speak for themselves on the meaning and purpose of literature and on the particular issues raised by writing in English in these two countries. His comprehensive introduction provides, in effect, a history and commentary on these two interconnected literatures. Anyone interested in the exciting writing coming from Singapore and Malaysia will find this book a fascinating source of information and ideas.» (Graham Tulloch, Professor of English, Flinders University, Australia)
Modern Poetry. Vol. 2
Edited by David Ayers, David Herd and Jan Montefiore