Acclaimed novelist, poet, and playwright R. Zamora Linmark makes his first foray into young adult literature with The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart, a big-hearted novel about friendship, first love and, inevitably, sadness and pain. Read More »
Picture books are an influential medium, they have the ability to make children ponder, imagine, and question. There’s so much beauty and power in their brevity and visual appeal. Growing up in India, I did not have access to this category of books. I was introduced to them as an adult. And as a parent raising kids in the U.S, I’ve relied on them for everything – from potty training and early learning to first-times and friendship woes. I fell in love with them so much that I followed my heart and began writing them. However, I often wonder about themes that are not commonly seen in mainstream picture books (while I find them more accessible in books that cater to older children). If you think about events, people, places, and experiences that young kids are exposed to on a daily basis through social interactions or via media, we don’t really include most of them in our stories.
Many families are caught up in all sorts of struggles, small and big, everyday or long term. And children are great observers and sensors – they notice, listen, and particularly pick up on the mildest disruptions. Why then do we shy away from centering stories around topics like poverty or terminal illness, alcoholism, disability, guns, divorce, adoption or death? These things happen to us, around us. All the time. When my kids lost their first grandparent in India, they were confused, their grief compounded by immigrant-life challenges. My daughter was 6.Read More »
I’ve always considered myself an accepting person. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, I always knew when certain things felt right or wrong, when it was important to push for progress.
But all of that always pointed outward. As a Chinese-American and a child of immigrants, internal acceptance came much harder; in fact, on the cusp of 40, it’s still a struggle. No matter how much I fought for others, it was difficult to fight for myself — even in the face of explicit racism towards my parents. In those situations, a lot of internalized victim-blaming happened. “If only my parents weren’t so Chinese” or “if only they weren’t so frugal” or “if only their accents weren’t so thick.”
Because I hated being Chinese. The constant messages from culture were obvious: Asians of any type weren’t cool or sexy or heroic. And even if Asians made it on screen, we were all lumped together into one generic Asian bucket, regardless of South Asian, South-East Asian, West Asian and Central Asian identities.Read More »
It seems that my publishing journey of Travails of a Trailing Spouse can be divided into two distinct phases: Before the novel was released, and After publication. The two are both important in the making of the bestseller, but very different, and so I thought I’d sit down and parse out how it all went for me. Read More »
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in literary magazines and anthologies in Singapore, Australia, the UK, and the US. Rainbirds is her first novel.
People often ask me, “Do you have any advice on how to be a writer?” I usually quote Stephen King. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot and write a lot.” I will also add, “Work hard, and never give up.”
But when people ask me for advice on how to publish internationally, or how to make
a living as a traditionally published writer, I will tell them to get a good agent.