From Latin gaudium meaning joy, Gaudy Boy publishes books and media that delight readers and viewers with the various powers of art. The name is taken from the poem “Gaudy Turnout” by Singaporean author Arthur Yap, about his time abroad in 1970's Leeds, UK. Similarly inspired, Gaudy Boy brings literary works by authors of Asian heritage to the attention of an American audience. We publish poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction of exceptional merit. To submit a fiction or creative non-fiction manuscript, please query Jee Leong Koh at firstname.lastname@example.org with the completed book proposal below. For poetry manuscripts, please submit to our annual Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Contest (submission period: 1 March to 31 May). Follow us on Facebook.
MALAY SKETCHES: STORIES by Alfian Sa’at
$16.95 / 5" x 8" / 212 pages
March 1, 2018
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Longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
An urgent collection of short stories from one of Singapore’s most celebrated voices, now published in America for the first time.
A hijab-wearing schoolgirl who refuses to shake the president’s hand. A woman who joins a dating website for “East-West” connections and instead meets a Muslim French-Canadian man in her Arabic language class. The hantu tetek—a ghost who kills children by squeezing their heads between her breasts. A Malay doctor embarrassed by his patient’s teen pregnancy. A sleeping boy on the bus who awakens a sudden feeling of tenderness in a lonely stranger.
Precise yet universal, grounded yet probing, Malay Sketches gives us a prismatic window into the doubly minoritized Malay-Muslim community in Singapore. Alternating between flash fiction and longer ruminative stories, Alfian Sa’at adopts the role of compassionate and creative demographer, tracing the inner lives of his fictional characters as they navigate individual and collective nostalgias, religious piety and doubt, and issues of class and race.
Malay Sketches introduces Alfian Sa’at as a major contemporary author of searing insight, new perspective, and poetic grace to American readers for the first time.
Alfian Sa’at is a Singaporean author, playwright, poet, and translator. He has written more than thirty plays in English and Malay that have been read and performed in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich, Munich, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. He is the author of the short-story collection Corridor and the poetry collections One Fierce Hour, A History of Amnesia, and The Invisible Manuscript. His awards include the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature, the Golden Point Award for poetry, and three Life! Theatre Awards for Best Original Script. Malay Sketches is his first work to be published in the US. He is currently the resident playwright of the acclaimed theater group W!LD RICE. He lives in Singapore.
“The first time I read Malay Sketches, I was intrigued by the dialogue Alfian Sa’at had created between a pre-modern colonialism and a postmodern empathy. The second time I read it, I admired its pitch-perfect language and the warm but acute understanding of characters who do not represent ideas, but live individual lives. Alfian is less the promise of a new generation of post-colonial writers than he is the leading edge of transition to an exciting and contemporary national literature of Singapore.”
—Harold Augenbraum, Franke Visiting Fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center of Yale University and past executive director of the National Book Foundation
“Terse and profound, deliciously local and specific and thus absolutely relevant to us all now, Malay Sketches opens us up to a world we need to know. A huge pleasure and a must-read.”
—Gina Apostol, author of Gun Dealers' Daughter, PEN Open Book Award winner
“Afian Sa’at’s Malay Sketches offers a nuanced and moving portrait of Singapore’s Malay community. With a beguilingly light touch, Alfian tackles weighty matters of race, class, gender, and language. These quicksilver sketches, often quietly humorous and always compassionate, are a deep pleasure to read and ponder. By turns rueful, dejected, fierce, disgraced, uplifted, baffled, and more—there’s so much life here!—Alfian’s characters are memorably real. This is a charming, incisive, and graceful book.”
—Martha Cooley, author of Guesswork and The Archivist
“Deft and sure-footed, these short, sharp pieces function both as necessary jibes in the face of mainstream complacency, and as a tender, clear-eyed evocation of the Singaporean Malay experience.”
—Jeremy Tiang, author of State of Emergency and It Never Rains on National Day
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