Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A world class writer from Singapore

Isa Kamari is the first author from Singapore that Silverfish is publishing. We have an agreement to publish three of his books -- 1819, RAWA, and A Song of the Wind. To date we have only received the second and third titles from the printers, but we have already uploaded them on our online store. They are currently available at Silverfish Books in Bangsar Baru only. They will be going out to the other stores (in KL and Singapore) soon. This is also the first time we are publishing books translated from Malay.

Why are we doing it? First, we read his Malay version and thought he's a world-class writer. Second, we want to expand our horizons to ASEAN. Third, Singapore NAC is supporting the project. (In that order.)

A Song of the Wind
Isa Kamari

"I recall the day our family moved to Kampung Tawakal in 1967. We were living in a room with my aunt in Kampung Tekad, an adjacent village, before that. We had become a family of six by then - Father, Mother, two younger sisters and a brother - and we needed more room. At seven, I was the oldest child, Father worked as a typewriter mechanic at the British camp on Alexandra Road and mother was a housewife."

A SONG of the WIND - which spans from 1960s till 1990s, tells the story of a twenty-one-year-old Singapore Malay remembering his childhood and his teenage years in Kampung Tawakal, before his family moved into a Housing Development Board (HDB) flat in Ang Mo Kio. It is the story about him falling in and out of love, studying at the Raffles Institution, confronting the stirrings of manhood, discovered the meaning of friendship, and treading a precarious religious path. His journey, too, collides somewhat dramatically with the real-time history of an emerging independent Singapore nation.

Isa Kamari

"Rawa is the name of the island and its waters. Rawa is the wind. It is also the name he has lived with for seventy years. He is Rawa, in name and essence.

He's now returning to the land, to the waters. He is coming back to the winds after more than thirty years."

RAWA is the story of the Orang Seletar (an indigenous people of Singapore who lived in boats) that spans three generations from 1950s to 1980s. It is a story of how the Orang Seletar became refugees from their own land in the relentless pursuit of modernisation in Singapore in the sixties, and of how they were assimilated into the Malay community. It is also the story of the socio-political changes in the Singaporean Malay world during that period.