New Publications (Competition Winner: ‘Dunelm War’)

I sincerely apologise for my silence last month, during which I wrote not a single blog post. I won’t make too many excuses (such as finishing up my last 2 essays and revising for my 3 final exams this month) and hope you don’t hold it against me. I’ve had several exciting publications recently though, including one that won a writing competition, which I’d like to share with you all!

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1. My short story ‘Dunelm War‘ won the literary magazine From the Lighthouse 2014 inaugural writing competition (short fiction)!

From the Lighthouse is Durham University English Society’s new literary magazine ‘looking for work either from, about, featuring, or carrying a sentiment of, Durham and the North East.’ They launched a writing competition last November based on this theme and so ‘Dunelm War’ was written then. I have to say, out of all my stories I’ve written so far, I had the most fun writing this! The premise is this: What would happen if a no-holds-barred civil war broke out in the lovely city of Durham?

Here are the first 2 sentences:

Tim, a third year anthropologist, pushed Old Man John over the side of Elvet Bridge into the river. For the locals of Durham, this proved to be the final straw; there remained only one path, and that was the one to war.

Needless to say, I didn’t relent and went all out, creating a caricature of university life and utilising every stereotype I could think of. Even good old Bill Bryson makes a cameo appearance.

There’s something deeply satisfying in writing something purely for my own entertainment, and it’s an added bonus when it’s approved by others! My editors thoroughly enjoyed it, one even calling it one of his favourites of mine so far and remarking ‘you really have a thing for satire.’ (Thanks, J-Love.)

And I’m presuming the judges enjoyed it too since they awarded it 1st place! Judges were: Kelly Falconer (founder of Asia Literary Agency), Lauren Owen (author of The Quick), John Challis (award-winning poet). Many thanks to them all.

Enjoy this satirical tale concerning the ‘town vs gown’ issue—have a read, let me know what you think and please share!

~

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2. My flash fiction piece ‘The Girl by the Lake‘ was reprinted in an anthology entitled Reverberations!

Originally posted on my blog in August 2014, then subsequently published by The Bubble in October, ‘The Girl by the Lake’ has now made its 3rd appearance in an anthology created and edited by Pegah Moradi and Stella Elena Alexandrova, which I unexpectedly found in my Hatfield College pigeonhole one fine day!

It’s always a pleasant surprise to see my work in print and am grateful to the editors for choosing my story. ‘The Girl by the Lake’ opens the anthology, setting the tone for the other stories/poems divided into sections including identity, loss, humour and love.

Stella Elena Alexandrova wrote a lovely narrative intro to my piece:

I walk to get lost.

For most people walking is a tool, a way to get from point A to point B; for me it’s an escape. For those blissful minutes, those hours, I can be a world away. I can relive every moment of joy and forget every second of sorrow.

I walk to get lost.

But sometimes that is the furthest thing from what happens. Instead, I find that I am found. Instead, when I stand there to lose myself, I see someone being found.

I see a girl by a lake…

Who is this girl by the lake? Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out.

~

family matters

3. My essay/memoir ‘A Masquerading Outsider’ was published in Family Matters: Stories of God’s faithfulness to children in OMF!

My parents belong to OMF International, an interdenominational Protestant missionary organisation based in East Asia. I was asked to write an account of my own experiences as a TCK regarding the various identity crises I went through for ‘an anthology of stories focused on family life in cross-cultural contexts.’

Essentially, it’s an updated and much more detailed version of my essay ‘TCKs: Children of the World‘ published by Japan Harvest back in 2012. It contains a lot more personal anecdotes and unrepressed thoughts. To be fair, my thoughts and feelings have progressed and evolved since writing this piece more than a year ago, but it’s a pretty accurate depiction of what I went through and how I felt.

I talk about how ‘I will always be a masquerading outsider’ in Japan; how ‘I subconsciously want the politeness of the Japanese, the racial integration of Singaporeans, the friendliness of Americans, the table manners of the British, etc., to be present in one society’ despite knowing it to be an impossibility (you were supposed to laugh); but ultimately realising that the ‘entire earth is my stage’ and thus ‘I am now a vagabond at peace.’ (<- *ahem* blog title *ahem*)

If you’re interested in getting to know me and my life story better, and somehow manage to get hold of a copy, do have a read and let me know what you think!

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4. I’ve also been doing some freelance writing since December, 2 of which you can read here if you’re interested (I know, it’s random):

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As I look forward to graduating in June, I have ambitious plans and goals for my writing. Once my degree is finished, I can finally begin writing my first novel! Also, I have some exciting news coming up this summer so stay tuned for… a new literary magazine?!

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