We at Brow Books team are excited to announce that we are to publish Duanwad Pimwana’s exuberant and melancholic novel Bright, translated from the Thai by Mui Poopoksakul. Bright is the first novel by a Thai woman to appear in English. It is out this month in the United States through Two Lines Press.
Bright will be out in Australia in June, but you can pre-order it now. Here’s a sneak peak of our cover:
About the book:
Five-year-old Kampol’s father tells him to sit on the kerb and await his return. The confused boy does as he’s told, he waits and waits, until eventually he realises his father may not be coming back. In his parents’ absence, Kampol is adopted by the community and raised on rotation by the local adults.
Flea markets, the search for a ten-baht coin, pet crickets eaten for dinner, bouncy ball fads, and loneliness so merciless that it kills a boy’s appetite: Duanwad Pimwana’s urban vignettes form an off-beat and myth-like coming-of-age story about an unforgettable young boy and the community surrounding him.
About the author:
Duanwad Pimwana is a major voice in contemporary Thai literature. She won Southeast Asia’s most prestigious literary prize, the S.E.A. Write Award, in 2003 for her novel Bright and she is also the recipient of awards from PEN International Thailand among others. Acclaimed for her subtle fusing of magic realism with Thai urban culture, she has published nine books. Bright is her first novel to be translated into English, and Arid Dreams is her first collection of stories.
Born to farmer parents, Pimwana attended a vocational school and started off as a journalist at a local newspaper. She is one of only six women to have won the Thai section of the S.E.A. Write in its thirty-seven-year history. Known for fusing touches of magic realism with social realism, she has published nine books, including a novella and collections of short stories, poetry, and cross-genre writing, and is currently working on a political novel. She often draws inspiration from the fishing and farming communities of her native Chonburi, a seaside province on the Thai east coast, where she now lives with her partner, the poet Prakai Pratchaya.
About the translator:
Mui Poopoksakul is a lawyer-turned-translator. She grew up in Bangkok and Boston, and practiced law in New York City before returning to the literary field. She is the translator of Prabda Yoon’s The Sad Part Was (2017) and Moving Parts (2018), both winners of a PEN Translates award. The Sad Part Was was also shortlisted for the UK Translators’ Association First Translation Prize. She previously guest-edited the Thailand issue of Words Without Borders, and her work has also appeared in various literary journals, including Two Lines, Asymptote, The Quarterly Conversation, and In Other Words. She is based in Berlin.
Praise for Bright:
“Bright is an authentic portrait of a working class community in Thailand, written in a remarkably clean prose style and with profound compassion. Duanwad Pimwana’s bittersweet novel reveals glimpses of the inner life of Thai culture in such an entertaining and jocular manner that one can’t help but absorb its social realist ingredients with pleasure and ease. With Pimwana’s contribution, contemporary Thai literature is stronger, and I believe that this wonderful translation of one of her best works will prove to be seminal for Thailand’s place in the literary world.”
Prabda Yoon, author of Moving Parts
“Duanwad Pimwana has a knack for finding the gap between who we are and who we’d like to be, and deftly inserting her scalpel there. Across the villages and cities of Thailand, her characters exist in a state of constant anxiety, unable to fit in but having nowhere else to go.”
Jeremy Tiang, author of State of Emergency
“Pimwana’s enchanting debut (the first novel by a Thai woman translated into English) captures the vivid life of a small Thai child abandoned by his family. ... Readers will enjoy Kampol’s antics, the colorful side characters, and glimpses of Thai culture in this melancholy-tinged but still exuberant novel.”