We are very excited to help make history with Bright, our latest Brow Books title, officially on shelves today! Written by Duanwad Pimwana and translated by Mui Poopoksakul, Bright is the first novel by a Thai woman to appear in English outside of Thailand. It’s preposterous that you can’t walk into a bookstore in Australia and find dozens of novels or short story collections or creative nonfiction from Thai writers; here’s hoping that Bright is the first of many.
Pimwana is a major voice in contemporary Thai literature with a knack for finding the gap between who we are and who we’d like to be, and Bright is a beautiful example of this. Equal parts melancholic and exuberant, it won Southeast Asia’s most prestigious literary prize, the S.E.A. Write Award, in 2003. Pimwana is one of only six women to have won the Thai section of the S.E.A.
About the book:
Bright follows five-year-old Kampol, whose 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.
Bright is available now to buy in all good bookstores, or you can purchase it directly from us below!
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.”
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.
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.