Brow Books to Publish Duanwad Pimwana's ‘Bright’

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.

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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.

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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.”

Publishers Weekly

Brow Books signs Jamie Marina Lau's next two novels

 
 
 

We at Brow Books are absolutely thrilled to announce that we have signed up two more novels by Jamie Marina Lau, author of Pink Mountain on Locust Island. Brow Books has secured world rights to both books, with the first, Gunk Baby, to be published in 2020, and the second, Fuji, to be published after that.

This news is particularly exciting as it happens just ahead of next week’s announcement of the 2019 Stella Prize winner – Jamie’s Pink Mountain on Locust Island is shortlisted. Don’t forget: from now until the announcement on Tuesday night, you can get Jamie’s novel (as well as Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic, also shortlisted) at a 20% discount at our online shop.

We can’t wait to publish Jamie’s next two novels so that you can get them into your hands. We promise you that they’ll be quite unlike anything else you’ve read.

In Gunk Baby, we join Leen just as she opens an ear-cleaning and massage salon at the Topic Heights Shopping Complex. Soon she starts to notice increasingly odd behaviour around her, and also it seems that managers of other stores are being killed off. In nonstop prose, Gunk Baby takes aim at orientalism and the Zen movement, violence, fashion, and middle-class boredom.

Fuji is a novel of five interlinked parts, revolving around ‘The Centre’, an organisation responsible for recreational and therapeutic virtual reality, and also for holographic memory-keeping. Mothers, daughters, simulations, motorcycle gangs, : all are caught up in this story of paranoia, obsession, addiction, possession, and love.

 
Photo credit:  Leah Jing

Photo credit: Leah Jing

Jamie Marina Lau (劉劍冰) is a 22-year-old writer and musician from Melbourne. Her debut novel Pink Mountain on Locust Island won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Readings Residency Award, was shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize, the 2019 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards and the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, and was longlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Her writing can also be found in various publications. She is currently studying film and literature, producing music, and working on more fiction.

 

Two Brow Books titles shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize

We are so delighted to share the news that two Brow Books authors, Jamie Marina Lau (Pink Mountain on Locust Island) and Maria Tumarkin (Axiomatic), have been shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize for their books.

As a small press that only published its first book in 2016, this double-shortlisting is incredibly exciting for us. We’re now holding our breaths until April 9th (a very long time to hold breath!) when the winner is announced. Until then, huge congratulations to our two authors, and deep thanks to The Stella Prize, and to this year’s judges.

 
 

“Lau’s dizzying prose is like a series of crazy neon-lit performance art as she dissects, with extraordinary effervescence, Monk’s teenage angst, her struggles to fit in with her school friends, their parents, her father and her unhappily married sister. Reading this book is the literary equivalent of riding a rollercoaster while listening to a virtuoso violin performance by a child prodigy. Simply stunning."

–from the Stella Prize judges’ report for Pink Mountain on Locust Island


Pink Mountain on Locust Island
: winner of the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Readings Residency Award, shortlisted in the 2019 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize.

"I was really interested in writing about the transactions between people and of people as a 'product'. What was also very important to me was exploring the difference between choice and necessity of certain professions and lifestyles – especially unpacking the social, cultural and psychological obligations of professions which rely on giving their customers 'hope' – for instance, professions in entertainment, drug culture and religious/spiritual organisations. All this – and then how it ties in with diasporic communities too."

–from Jamie Marina Lau, in The Guardian

Jamie Marina Lau (劉劍冰) is a 22-year-old writer and musician from Melbourne. Her work can be found in Cordite, ROOKIE magazine, Voiceworks, the Art Hoe Collective and in Monash University’s 2016 anthology Futures. She is currently studying film and literature, producing music, and working on more fiction.

 

“Take anything you’ve ever known about how nonfiction is supposed to work and throw it out the window: Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic is an unwieldy, expansive beast that combines lyrical essay with psychological reportage. Axiomatic pushes the boundaries of nonfiction so far out that they will never recover, and in so doing develops an essay style that perfectly reflects the complexities of our era.”

–from the Stella Prize judges’ report for Axiomatic


Axiomatic
: winner of the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award, shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, shortlisted for the 2019 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, longlisted for the Australian 2019 Indie Book Awards, shortlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize.

Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. She is the author of Axiomatic and also three other acclaimed books of ideas: Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland. All three were shortlisted for literary prizes; Otherland was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award, NSW Premier’s Award and The Age Book of the Year. Tumarkin’s essays have appeared in The Best Australian Essays (2011, 2012 & 2015), Griffith Review, Meanjin, The Monthly, Sydney Review of Books, The Age, The Australian, and Inside Story. Tumarkin is involved in wide-ranging artistic collaborations with visual artists, theatre makers and audio designers. She was a 2013–14 Sidney Myer Creative Fellow in humanities and is a member of the Melbourne Writers Festival’s programming committee. Maria teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.

Charlie Fox's THIS YOUNG MONSTER out today

We’re thrilled that today is finally the day we get to say: This Young Monster is officially out, hooray! And huzzah.

Charlie Fox’s extraordinary debut book is about monsters and queerness and bodies and disability and cinema and photography and music and transformation and shapeshifting and wonder and fashion and outsiderdom and freakishly beautiful lives.⁣

 


This Young Monster
is a hallucinatory celebration of artists who raise hell, transform their bodies, anger their elders and show their audience dark, disturbing things. What does it mean to be a freak? Why might we be wise to think of the present as a time of monstrosity? And how does the concept of the monster irradiate our thinking about queerness, disability, children and adolescents?

From Twin Peaks to Leigh Bowery, Harmony Korine to Alice in Wonderland, This Young Monster gets high on a whole range of riotous art as its voice and form shape-shift, all in the name of dealing with the strange wonders of what Nabokov once called ‘monsterhood’. Ready or not, here they come...

Our edition also features a brand new introduction – a wonderful essay by one our favourite writers, Adam Curley.

 
 
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Charlie Fox

is a writer who lives in London. His work has appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, frieze and many other publications. He was born in 1991.

 
 
 

PRAISE FOR THIS YOUNG MONSTER


“Good God, where did this wise-beyond-his-years 25-year-old critic’s voice come from? His breath of proudly putrefied air is something to behold. Finally, a new Parker Tyler is on the scene. Yep. Mr. Fox is the real thing.”
John Waters, New York Times


“Charlie Fox writes about scary and fabulous monsters, but he really writes about culture, which is the monster’s best and only escape. He is a dazzling writer, unbelievably erudite, and this book is a pleasure to read. Fox’s essays spin out across galaxies of knowledge. Domesticating the difficult, he invites us as his readers to become monsters as well.”
Chris Kraus 

“Charlie Fox is a ferociously gifted critic, whose prose, like a punk Walter Pater’s, attains pure flame. Fox’s sentences, never 'matchy-matchy', clash with orthodoxy; I love how extravagantly he leaps between different cultural climes, and how intemperately — and with what impressive erudition! — he pledges allegiance to perversity. Take This Young Monster with you to a desert island; his bons mots will supply you with all the protein you need.”
Wayne Koestenbaum 

This Young Monster is a hybrid animal in its own right, suturing biographical essays with stranger things: a “dumb fan letter” to the Beast, a meandering confession from Alice, bombed out after her many years in Wonderland. ... There’s not enough of this sort of playfulness and frank enthusiasm in art criticism.”
Olivia Laing, New Statesman 

“Charlie Fox has a cardsharp’s diamond-eye for cataloguing the shapeshifting face of the sublime. His essays slither through skins over the warm flesh where so many mythic worlds and realities connect, from that of Twin Peaks to Diane Arbus, Fassbinder to Columbine, which somehow in their amassment ventriloquise a tender, enchanted end­notes for our black present. Put on this mask and breathe.”
Blake Butler

 
 

Thank you Zoe Dzunko!

Today is a sad day and also a day for celebration, for it’s the moment to announce that after many glorious years in (volunteer) roles with us, it has come time for Zoe Dzunko — one of the current editors of our quarterly print magazine — to step aside. Zoe has some truly exciting new opportunities to focus on and also she is very keen to make space for newer/emerging editorial voices to come through – renewal and energy and momentum are important to our whole organisation here at TLB; we never want anyone to get too comfortable in a position when these positions are so consequential.

Nothing we can say/show you here can in any way go close to describing how much Zoe has given TLB over the years, but it’s vital that we formally and publicly acknowledge her remarkable contribution.

 
Zoe Dzunko.jpg
 

Zoe was Poetry Editor of The Lifted Brow from issues 24-31, and then (Co-)Editor of the magazine from issues 32-41 (except for Blak Brow), first with Annabel Brady-Brown, then with Annabel and also Justin Wolfers, and now most lately with Justin and Jini Maxwell.

It’s obviously been just an incredible run – and you need only look at the issues Zoe worked on — the writers she published, the writing she championed — to snatch a glimpse of what all Zoe is about.

Annabel, Justin and Jini have penned the below, on behalf of all us at TLB:

We've always been floored by the generosity and depth of Zoe's thinking and being. Her ferocious intellect and kindness has touched and shaped every corner of the Brow, from the poetry section which she edited from Issue 24 to 30, to our website that she dreamed up and built, to her role as co-editor of the magazine from Issue 31 onwards. Zoe has dedicated her time and labour for so many years now, nurturing writers and writing that is both deeply true to the Brow and to her own personal passions. These include her long-standing editorial relationships with columnists, particularly on environmental themes, and Issue 32 (‘The Capital issue’), which sought to “advocate for kindness, for language, for art that rages”. How very Zoe. The conviction that she has for ideas is truly awe-inspiring, and the careful loving attention she gives to every task she takes on is reflective of the greater way that she moves through the world. So, an astonishing peer, yes, but also a great companion – warm, committed, tender, and such a joy to be around. It’s been humbling to work alongside her, and a privilege to collaborate with her and be privy to her talents as a poet/writer/editor/thinker/designer/human/friend.

And Zoe wanted to say this to everyone out there:

It’s with a very heavy heart that I step down from my role as Co-Editor of the Brow. There are few things on earth I care more about than this publication and the organisation around it and I leave knowing that the time I’ve spent here will stand as one of my most inspiring and affirming experiences. For the past five years, TLB has felt like family — one that’s made up of people unnerving in their brilliance and indefatigable in their commitment to championing works that say something true about our world by asking us to view it through the lens of the kind of people we want to be, which is to say critical, open and ethical. All it has achieved, and everything it will go on to do, is a testament to the kind of people who pour so much of themselves into producing something with tremendous heart, and who care vividly about creating opportunities and inclusion for other writers and artists.

TLB means a lot to many people, for many different reasons, and it’s an organisation that cares more about its community and its writers than it does anything else. For me, it’s been a great source of hope; it’s hard to be cynical in the company of people giving their all to make something worthwhile. I’m lucky to have experienced this first-hand, and to find myself stepping out with tenfold the optimism I possessed stepping in. I can’t wait to read and rediscover the Brow as a reader again and I’m excited to witness the magic created at the hands of my inimitable co-editors Justin and Jini. Thanks for having me for all this time, it’s been so nice.

Zoe isn’t disappearing, and will still be involved in TLB things here and there, but for the time being we wish her the all the best and the support and all the love in her next pursuits.

Thank you Zoe. We can’t wait to see you carve your way into the future.

 
Zoe Dzunko 2.jpg
 

Mandy Ord's new book is officially out today!

Today is the official publication date of Mandy Ord’s When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over, and to say we are literally standing on the moon — nay, jumping up and down on the moon — with excitement, is an understatement.

When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over is a quietly enthralling and keenly intimate work about the search for meaning in the everyday, and what it might mean to belong. A record of a year of a life, When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over is an attempt to pin down time, to capture the most beautiful and fleeting moments that we tend to rush past.

This is the story of a person and those that surround her. It’s about ageing, love, and loss, and how we might try to balance work and family and art in this confusing modern world. Funny, sad, and perfectly magnetic, When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over draws you in deep; before you know it you’re caring intensely about the lives into which we are given some precious glimpses.

If you can, please do join us at the Melbourne launch at Readings Bookshop in Carlton on February 18th, where Mandy will be in conversation with Eloise Grills.

“Mandy Ord has again proven why she is one of the most chucklesome, sensitive and freshest visual storytellers in Australia. Unashamedly personal like a letter from a dear friend, Mandy's new book plumbs the depths of the ordinary and finds the universal, all the time with humility, humanity and humour.”
Oslo Davis

“Dogs, coffee, Grandma, work. Naps. The momentousness of everyday life is revealed through this year-long daily diary comic project by the autobiographical comic book genius, Mandy Ord. Her trademark black ink brushwork is recognisable a mile away, and her new book is a tragicomic expressionist vision of the world created by a bemused humanist who is obsessed by The Walking Dead and whose work is an ongoing, dedicated experiment in the mixing of comics and life.”
Bernard Caleo 

Mandy Ord is a comics artist, a cartoonist, an illustrator, a speaker and teacher of comics, a greengrocer, and a disability support worker. Mandy’s first graphic novel Rooftops was published in 2008, followed by her second book Sensitive Creatures, published in 2011 and which received a White Ravens award at the Bologna Book Fair. Mandy’s comic stories have also been included in a variety of local and international publications, such as Meanjin, The Age, Voiceworks, The Australian Rationalist Magazine, The Wheeler Centre website, Trouble Magazine, SBS Cornerfold, Going Down Swinging, Tango, and Inscribe Magazine. In 2018 Mandy illustrated her first book for children, Chalk Boy, written by Margaret Wild.

Mandy’s passion for the medium of comics has led her to present lectures and workshops to schools, universities, festivals and community groups across Australia and internationally. She has collaborated with theatre companies, writers, musicians, historians and audio units for animations and online content. She is currently working with local youth on a Lavington Library art project and her recent work with local Wiradjuri language experts can be seen on the new NBN Box Trail around Albury, NSW.

Maria Tumarkin's AXIOMATIC sold to US and Spanish publishers

Some very terrific news: we at Brow Books have sold Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic (winner of the Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award, and shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award in the non-fiction category) into a couple of key territories/languages.

North American rights have been snapped up by Transit Books, and the Spanish language rights have gone to Editorial Minúscula, both of whom are just such wonderful fits for the book.

Thanks to everyone out there reading and championing this book!

 
 

“I was immediately very impressed, moved and stimulated by Axiomatic from the moment I first started reading it. Maria Tumarkin’s approach to writing is the kind which may be one of the most fertile across all languages – not only because of its extremely interesting genre-defying aspect, but also because it enables a sort of empathy which, stemming originally from fiction but here in contact with the experiences of real people, develops itself with a particular music and, if masterly accomplished like in this case, may even have some sort of transformative power on the reader. Axiomatic is a beautiful and compelling book which we at Editorial Minúscula are very happy and honoured to have the chance to publish.” –Valeria Bergalli, Editorial Minúscula


Axiomatic is incredible. The writing is fresh and inventive and bold and caring and constantly questioning, managing to hold positions of doubt and certainty as a kind of ethical stance of unknowingness. Tumarkin’s areas of focus feel both particular to Australia and broad enough in their directions of inquiry—multigenerational trauma, structural inequity and racism, teen suicide, anti-Semitism, narratives of trauma and loss—that we were riveted and moved. This kind of hybrid nonfiction is a form that we at Transit Books love so much – but it’s true that it has become widespread and increasingly formulaic in its rule-breaking. What’s so exciting to us about Tumarkin’s project is that it feels like it blows open the hybrid form all over again.” –Adam Levy, Transit Books


“How amazing to be read in different languages, in different countries, by people whose lives I cannot quite imagine. I am mega-thrilled that Axiomatic gets to have a life beyond Australia (much as I am grateful for its life in Australia).” –Maria Tumarkin, author of Axiomatic


“As anyone who has read it can attest—and as local reviewers and readers have exclaimed—Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic is an extraordinary book. As such, it is both so fitting and so thrilling that the first two rights deals for Axiomatic are with two independent presses who are celebrated for their focus on the most provocative and engaging works of contemporary literature, and on treating such writing with the understanding and respect it deserves. We at Brow books can’t wait to see how Axiomatic is published by these two houses, and to see readers in the USA and Canada, and in Spanish-speaking countries around the globe, take up the book.” –Sam Cooney, Brow Books

The Liminal Fiction Prize – a new literary prize for Australian Writers of Colour

We’re thrilled to be partnering with the wonderful people at Liminal on this brand new prize. The winning piece of short fiction will appear in Issue 43 of The Lifted Brow, and then over at Brow Books we’ll be publishing an anthology of the best pieces submitted to the prize.

The Liminal Fiction Prize is a new literary prize for Australian Writers of Colour. With a theme of ‘the future’, Liminal is looking for fiction of a new world: not the stuff of flying cars or robots, but a future that pulls against or weaves together Australia’s many fabricated histories.

Australia is a nation that forgets. It forgets 60,000+ years of continuous culture; newspapers that once claimed ‘The Chinese’ brought ‘Vice and Vegetables’ (1891). Australia forgets that our first two prime ministers supported the White Australia Policy, and asks us to forget people caged in an offshore solution.

Too often, writers of colour are forgotten in Australian Literature. The Liminal Fiction Prize insists against amnesia. With this prize, Liminal seeks to promote fiction by writers whose voices are often ignored or elided – for the future of Australian fiction is here.

PRIZES
First prize of $2500 + publication in The Lifted Brow magazine
Runner up will receive $500  
And all shortlisted pieces will be published in an anthology by Brow Books.

THEME
The Future

SUBMISSION DEADLINE
February 1April 1, 2019

WORD LIMIT
5000 words

ELIGIBILITY
Entries are welcome from writers who identify as a ‘Person of Colour’, who live in Australia. There is no age limit. We’re keen to read short fiction from writers we know and love, and writers we’ve never met. We want to hear from established authors, and from writers who have never been published.

Submissions open February 1, 2019. Judges to be announced soon!

Big thanks to the Australia Council for the Arts for supporting this prize.

Best of TLB Online 2018: Review of Books

If anything can be said for 2018, it's that at least TLB Online got some excellent book reviews out of it.

The team recently got together to choose the reviews that most excited us this year. We put forward pieces that were thoughtful, experimental, challenging and disruptive — reviews that lived on in our heads long after we'd finished reading them.

Unfortunately, that was the bulk of our reviews this year. So, faced with a list that kept growing instead of shrinking, our book-review editor Luke had the unenviable task of narrowing these down to twelve.

Here they are, in chronological order. (If you're after holiday reading, this would be a pretty good place to start!)

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OFFICIALLY OUT TODAY: ‘Going Postal: More than 'Yes' or 'No'’

Last year almost 80 per cent of the population had its say on the rights of queer Australians. Commonsense ultimately won out and marriage equality was passed; but the dehumanising debate that preceded this victory has been hard to forget. Today, on the first anniversary of the announcement of the result of the controversial 2017 Australian Marriage Postal Survey, Brow Books is proud to publish Going Postal: More than 'Yes' or 'No'.

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