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Saturday, 8 November 2008

The Japanese Umbrella by Malaysia's Rani Manicka - upcoming novel

November 9, 2008

by Suzan Abrams

*The first to blog this news on the web.

With a measured stilled gap of four years, soon after to be diminished by windswept introductions and awareness drives held at last October's Frankfurt Book Fair, book lovers may now expect a tantalising new family saga - in the line of the true, tried and tested - The Japanese Umbrella by Malaysian novelist, Rani Manicka.

Meanwhile, a lucrative two-book deal for both her first novel, The Rice Mother & The Japanese Umbrella has already been secured for Manicka at the Fair by Kasia Benke, with Albatros Publishing in Poland.

The writer of Sri Lankan heritage who published
The Rice Mother & Touching Earth in 2002 and 2004 respectively, resides in England.


Brief Overview

Up to the point of September 2002, there had been a sprinkling of literary fiction published in different corners of the globe and trumpeted up to high celebrations for the accomplishments of Malaysian writers abroad, writing contemporary fiction in English.

But it wasn't until Rani Manicka burst on the scene, that Malaysian fiction in English would succeed in orchestrating an applause to the tune of a noisy ovation from the West.

Until that moment no Malaysian writer publishing abroad - no matter, the odd feeble claim to trail-blazing could compete with Manicka's advantages which were made up among other things, of an important representation by one of the world's top literary agents, a monumental advance, invitations to glitzy literary festivals, scores of international interviews and excellent world distribution that even saw posters of The Rice Mother stuck up on high walls, in outback African regions - a few days after the London launch. Suddenly, Manicka who would eventually win an Asian Commonwealth Prize was everywhere.

Today, in literary cities like Ireland's Dublin, where only popular South Asian writers are able to light smiles into the eyes of the ardent Irish book lover with a competitive choice of multicultural fiction, The Rice Mother, Manicka's first family saga and the intriguing Touching Earth that described London's sordid world of drugs; still grace shelves from Eason and Reads to Hodges Figgis and Waterstones, bearing their obliging dusty grandeur.

Whereas newer contemporary novels by other Malaysian writers residing abroad, like Preeta Samarasan's Evening is the Whole Day and Chiew Seah-Tei's little Hut of Leaping Fishes never managed those valuable airport crossings over the rough Irish seas.

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