Publishing Catalogue

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Skoob Pacifica - bringing to a wider reading public the best in contemporary fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism from the countries of the Pacific Rim. Fiction includes K.S. Maniam's Haunting The Tiger, magical realism in a collection of thirteen stories. Distinguished academic Shirley Geok-lin Lim's Writing South East/Asia In English is a major study of post-colonial literature in English which complements many of the Pacifica titles by exploring the cultural and literary context in which they were written. The flagship of the series, the Skoob Pacifica Anthology, presents selections from many of our featured authors alongside those of more established names such as Toni Morrison, V.S. Naipaul and Vikram Seth.  


D.C.R.A Goonetilleke (editor)

Pbk UK £12.99 212 pp
ISBN 1 871438 28 4

This important collection of essays assesses the harvest of the post-colonial project. It spans an impressive range, from stimulating sceptical analysis by distinguished novelists Nayantara Sahgai and Dan Jacobson on the forces that underlie much post-colonial literature and Yasmine Gooneratne on issues of gender, to original essays by eminent critics.

The scholarly essays examine crucial general topics - Ken Goodwin on writing as a reflection of reactions to the colonial encounter - Zohreh T. Sullivan and Satendra Nandan on the discourse and experience of migrancy- Gerhard Stilz on transformations of tropical landscape, Bruce Bennett on regionalism in an Australian context and Bernth Lindfors on the actual teaching situation.

There are outstanding writers and specific novels - James Harrison on Salman Rushdie, Manzoorol Islam on J.M.Coetzee, Itala Vivan on Nuruddin Farah and Susan Spearey on V.S. Naipaul. The concluding pieces by Frank Schultz-Engler and Victor J. Ramraj open vistas for advancement.

In sum, this book with its international team of contributors offers the kind of periodical assessment which post-colonial literature needs, and is accessible as well as valuable to the student, general reader and scholar alike.The Editor, D.R.C.A. Goonetilleke, Senior Professor of English, University of Kelaniya, is Guest-Professor, University of Tubingen, Germany, 1999 - 2001. He was the International Chairperson of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies, 1993-99, and Vice-President of the Federation Internationale des Langues et Literatures Modernes, 1993-99.

His books include Developing Countries in British, Images of the Raj, Joseph Conrad and Salman Rushdie (London: Macmillan & New York: St Martin’s Press, 1998) and he has edited Joseph Conrad: Heart of Darkness (Canada & New York: Broadview Press, 2nd ed. 1999), The Penguin New Writing in Sri Lanka and The Penguin Book of Modern Sri Lankan Stories.

S.E. Asia Writes Back!

Edited by I.K. Ong & C.Y. Loh

Pbk £5.99  432pp
ISBN 1 871438 19 5

Part celebration of the cross-cultural literary tradition of two continents; part manifesto for the future of new writing. The first volume in the Skoob Pacifica Anthology series is an eclectic blend of prose, poetry, drama and reportage which creates a vibrant picture of the post-colonial new world. Featured writers include Vikram Seth, Yukio Mishima and Wole Soyinka, with short stories by Yasunari Kawabata* and Derek Walcott.

Literature might well have got lost in the rush to become more Western than the West. But there is a greater flourishing of new writing in South East Asia now than at any time in its history.
                                            John McRae

* The Izu Dancer is reproduced in full in the Skoob Webzine.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

Edited by I.K. Ong & C.Y. Loh

Pbk £6.99  412pp
ISBN 1 871438 54 3

This second anthology focuses on writing in the '90s from Malaysia and Singapore. These new voices are turning their gaze outwards to the farthest shores of experience, often transgressing the bounds of 'acceptability' in order to explore such controversial issues as religion, homosexuality, the changing role of women in Asia and the spiritual cost of the new materialism. Also featured are pieces by Han Suyin, K.S. Maniam and the 1993 Nobel Laureate, Toni Morrison.

'Here there is richness indeed...the writers are tough, disciplined, totally in control of their style and material, with the younger ones being, in addition, lean, mean, frequently obscene.'
                             New Straits Times

by K.S. Maniam

Pbk £5.99  208pp
ISBN 1 871438 04 7

During the move towards independence and in the years after the birth of the new nation, Malaysia was a land in turmoil. K.S. Maniam's semi-autobiographical first novel is set against this dramatic background. It captures the childhood and education of Ravi, a Tamil boy growing up on a rubber plantation. Maniam brings to life an extraordinary array of characters  Ravi's grandmother, a travelling tinker known as 'The Camel', his alluring young school-teacher, Miss Nancy and, towering above them all, the central figure in Ravi's life, his father. K.S. Maniam is Associate Professor of English at the University of Malaya.

'The purgative writings of this Tamil-descended Malaysian author are strong, highly descriptive and humourous; essential reading.'
                                                                                                          The Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei

by K.S. Maniam

Pbk £5.99  224pp
ISBN 1 871438 14 4

Successful but disillusioned, Rajan, a middle-aged businessman, reflects on his past and thus embarks on a journey to the 'far country' of the imagination - a place where he will feel truly at home. His notes, letters, meditations and memories en route are the basis of this magical novel which mixes myth, history, past and present and captures Malaysia in all its rich, cultural, racial and religious diversity.

'Numerous images and instances will strike those familiar with Malaysia as utterly accurate. Maniam has an eye for the cultural friction that lies just below the surface.'
            Far Eastern Economic Review

by K.S. Maniam

Pbk £6.99  262pp
ISBN 1 871438 69 1

Click here for an extract...

The four short stories in this collection bear all the hallmarks of Maniam the poetic visionary. The inclusion here of two of his most popular plays, The Cord, a folkloric melodrama and The Sandpit, a chilling dissection of a marital triangle, also reveal him to be an accomplished dramatist. Both plays deal with the interior lives of men and women who form uneasy alliances with their pasts and with each other. The works are thematically linked and represent a new departure for the author as he explores the darker side of the Malaysian psyche.

'It is a play rich in imagery and symbolism, with a language that I can only best describe as poetic. There is a certain rhythm to the scenes, like the beat of the uduku whose 'voice is larger than your own'.'
                                                        The Cord reviewed in New Straits Times

by K.S. Maniam

Pbk £6.99
ISBN 1 871438 79 9

A collection of thirteen stories which spans the career of a myth maker over the last twenty years. It includes previously unpublished work illustrative of K.S. Maniam's world of magic realism at its best.

'In the powerful working out of its symbols, its taut, cadenced language and the device in the narrative of bringing a past report of remembrances into the present, Haunting The Tiger has broken out of the bounds of the short story as a genre.'
                                                                                                    New Straits Times

by Ramli Ibrahim

Pbk £6.99  104pp
ISBN 1 871438 24 1

Three women - Mak Su, an ageing actress, Sarasa, a 'stage mother', and Deena, a military widow, are featured in this linked series of three plays for a single actress. Their stories, told in the form of monologues, present a dramatic triptych which touches on an immense range of themes, not least their separate coming to terms with loss and confrontations with the past. First performed in 1991, In The Name Of Love has enjoyed enormous critical and popular success in Malaysia and abroad. Ramli Ibrahim trained with the Australian Ballet School. He is now Artistic Director of Kuala Lumpur's Sutra Festival of Dance and Theatre.

Poems from the First Decade

by Wong Phui Nam

Pbk £5.99  176pp
ISBN 1 871438 09 8

Click here for an extract...

This collection of work by one of Malaysia's finest poets is a distillation of his experiences as a Muslim convert in a foreign country, and an examination of the links between language and cultural identity. By turns beguiling and startling, Wong Phui Nam's verses subtly interweave feelings of fear, ennui, optimism and nostalgia. The book includes his translations of Chinese poet Tu Fu and the Indonesian writer Chairil Anwar.

'...these poems need to be written. They are of a time, of a place, of a people who find themselves having to live by institutions and folkways that are not of their heritage and having to absorb the manners of a language not their own.'
                                                                                           Wong Phui Nam

by Shirley Geok-lin Lim

Pbk £6.99  200pp
ISBN 1 871438 44 6

Click here for an extract...

Lim's poetry displays a unique sense of place and time. Her belief in the acceptance of cultural multiplicity is reflected in work that evokes her Malaysian childhood and family but which also casts a coolly observant eye over America, where she now lives and works. With an introduction by Professor Laurel Means, Monsoon History contains the complete text of Crossing the Peninsula, winner of the 1980 Commonwealth Poetry Prize. It includes selections from her previous volumes Modern Secrets and No Man's Grove, providing an excellent overview of her work to date.

'The publication of Monsoon History is a cause for celebration...'
                                                                                    John MacRae, New Straits Times

Against The Grain

by Shirley Geok-lin Lim

Pbk £12.99  224pp
ISBN 1 871438 49 7

Click here for an extract...

Arranged over ten chapters, Shirley Lim's penetrating essays demonstrate that local speech, national language and national canons have much to tell us, not only about place and region but about the nations of the imagination. She looks at the wok of Timothy Mo, Zulfikar Ghose and Kamala Das and examines the relationship of identity, text and nation. Her insights into the origins and diverse concerns of South East Asian writing in English stem from a variety of critical perspectives and serve to illuminate the wider study of modern world literature. Writing S.E./Asia in English is a scholarly analysis of how post-colonial writing has absorbed and redefined Western literary traditions.

Selected Poems
by Arthur Yap

Pbk £6.99 170pp
ISBN 1 871438 39 X

This collection brings together a range of poems from Arthur Yap’s four volumes, Only Lines, Commonplace, Down the Line, Man Snake Apple as well as from his section in the anthology Five takes. The poems are imagistic statements of the natural and peopled landscape, which illuminate and comment on aspects of everyday life in Singapore.

“One of Yap’s main areas of development has been in his use of ‘dramatic forms’ in which Singaporean voices are played off, almost musically, against each other. Yap’s poetry continues to yield the fruits of close, intelligent observation and delicacy of treatment. His verse never shouts, but continually compels attention.”
Bruce Bennett Routledge Encyclopaedia of Post-Colonial Literature in English

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