Malaysian Author Ho Sok Fong’s ‘Lake Like a Mirror’ Shortlisted For International Awards

She's the only Malaysian on the list

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Malaysian Author Ho Sok Fong’s ‘Lake Like a Mirror’ Shortlisted For International Awards
Popular online/PEN transmission

Malaysians are so talented

A collection of short stories by Malaysian author Ho Sok Fong, 'Lake Like A Mirror', translated by Natascha Bruce, has been shortlisted for the 2020 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation award. 

Malay Mail reported that the work of the former Nanyang Siang Pau journalist was the only one by a Malaysian to be nominated for the award. 

Winners of the award will be receiving GBP1,000 (about RM5445) and the amount will be divided equally between the author and translator. 

Writing about lives of women 

The nine short stories in Ho's book tells the stories of the " lives of women crippled by powers beyond their control and how they squeeze themselves between the gaps of urban urbanisation, patriarchal structures and a theocratic government," Malay Mail wrote. 

In a review by The Guardian after Ho's book won the English PEN award last year, the writer described Ho's work as having "a surreal bent to many of the stories in Lake Like a Mirror: everyday logic seems to slip, as if in a dream."

The stories, which were written over 11 years while Ho was still working as a journalist, speaks about a wide variety of topics including religion, politics, gender, urbanisation and more. 

While her writing style may be described as almost surreal and dreamy by some, the author reportedly said that she wrote stories "that were grounded as much as possible in concrete events, settings, objects, and vocabulary but also expressed the paradoxes and ambiguities inherent to their context.”

She hoped that even if readers were unable to pick all the hidden meanings and layers in her stories, they will still get a sense of having read a good story. 

Nuances sometimes gets lost in translation, but we're sure looking forward to reading Ho's short stories which were originally written in Chinese. 

The award

The Warwick Prize for Women in Translation is an annual award established in 2017 that awards eligible work of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction, work of fiction for children or young adults, graphic novel, or play text, written by a woman, translated into English by a translator (or translators) of any gender, and published by a UK or Irish publisher. 

It aims to address gender imbalance in translated literature and increase the number of international women’s voices accessible to a British and Irish readership.

Ho's work definitely gives readers a glimpse into Malaysia, it's culture, political structure and more so it fits perfectly with the theme. 

We wish Ho and Bruce all the best!

Don't forget to add 'Lake Like a Mirror' to your cart the next time you're looking to read a good book by a Malaysian author. 

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