From 21 of the best writers in the Asia-Pacific region comes a collection about finding connections where you least expect them.
It’s a sweltering night in Kuala Lumpur, and a journalist is protesting in a city on the edge of meltdown. It’s post-9/11 San Francisco, and a woman meets her foster child, who provokes painful reminders of her past. It’s contemporary Bangkok, and a writer’s encounter with ladyboy culture prompts him to explore gender boundaries. And high in Queensland’s Border Ranges, a boy prone to getting lost is having six tiny silver bells pinned to his chest …
The Near and The Far is what results when award-winning writers from Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Hong Kong share places, spaces, and ideas. Emerging from the Writers Immersion and Cultural Exchange program — a unique series of residencies, workshops, and dialogues between writers — this collection is a map of art and adventure, ideas and influences.
Featuring fiction and nonfiction from Cate Kennedy, Melissa Lucashenko, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Omar Musa, and many more, this collection bridges the distances between Asia, Australia, and the world. Every day is a border crossing, every story a threshold. Grab your passport and step beyond.
'These stories – by some of the region’s brightest stars – burn so compellingly, you can almost feel heat from the pages.'
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'This meticulously curated mix of fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry explore place, culture and identity in luminous and inventive ways ... The anthology attests to the important work that can result from writers immersing themselves in a place so unlike their home, where fresh collaborations are forged and new ways of thinking divulged.'
'A remarkable collection of 21 pieces ... As a bridge between literary spheres, we can only hope it is the first and not the last.'
'What a great pleasure to read such a diverse group of strong writers, working across such a variety of styles. Setting down their truths, while learning others. Their reflections on creative process are an added bonus.'
'[An] impressive anthology of stories from Asia Pacific ... a substantial collection of writing [that] would make an excellent teaching text.'
The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald
'The anthology format presents a unique opportunity to represent diverse authors and literature in meaningful ways ... The Near and the Far travels a long way, literally and figuratively, in achieving this. An ... impressive anthology, sure to stir something powerful in many a reader.'
Australian Book Review
'The calibre is impressive ... some names will be familiar, others not so much, but all offer an insider's perspective on inhabiting a different world from perhaps one that we're used to ... [a] strong collection.'
Thuy On, The Big Issue
‘All new pieces from both homegrown writers as well as those from the Asia-Pacific, this anthology was borne of reciprocal residencies and cultural events. Poems, vignettes, memoir and non-fiction encompass a wide ambit – from traffic chaos and post-war reflections in Vietnam to gender politics in Bangkok.’
Sunday Age 'Best Summer Reads'
‘I see [the WrICE program] as a unique opportunity to explore a rich culture that is rapidly modernising, but has ancient roots, through poetry, music and art.’
'[The program has] reaffirmed my belief that in order to flourish, Australian literature must be locally grounded, but globally minded ... The fostering of a strong Asia-Pacific writing community, and the exchange of ideas and experiences within that community, is vital to the growth and survival of Australian literature.’
Maxine Beneba Clarke