The Best Asian Short Stories 2019 selections announced 

The selection process for The Best Asian Short Stories 2019 is concluded! 

Hisham Bustani, Editor of the 2019 edition of TBASS has carefully chosen 25 stories, written by 23 Asian authors, hailing from 15 Asian countries and regions (Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Georgia, Philippines, Uzbekistan, India, Syria, China, Palestine, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong), plus 2 contributors from non-Asian writers who reside in, or have written extensively about, Asia, and are thus considered Asian as well! The selection includes 6 translations by 7 translators, celebrating the many languages of Asia, and bringing up TBASS 2019 contributors to 32 creative literary artists. 

The Best Asian Short Stories 2019 will feature, side-by-side, distinguished award-winning authors together with emerging new rising stars. In a telling detail: two selected writers will be having their first ever published piece of fiction appearing in the anthology. The bench mark for inclusion was excellence and inventiveness in writing regardless of the writer’s publishing history. We are proud that TBASS 2019 have managed to “discover” and present some of the new creative voices out there.

It is also worth noting that the vast majority of writers have expressed (in their stories, in their bios, and with the languages they work with) a sense of multiple “identities” and many “homelands”, giving Asian writers and writing a truly “plural”, cross-boundary, trans-identity, globally-inclusive, character. 

The anthology features a carefully curated line-up of short stories written by Suchi Govindarajan, Namrata Poddar, Angelo Wong, Deena Dajani, Vrinda Baliga, Lana Abdel Rahman (translated by Gretchen McCullough and Mohamed Metwalli), Guram Megrelishvili (translated by Philip Price), Scott Platt-Salcedo, Razia Sultana Khan, Jolin Kwok, Zira Naurzbayeva (translated by Shelley Fairweather-Vega), Simon Rowe, T.A. Morton, Joel Donato Jacob, Hamid Ismailov (translated by Robin Munby), Anitha Devi Pillai, Samidha Kalia, Imran Khan (translated by Arunava Sinha), Odai Al Zoubi (translated by Mouyad Nashar), Alan Irid Fendi, Jose Varghese, Seema Punwani, Y.D. Chang, Kaisa Aquino, and Yan Ti.

Four highly distinguished stories have been selected by Hisham Bustani, TBASS 2019’s Editor, to receive the Editor’s Award: 

  • “Articles from the Parent” by Joel Donato Jacob from the Philippines is noted for its unusual, highly-creative format, using excerpts of news items, magazine articles, brochures, tweets, announcements, and other fragments to develop the story. 
  • “Michael Whose Name Was Sarı” by Hamid Ismailov from Uzbekistan, translated by Robin Munby, is noted for its evocative imagery, subtle, deep undertones, and dream-like narrative.
  • “End of the Line” by Suchi Govindarajan from India, is noted for its masterful deployment of a spiral narrative, its character manipulation, and its use of inventive “inserts”. 
  • “These are the Rules of Exile” by Deena Dajani from Palestine, is noted for its unique narrative development through mobilizing memories and flashbacks juxtaposed with current events, leading towards a quasi-surreal conclusion.

TBASS 2019 celebrates the Asian short story as a constantly evolving, innovative and vibrant mode of literary expression, its focus is experimentation: well-crafted stories that employ innovative narrative styles and writing techniques, take a multifaceted approach to their themes, encouraging the reader to actively engage in (re)imagining the story, and seek to expand the boundaries of the short story genre.

The anthology will be released during the Singapore Writers Festival on 8 November 2019.

All selected contributors will receive 2 complimentary copies of the final publication. Editor’s Award winners will receive a symbolic prize of Kitaab vouchers. One or two best selections will also be published in The Common, the Amherst-based literary review, recently awarded with the Whiting Foundation’s Whiting Literary Magazine Prize.

Hisham Bustani, TBASS 2019’s editor is an award-winning Jordanian author of five collections of short fiction and poetry. He is acclaimed for his bold style and unique narrative voice, and often experiments with the boundaries of short fiction and prose poetry. Much of his work revolves around issues related to social and political change, particularly the dystopian experience of post-colonial modernity in the Arab world. His work has been described as “bringing a new wave of surrealism to [Arabic] literary culture, which missed the surrealist revolution of the last century,” and it has been said that he “belongs to an angry new Arab generation. Indeed, he is at the forefront of this generation – combining an unbounded modernist literary sensibility with a vision for total change…. His anger extends to encompass everything, including literary conventions.” Hisham’s fiction and poetry have been translated into many languages, with English-language translations appearing in prestigious journals across the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, including The Kenyon Review, The Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, World Literature Today, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. In 2013, the U.K.-based cultural webzine The Culture Trip listed him as one of Jordan’s top six contemporary writers. His book The Perception of Meaning (Syracuse University Press, 2015) won the University of Arkansas Arabic Translation Award. Hisham is the Arabic Fiction Editor of the Amherst College-based literary review The Common, and the recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Residency for Artists and Writers for 2017.


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One comment

  • Thanks for selecting my story. It is wonderful to find myself in this collection. I have an inquiry. Where should I send my mailing address so that you can send the author’s copies. How can I get more than two copies? I am ready to pay for the extra copies.

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