The Best Asian Short Stories 2022, published by Kitaab, was launched on 16 January 2023 at Singapore’s Lasalle College of the Arts.
The launch was kicked off by Dr. Jonathan Gander, Head of Lasalle’s School of Creative Industries, with a welcome address. The volume’s editor, Dr. Darryl Whetter addressed the audience via zoom from Canada. Dr. Whetter was the inaugural director of the first Creative Writing master’s degree conferred by Goldsmiths, University of London.
“Like any proper introduction to an anthology of short fiction, this one is a celebration of, indeed a valentine to, the short story,” said Dr. Whetter. “One way we know we have read a great short story, as you will here again and again, is the recurrent, delicious mistake of feeling like we have actually just read a novel. I am not here committing that cardinal sin in fiction of pretending that short stories are ‘just’ mini novels or, as is too often the expectation in publishing, training ground for writing a novel. Short stories are dense and compact; novels are, by definition, loose and baggy. To read a short story in one sitting, as we are so often tempted to do, is to have the artistic equivalent of expanding a compressed computer file. So much life comes pouring out, jack-in-the-box or clown-car style, of these meticulously crafted sentences and scenes. One such computing tool for file compression is (or was) known as a “CODEC,” an acronym for compression- decompression. These brave, talented, unforgeable writers from the Philippines, Afghanistan, India, Japan and Singapore have compressed so much life, so much hard- fought wisdom, battered grace, and sweet delight, into these seventeen moving stories in alluring voices.”
After Dr. Whetter’s introductory remarks, LaSalle authors Vicky Chong, Jinendra Jain, Prachi Topiwala-Agarwal, Peter Morgan, Mia Aureus, Mohamed Shaker, and Anisha Ralhan read excerpts of their stories from the anthology.