A Publishing House is a Garden

Make time for your retreat!


A publishing house is a garden, an exciting garden as limitless as the loves and imaginations of our authors and editors.

I remember the orange tree planted by the poet, Boey Kim Cheng. He was recollecting the tree in the garden he had to leave behind in Australia, when he moved to Singapore for work. Ethos was then working with him to edit a collection of poetry on migration and separation, by Asian poets now living in places they would not simply know as home. This became the book titled To Gather Your Leaving.

Grow an orange tree, and you will breathe the scent of oranges.

What we have harvested for 2023 is a flowering of non-fiction (Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore), poetry (A Bad Girl’s Book of Animals) and fiction (After the Inquiry), a diverse selection of genius and consciousness. Each book occupies a specific place in our garden, standing alongside Kim Cheng’s orange tree, bearing its unique scent.

Last week, during our work retreat (3 to 5 May), our team took a moment to acknowledge the culture and practices we have put in place—this is the soil and foundation on which we will be growing future work. It is not only our work, but our culture and practices that will grow our readership and community.

The next three books for 2023 will include a thriller (catskull), a love letter (The Singapore I Recognise), and an intergenerational short story cycle (Nine Yard Sarees). All three works reveal authors who are in their creative prime.

Here, a special mention to The Singapore I Recognise—coming from an author who has had her loyalty to the country questioned by politicians and compatriots, her love for Singapore speaks to the home that we can all recognise, with its specific set of comforts and dangers. Its scent is common in that we can recognise it, and uncommon in that most of us have not had to reckon with it.

Growing these three trees will allow us to embrace a fuller perspective of Singapore.

Kah Gay

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